Thursday, July 27, 2006

We're All Doomed! Doomed, I tell ye!

Actually, I don't think we are, but it appears that Richard North might. He provides a somewhat gloomy analysis of the wider meaning of the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.
We appear to have reached the limits of technology, tactics and firepower which have underwritten the might and the standing of the Western powers. The greatest military force on earth has so far been unable to prevail in Iraq, and now probably the most capable is on the brink of being humiliated – both by low-tech weapons in the hands of ruthless and obsessive terrorists.
Whilst I think that is true, it is only true in part. The 20th Century wisdom was always that you needed a 3:1 advantage in numbers in the attack. Attack is always tougher than defence. Over recent years, the ability to disguise some seriously powerful anti-vehicle munitions and the relatively low cost of accurate remote detonation devices to trigger them render invading regular armed forces particularly vulnerable to a determined guerilla defence and the balance has naturally shifted even more in favour of the defenders.

But... but... that is only half the picture. To fulfill their wishes, Hezbollah and its paymasters would have to go on the offensive. Where they would be ground to a pulp.

Hezbollah defending against IDF incursion? Result: Stalemate
IDF defending prepared positions against a serious Hezbollah invasion? Result: I'll have my money on the IDF.

The combination of the stacked odds in favour of the defender in any action and modern weaponry mean that we are very unlikely to see a conventional warfare threat to the "West". What remains is the nagging background of isolated terrorist incidents, both in Israel, here in the "West" and, well, generally everywhere actually. In this respect Richard's analysis is pretty much spot on:
"... [I]t will dawn on us that we are breaking away from a world dominated by ideas forged during and between the last two World Wars, and the post-war settlements that arose from them. [These] are settlements of which the EU, the United Nations, the WTO and all the great tranzie organisations were a central part.

They, like the military thinking and technology which has dominated the 20th Century, are no longer providing the answers. We need new paradigms, new thinking and new solutions. None of the tranzies, and especially the European Union, will be part of those solutions."
In this, as ever, he is spot on.

2 comments:

james higham said...

"The combination of the stacked odds in favour of the defender in any action and modern weaponry mean that we are very unlikely to see a conventional warfare threat to the "West". What remains is the nagging background of isolated terrorist incidents, both in Israel, here in the "West" and, well, generally everywhere actually."

What we are seeing is a concerted agenda from the 4th player in this game and I commented on this today.

James said...

I submit that it is not the limitations of the weaponry, but the limitations of fighting a war in front of hostile news cameras that is keeping conventional armies from actually winning.

A relative of mine used to be a highly placed public affairs officer in the US Navy. He usually mentioned that the main gripe from people out in the field is that they are watched at every point.

WWII would not have been won if the same level, and attitude, of press coverage intruded upon the troops then.