Monday, February 15, 2016

More Not so Stealthy Battles Within the Economic Theatre of Operations

Not only is there still ongoing controversy over who should have been awarded Air Force's new bomber contract, the bomber crowd as a whole is poised to take on the money stealing justification of the F35 Joint Strike Fighter; just as that crowd plans its own counter offensive.

As I have said many times before, lost in this will be any rational discussion of what actually threatens us globally, and then the integrated strategy one might employ to meet those threats. In this, of course, is the inherent need to prioritize threats so that whatever integrated strategy is finally settled upon can use all of the crossover leverage possible in those solutions offering best combinations of practicality, flexibility, and overall bang for the buck.

The thing is, however, that some of these threats must surely be those issues that cause war, as well as those that simply offer the theatre of operations for diplomacy by other means. Will there be the same kinds of money spent on getting rid of oil as a fuel, as there will be on building any more manned aircraft? Another article in D.O. suggests that all nations will have armed drones within the next ten years. Are multi hundred million dollar manned platforms the best bet against what might become swarms of unmanned platforms whose price might only be in the multi ten K price range? A mute point in any case if we could use a 100 billion dollar program towards liquid hydrogen as a comprehensive alternative to entice the Chinese to join us, contributing what they could, but getting an equal share of the fuel benefit?

A give a way you say? Or might it be merely chump change compared to the cost of a another scarce resources war.

And let us be clear here. A real discussion of what threatens us will undoubtedly still include the need to preserve an ability for armed response. No. what we are really talking about is not a choice between arms or not arms, it is about whether those who are already making a great deal of money on same should be so intimately involved in defining what is threatening in the first place, let alone what would be the best response to that threat. That is what you ought to mean when you say a rational, and objective, view of the facts of what threatens us.

The other side of the human equation should be considered as well, however. Let us never forget that there can be a moral component, as well as the obvious suffering going on in so many places, that also contribute to the tensions that create the human capacity for state sponsored butchery. Which is only to say that the tendency to declare war can hinge on things other than strategic geo-politics. This is where even immigration issues are only the symptoms of past stupidity; the results of colonial greed, insane anti communism, and even more insane wars on drugs. However you create the instability for failed states, and the consequent surge of desperate people seeking to escape that horror, you not only create the possibility for new enemies, you create a place for them to gather, fester and plan their revenge.

And last, but least here, is what a profit motivated, state of permanent war does. A war that pretends to be fought on the cheap, without actual war declarations, against ambiguous enemies who share only the label of terrorist. Which is not say that terrorism doesn't exist. Only to say that it can become too easy to endlessly add to that list when, under the guise of keeping it low cost (both in lives and dollars) you conduct remote control conflict. And as imprecision as to what who associating with who might mean in one village or town after another, the list can grow with a great deal more collateral damage than even the smartest of bombs can correct for.

So. This repetition of a battle in the Economic Theatre of Operations will occur. The bottom line, however is that who wins and loses will have little to do with what actually threatens us, or that it really applies to the best solution to that threat. The only thing of real consequence will be that more money will be made by pretty much everyone in the arms community, and more things will be done in our name that will not only make less safe, but will actually raise the probability of declared war.

The Coming Dogfight Between the F-35 and the New Bomber