Shelby Steel’s recent column in the Wall Street Journal, “Obama is right on Iran: Talking with Tehran may help us wage the wars we need to fight” is so-so. A good conceptualization is muddied by tired talk of moral authority. A great start is swamped by a lousy finish.
The same is not true of Tom’s summary of the (best of the) article, which is brilliant:
In my strategic vernacular, then, here’s the key difference between the Old Core and the New Core WRT the long war against radical extremism: despite the wobbly types in Europe, the long war is a war of discipline for the Old Core. We enjoy the current world order and dealing with the radical jihadists is simply a matter of preserving our advantages. Over time, globalization makes the problem go away in the variety of ways I’ve long described here (e.g., various reformations, demographics, moving beyond oil).
In contrast, for the New Core and for Seam States in general (like Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia), the long war IS a war of survival, just as it is for the jihadists themselves, doomed as they are.
This is why the West, and the U.S. in particular, will never wage—and should never wage—an all-out or total war, nor should we put America on a war footing. It’s unnecessary and unsustainable and unwise. So all that gibberish about “America’s getting the war it deserves” is all wrong. America is getting the war that’s appropriate for the risks entailed.
Just as “loyalty militias” make natural allies in a sub-national sense (we need someone who will provide security and kill our enemies — loyalty militias exist to do just that), the New care is comprised of “loyalty countries” — states that want the same basic goals as we do, but are more willing to kill to get there.
Allying with the New Core is as much part of our effort to shrink the Gap as is building a Military-Industrial-Complex for nation building: it makes the “correct” answer of what to do (build the Sysadmin! support the New Core!) a natural given rather than a policy decision that has to be made every time.