Clear Talk On A Better War Machine

This is a great Ted Talk about how the U.S. Military ought to be configured.

It’s just wonderfully done. Clear insight and blunt talk. Has “loads of clue” about what we are doing right, and wrong, now.

Laughing through the tears…

The only thing wrong with it is that I fear it would work too well, so be used too much. Wars of national replacement ought not be too easy to accomplish… If done as described, the USA becomes the permanent Global Police under the direction of the UN (but it would eliminate a great deal of ‘screwing around’ and the UN Dance Of The Dunces…)

At about 16:38 there is a slide that rapidly goes by. It talks about the “Hobbesian” vs the “Kantian” forces. The first is a reference to the Leviathan Force that uses overwhelming power to destroy, the second is the Administrative Force that ‘builds the peace’ during occupation.

If background is desired…

Toward the end he says what I think is “Max Boot was right about” bombing folks… I think he’s talking about this guy:

So I’m of the opinion that Thomas Barnett, the speaker, is generally right. But I have two “issues”.

1) I think I’d rather there were more “other folks” doing the Global Cop duty. Proportional to either population or national income the USA is carrying way too much burden. China needs to be defending the Strait of Hormuz, after all, they get lots of oil from there (as, BTW, does India…). As they both have Nukes, they can go talk to Iran about not wanting to be down wind of them after they glow in the dark… Yes, I know, bad idea… still, why does it have to be us all the time?

2) If this worked as well as it looks like it would work, the UN would be voting “take downs” of any government they didn’t like and trotting out the US to do it. (Not much different from now… but if it was less traumatic for everyone the temptation to use such power would be overwhelming… some amount of misery reminds folks why wars are NOT a desired approach…)

Oh, and that the UN ordering US forces to battle is contrary to the US Constitution. so would be illegal, is likely a matter of some importance, though vanishingly small… (Congress? Declare anything other than higher taxes and more spending? Yeah, right… /sarcoff>;)

Then again, Panetta (US Secretary of Defense) thinks the UN grants permission and Congress just gets told after the fact…

so maybe nobody would notice…

At any rate, this guy is a Ph.D consultant to the Pentagon, so his views carry some clout.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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16 Responses to Clear Talk On A Better War Machine

  1. R. de Haan says:

    I think for the moment we have much more dominant problems.
    We have idiots running the asylum.

  2. omanuel says:

    a. I couldn’t get the video to work.
    b. The links to philosophers are beyond my grasp.
    c. But I agree that the US military is now the UN’s police force.
    d. The US Congress is a joke, hoping to be re-elected so they can continue.
    e. The social and economic order in the West are in collapse, and many folks know it.

    Why? Two historic events persuaded world leaders (Nixon, Kissinger, Chairman Mao, Chou En-Lai, Brezhnev) of the need to domesticate humans (social engineering) in 1971:

    1. The atomic bomb that vaporized Hiroshima on 6 Aug 1945

    2. “For thirteen days in October 1962 the world waited—seemingly on the brink of nuclear war—and hoped for a peaceful resolution to the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

    Click to access Climategate_Roots.pdf

    Science in the West was destroyed to try to hide the powerful source of nuclear energy stored as rest mass in the nucleus of almost every atom.

    Click to access Neutron_repulsion.pdf

    Now leaders of NAS, NASA and DOE ignore direct questions like these:

    Click to access Question_Bolden_Chu_Ciscerone.pdf

  3. oldtimer says:

    A good analysis of the US predicament. I am unconvinced about that part of the proposed solution offered by sysadmin. I am unconvinced because it is unclear just how that solution will be defined. If it is to export and impose democracy, then its success must be questionable in societies where democracy is an alien concept, let alone experience. If not democracy then what?

    For example the British in India operated with a version of the speaker`s Leviathan and sysadmin. At first Leviathan was the private army of the East India Company supported by local troops, later it was the regular army and local troops. The sysadmin was separate, and consisted of an astonishingly small number of officials, in India it was only a few thousand IIRC. I think they succeeded because they worked (often alone) with local power structures and provided a reasonably even handed approach in the performance of their duties. Similar outcomes can be observed elsewhere, although not universally, in other former UK possessions. In those far off days there was, of course, no UN, only military rivals of the day such as the Dutch, the French and/or the Spanish according to the time and the place.

  4. Jason Calley says:

    @ oldtimer “For example the British in India operated with a version of the speaker`s Leviathan and sysadmin.”

    Let us hope that the British rule of India is not the system that we emulate. They had a well functioning sysadmin — but it was not working for world peace. It was working to pump wealth to Great Britain. While Mao probably holds the record as the greatest single murderer of history, the British in India probably hold the record for most murders over a long term. I have seen estimates for the almost two century rule that run well over 100 million deaths. Some researchers support figures of 30 million for the period between 1870 and 1910. Few people today have even heard of the Bengal Famine of the 1940s, a mostly-government-induced famine of perhaps 4 million deaths.

  5. Pascvaks says:

    Couldn’t ‘see’ either, but it’s this old thing I use on the cheap. Have to reinterate something I’ve said many times here and elsewhere about the root of the problem in the US and the West, the problem is ‘We the People’, we get what we vote for and there’s no one else to blame but that idiot in the mirror every morning for all the problems we have. Some are less guilty than most others, some like you and me are down right innocent if you ask me. It’s all those other idiots we share the planet with that are the problem. Global Warming isn’t even close to making the list of the Worst Man-Made Problems facing the World. But, about War Machines, they cost too much.

  6. Jason Calley says:

    @ Paskvacs “the problem is ‘We the People’, we get what we vote for and there’s no one else to blame but that idiot in the mirror every morning for all the problems we have. ”

    I am not so sure any more about the “we get what we vote for.” I no longer think that is true, in at least two different ways. The first is so common that it has become a joke, a problem that we no longer even respond to. We laugh about politicians who were elected by promising one thing and who then do something completely different. Do I even need to give examples? When that happens (with some State and local exceptions), We The People have no legal recourse. We can beg our Congresscritters to come to our aid if they choose to, but WE have no legal recourse. When politicians can run and be elected on platforms they then renounce, are we getting what we voted for?

    Additionally, the counting of the vote is not transparent; we have no way of verifying it. Google “black box voting”. This is only magnified by the growing use of computerized tabulation with proprietary, secret software. Without honest verifiable vote counting it is impossible to claim that “we get what we vote for.”

    I wish that we did, in fact, get what we vote for. Then, at least when the electorate makes poor decision, we would be punished for it. Now, there is no verifiable or enforceable connection between what we vote for and what we get. The system is broken, broken so badly that there is no way to fix the system by working within the system.

  7. Pascvaks says:

    @Jason –
    I know exactly how you feel, the best I can say is “Me too!”. BUT, here’s the kick in the teeth for each and everyone of us, it all still falls on US to ensure that the idiots and liars are playing by the rules or we have no one to blame but ourselves when they don’t. If our local Congress idiot (THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE WHOLE DAMN MACHINE) is saying and doing idiotic things, and s/he keeps getting re-elected, it ain’t the “system” that’s broke, it’s the idiots who keep sending him back, over and over again. Remember? ‘Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me’? The more fools there be, the more dangerous life is; and life is getting real dangerous. You can’t sit back, wash your hands, ignore everything, and expect to live happily ever after. If a country is Great it’s the people that deserve the credit, not the leaders. If a country is Bad, and/or getting Worse, it’s the people that deserve the blame, not the leaders. There’s just no way around it. We are responsible for all that our country does or fails to do. The Buck Starts AND Stops Here! And right now, I’m not hopeful; it’s like the “NEW Model Science” we have, many are willing to work in an air conditioned modern office building, but no one wants to get their hands dirty or work up a sweat in a coal mine anymore. We’re fat and lazy and terminal. No one will cry and very few will really wimper, you have to know what’s happening to be upset about cancer. Peace, man! Love, not war! Imagine… (a’la J.Lennon)! Y’know, if Mother Nature really loved us, she’d hit us with a half dozen terrible things right about now. Nobody love’s us. Nobody cares! It’s really hard to start a national rejuvenation when no one wants to work and there’s no pay;-)

  8. Pascvaks says:


    Ahhhhh.. OK! The problem with Western Civilization is Women! When they’re good, things are very good. When they’re bad, things aren’t too good; maybe nice for a little while, but not good. Who made the West the powerhouse of the world? Western women. Who’s directly responsible for the collapse of the West? That’s right, Women! Why? Beats me. Who got everybody up and into clean clothes every week to go to services? Women! Who screamed and hollered when things got out of hand and Whore Houses and Salons and Gunfights at the OK Corral got to be too too and told their men they had a headache and would have a headache every night until something changed? Right again, Women! Who made sure kids did their homework and made a good meal every single morning, noon, and night? Women! Who scrubed the floors and washed and ironed the clothes and fed the chickenss and collected the eggs and milked the cow (or goat) made and mended clothes and made soap and candles and put up preserves and a few thousand other things I never knew about? Women! Ergo.. who is responsible for the collapse of the Western World? Women! Why? Ah… beats me. Has anyone else noticed there are an awful lot of females but very few ‘Women’ any more?

    PS: Men only do as much as they must to get what they want, if they’re getting it free, and with no strings, who’s fault is it if nothing gets done? Be honest! You know, this country sure could use several million Good Women. Why did we stop making them? Damn Chinese!

  9. Jason Calley says:

    @ Pascvaks

    You sound like Etienne de La Boetie!
    The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude is lucidly and coherently
    structured around a single axiom, a single percipient insight
    into the nature not only of tyranny, but implicitly of the State
    apparatus itself. Many medieval writers had attacked tyranny,
    but La Boétie delves especially deeply into its nature,
    and into the nature of State rule itself. This fundamental insight
    was that every tyranny must necessarily be grounded upon general
    popular acceptance. In short, the bulk of the people themselves,
    for whatever reason, acquiesce in their own subjection. If this
    were not the case, no tyranny, indeed no governmental rule, could
    long endure. Hence, a government does not have to be popularly
    elected to enjoy general public support; for general public support
    is in the very nature of all governments that endure, including
    the most oppressive of tyrannies. The tyrant is but one person,
    and could scarcely command the obedience of another person, much
    less of an entire country, if most of the subjects did not grant
    their obedience by their own consent.

    The problem is this: yes, We The People are responsible for what happens on our watch, but what are our options? I do not mean that as a rhetorical question, but as a sincere “What are our options?” My hope is that as more and more people begin to see how their own future and that of their family is being marginalized, they will opt for some sort of non-support, non-compliance, and peaceful refusal to obey. Will that be enough? I hope so.

  10. Pascvaks says:

    @Jason –
    “Will that be enough? I hope so.”

    I fear that when people say “No More!”, that they have often waited too long to do it peacefully and within the “rules” and “customs” of the past. It happens, to be sure, but not often. Perhaps –though I’m not too hopeful– such is possible in the more advanced societies and major changes can be implemented without anarchy first leveling the playing field, so to speak. But I do think it is a vacant hope. I guess you can, also, say that the place where we are now is the result of one or more of these ‘peaceful’ revolutions by a few enslaving the many to the New Communism of the USSA. Remembering my first trip to the World Trade Center, I would never have thought that it would be ‘changed’ the way it was years later. It seemed so big and permanent. It is also not possible for most of us to imagine what this country would be like after another “Revolutionary” War (when you lose it’s a “Civil” war). Things may need to decay a lot more before that point is arrived at and chaos hits the fan; and the more it decays the less reason there is to save anything at all. “How much ‘cure’ is enough?” is a question we have rarely been able to answer without eventually killing the patient when experimenting with a new medicine or ‘exploratory operation’. I guess that’s one reason we have such a strong stomach for tyranny, we see the unknown as more frightening than the known, and we hope, that someday someone will something.

  11. Pascvaks says:

    PS: @Jason –
    “You sound like Etienne de La Boetie!”

    Thank you Sir for the very high compliment;-)

  12. adolfogiurfa says:

    Women are the ones who bring life not death. The stupidity that made women to serve in armies all over the world, not only, in the US, it is another original idea of the “New World Order” elite, to destroy the family, the basic cell of human society.

  13. E.M.Smith says:


    The “Leviathan” force looks to me like the US Military minus the “peacekeeper” and “nation building” activities. Basically the “big hammer” that crushes anything at which it is pointed. As a Jarhead (U.S. Marine Corp) friend once described it “I was a Marine. Our purpose is to kill people and break things.” Not exactly your local administrative arbitration board…

    The “Sysadmins” is not a name I like. (Makes me think of computer guys…) I also have trouble seeing how it is conceptually different from a “Peace Keeping Force” ala U.N. (other than the blue hats and being effective…)

    The idea of dividing the roles makes a lot of sense to me (as guys trained to “kill people and break things” don’t swap over to “good listening skills and measured justice” all that well…) though I’d be a little worried about coordination between two divides at that top level. (How does a combat force get coordinated support from a Navy that is in the Sysadmin/Peacekeeper bucket? Will the ‘sense of urgency’ be there?)

    But still, putting the major war making bits in one structure and the “operations and pacification” folks in another is likely a good thing. (Modulo some duplication of things like ships to support assault operations… and air cover).

    Essentially it is just recognizing that “Police” are different from “Soldier” so having soldiers doing “police actions” is not so bright… unless you set up their branch with those expectations…

    @Oliver & Pascvaks:

    I did some searching and I think this is the same video on Youtube (so ought to work for you):

    At least, the first few minutes is the same ;-)

    @Jason & Pascvaks:

    A society can be controlled by as few as 10% of ‘true believers’; it does not take a majority of support (only a majority who think they can not overturn the ‘leaders’). This has been shown repeatedly (From England dominating various other countries to Nazis to USSR Communists to the present domination of Syria by a minority group to Sunni domination of Shiia population in various countries near Saudi to Rome dominating everyone to Norman French running England to…) So it is very important to realize that “acquiesce” can be another word for “submission” and not “support”…

    For example, our incumbent Congress Critters have so arranged the rules that they have “protected district”. NO District ought to be “protected”… So Pelosi has as district in San Francisco that is going to re-elect her forever. Due to the seniority rules, she ends up “top dog” no matter how stupid she is (“We have to pass the bill to see what’s in it!”) and no matter how radical her small bit of turf. Basically, a social ‘meme’ has evolved (been planted?) in that district to attract a “loyal” and extremely politically active base of “left wing loons”.

    That means we either need to accept this “Some Pigs more equal than others” result, or we have to remove the right to choose the representative of their choice from those folks and the right of the Senate to make it’s own rules. (If you can’t trust them to make their rules, can you trust them to make YOUR laws?…)

    In essence: Our system rewards the most devoted and hard core zealots more than the even handed reasonable middle… who, by swapping representatives, lose all ‘seniority’ and power positions.

    So while I find some sympathy for the “we did it to ourselves” point, in fact, it has major errors in it. A minority of us did it to the rest of us, by manipulation of the rules and districts, and by handing out ‘favors’ to small dedicated groups. The rest of us are too busy trying to stay alive and fed to fight that machine, so we “submit”…. Things have to be pretty bad to get us to do what it takes to change that mess. That’s what revolutions are made of….

    BTW, I don’t see ‘democracy’ as all that great. Republics tend to work a lot better a lot longer. BOTH have issues with graft, rent seeking, etc. The “Democratic Republic” has been a nice compromise that fixed some things ( for a while…) but has not shown staying power. ( 200 years is nothing… Rome lasted 1000 years, closer to 2000 if you include the Byzantine variation. Power is stable and stability is good.) But liberty is better, just not very stable. It is the fundamental conflict between the desire for BOTH stability and liberty that causes folks to just “submit” and causes governments to evolve and eventually fail or fall into tyranny.

    Per Women:

    Women care about stability and peace more than domination and liberty. Why? Some is biological ( you see similar things in other animals. Bunnies, for example, have the women building tunnels and nests, looking for a safe stable life. Boy bunnies fight each other (and do ‘guard duty’ watching for predators… and taking the first attack…) and value their liberty and a lazy yet exciting life.) Some may be cultural (see Celtic history ;-)


    Um, you need to brush up on Celtic History. “Women Warriors” is not a New World Order idea. It is a Celtic idea and has been true for thousands of years. One I endorse, BTW. Also it may have some Slavic roots (though I need to learn more about that thread…) as during W.W.II the leading Soviet snipers were often women.

    It is more the case that the Roman male dominated culture and the North African Arab / Muslim culture were strongly male dominated. Stronger gender roles enforced. (Though the older Egyptian culture had Cleopatra… but that was a bit after the Greeks invaded and had some Celtic exposure… but even further back there was at least one woman who was Pharaoh…)

    So please realize that cultures who have Male Dominated Military are a cultural artifact (though widely present) and one that increased during the Roman Empire era (and potentially Imperial China too). Prior to that, large parts of the world had Women Warriors…. There was even a tribe in Sub-Saharan Africa, but I don’t remember their name. There are some graves in Central Asia that have women buried with grave goods of a warrior, too. Unclear what ethnicity all of them represent… Yes, only about 10% of the graves, but it is still an existence proof.

    Oh, and don’t ever tell a Celtic Redhead that you think she belongs in the kitchen not on the battle field or doing “man work”… the results of a skillet to the skull are not pretty ;-)

  14. Soronel Haetir says:

    And don’t forget this bit:

    Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

  15. Pascvaks says:

    @ Soronel Haetir –
    So true, couldn’t have said it better!
    (after some reflection and, maybe a little thought…)
    Have you noticed that it’s also true in another sense, a sense not ‘entirely’ appreciated today I think, certainly not by the ragtag motly crew of elected officials we’ve had in office in this country during the last hundred years? While ‘mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed’, that governments long established do change for light and transient causes, prudence or not; and, that these changes, over time, undermine the foundations of every Government; that they are as dangerous to the survival of the Government as the Government can be to that of the Governed. I believe it has something to do with the impact of ‘time’ on all things human. Wear and tear are natural and normal, but it is stupid to think that you can live in a house forever and not need to restore something along the way. Today’s poly-wogs have no idea what it means to stop, restore, refurbish, and –as necessary– rebuild the original structure here and there to maintain it’s integrity. I might as well be speaking Greek, or Latin, or Spanish, or plain English, they do not hear.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    I think it is due to the fact that those who are attracted to power are different from those who delegate it. We, the people, delegate some power so as to not be bothered and to fix clear needs. Those who grasp after power, head into government, then push as hard as they can for expanding their budgets and power beyond all possibility of reason. As the power in THAT location builds, it attracts the ever more ruthless and avaricious … while as “Captains of Industry” become “Lackey To Be Beaten By The State”, the ‘drive’ to go there drops. Eventually “shit happens” and we have a reset. Then a limited government forms… then the cycle repeats…

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