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Thread: van Creveld on Western armies

  1. #11
    tWebber Darth Executor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paprika View Post
    The point of the analogy is that the long-term evaluation matters especially regarding opposing long-term strategic goals.
    France was saved by foreign powers. It didn't save itself. There's no USSR or USA equivalent that will save the Taliban. The point of the analogy (which I made, so I think I get to decide its point) is that when the enemy overruns your country and turns you into kebab, you lost.

    Given that one major US strategic goal was to establish a stable alternative government to the Taliban, if it falls it would be a failure of the long-term military strategic objective.

    You need long-term dominion to win a war when the major strategic objectives after the first ousting of power are respectively the stabilisation of the land under a new government and the thwarting of such efforts.
    I disagree that it was a major strategic goal, and furthermore it's not a goal of war at all. I don't see what diplomatic or political failures (which, I should note, haven't actually happened) have to do with military failures (which is what the OP was about). The author's thesis simply doesn't pass the laugh test since the US military can and does mop the floor with third world armies, both formal and informal. To make matters worse, even under your view the author's claim is frivolous as it's based on what might happen rather than what has happened so far (the Taliban's crushing military defeat).

    So, leaving aside all the logistical issues, the US should be willing to reinstate the Taliban because they're unlikely to give trouble?
    Of course not. They already have a friendlier government, why reinstate the Taliban?
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Executor View Post
    France was saved by foreign powers. It didn't save itself. There's no USSR or USA equivalent that will save the Taliban. The point of the analogy (which I made, so I think I get to decide its point)
    Sorry, but I get to use the same analogy for a different point: the long-term decides who wins the war.

    when the enemy overruns your country and turns you into kebab, you lost.
    As above, that's only if you define winning only in terms of a certain control of the disputed land, and view victory only in the short-term. And the Taliban saved itself from those who were trying to eliminate it or drive it out from all its regions of control.

    I disagree that it was a major strategic goal, and furthermore it's not a goal of war at all. I don't see what diplomatic or political failures (which, I should note, haven't actually happened) have to do with military failures (which is what the OP was about). The author's thesis simply doesn't pass the laugh test since the US military can and does mop the floor with third world armies, both formal and informal. To make matters worse, even under your view the author's claim is frivolous as it's based on what might happen
    When a strategic goal is to stabilise the land the military has an indispensable role against enemies that try to disrupt it. Politics and military are in this aspect inextricably bound: one reason why the military is weak because the political will is weak. Furthermore, iirc driving out or eliminating the Taliban was one of the key goals during the occupation. They couldn't stop the Taliban from making continued attacks, let alone eliminate them, and had to retreat.

    rather than what has happened so far (the Taliban's crushing military defeat)
    The Taliban lost greatly in many battles, but that doesn't necessarily mean they lose the war. When the occupying army leaves, and one major factor is attrition taking its toll on the military, that is a major victory for those who have been fighting to make them leave.

    Of course not. They already have a friendlier government, why reinstate the Taliban?
    Because the land would be more stable and presumably they-

    Sorry, couldn't keep a straight face.

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