A Strategic Lunch with Mr. Rumsfeld - On Point Commentary by Austin Bay StrategyPage.com

Wednesday, October 25, 2006
A Strategic Lunch with Mr. Rumsfeld - On Point Commentary by Austin Bay StrategyPage.com: "Our system for 'Unified Action' is still largely a Cold War, 20th century relic designed to prop up governments (so often corrupt and ill-led), instead of helping individuals and neighborhoods become economically self-sustaining and self-securing. Winning war in the Age of the Internet means improving neighborhoods and individual lives. The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and micro-finance whiz Muhammad Yunus understands this.

We are in a long, global war, where economic and political development programs must reinforce security and intelligence operations -- and vice versa.

We've been improvising 'joint development and security operations,' and we've learned from our improvisation (Rumsfeld's 'we're better than we were').

But it's time to quit improvising. Effective 'Unified Action' requires re-engineering 20th century Beltway bureaucracies -- which means thoughtful, sophisticated cooperation between the executive branch and Congress.

That means getting past the sensational gossip and confronting an essential issue."


(See also Austin Bay's comments on his own blog.)

7 comments:

Skookumchuk said...

But it's time to quit improvising. Effective "Unified Action" requires re-engineering 20th century Beltway bureaucracies -- which means thoughtful, sophisticated cooperation between the executive branch and Congress.

Yes, but first the career bureaucrats and the military must believe in the same things and share the same strategic visions. And at the moment, they don't.

Rick Ballard said...

Skook,

When the historians take a look at the Bush Presidency I think that Powell's appointment as SoS is going to be considered the biggest initial error made. Rumsfeld has earned a good deal of antipathy at Defense because he is actually promoting and firing (at least to some extent) those who help or hinder change. Powell (and Armitage) were termites from Day 1 and the only change effected at State was a strengthening of the mandarinate.

It would be fitting that a pop quiz might be given at State where anybody who failed to correctly identify the Grameen Bank or the author of The Mystery of Capital would be placed on a barge in the Potomac and towed to the Mid-Atlantic with those able to swim back being able to reclaim their jobs. Pretty unlikely though.

Skookumchuk said...

Rick:

Yes, it was a grave political mistake.

No chance of your pop quiz being administered anytime soon. Of course, the generalized antipathy toward any but a statist solution may be yet another reason why so little of what private firms are doing overseas is known to the American public. I mean, if they are profit-making entities, how can they possibly be doing good?

Bostonian said...

I have an idea.
Let's fire the entire State Department and hire 100 random people off the street.

chuck said...

Powell (and Armitage) were termites from Day 1 and the only change effected at State was a strengthening of the mandarinate.

OTOH, someone did a brilliant job of getting Musharraf in line before the Afghanistan intervention. I seem to recall Musharraf making a speech explaining to the Pakastanis that he didn't really have a choice and had to bow to the demands of a bigger power to avoid trouble. If Armitage's tough talk was the source of Musharraf's good sense I am willing to give him credit for that. Evidently Musharraf is no longer quite so worried about the US, which is a shame.

Rick Ballard said...

Chuck,

Musharraf doesn't have any oil money. Armitage was on his knees for the Saudis at the same time he was alledgedly threatening the Pakis. I seem to remember the loss of the use of a rather large air base in Arabia and the transfer of our air operations center to Qatar. Those clowns let the French/Iraq coalition outbid us with the Turks as well.

Don't dismiss the possibility that the Musahrraf/Armitage story was a plant by news writers giving a little cheese to a rat.

chuck said...

I seem to remember the loss of the use of a rather large air base in Arabia and the transfer of our air operations center to Qatar.

I thought that was a good move myself. Closer to Iran, nearer port facilities, and don't need to worry about the Saudis. I mean, why the H*ll would you want an airbase in SA? It was only placed there to deal with Saddam. If you are going to take down Saddam anyway, you don't need it. And I stand by my observation: someone did some effective diplomacy before the Afghan war.

Now, true, the Turks didn't go along with us in Iraq. With the USSR gone we don't have that much leverage anymore. But hey, they got a deal with the French. And got screwed. You have a problem with that? I thought it was hilarious. Anyway, I'll worry more about Turkey when they invade Kurdistan or ask Incirlik to pack up. Which may happen, but hasn't happened yet.