Or at least that’s my take away from Colonel David Shin’s measured essay in The Military Review. Perhaps my own skepticism of the military’s full blown reorientation towards counterinsurgency is causing me to misread the piece, but Col. Shin seems to be quietly arguing that we should move away from a COIN heavy counterrorism strategy. Shin, chief of International Military Affairs Division based in Hawaii, suggests an alternative route that focuses on diplomacy and law enforcement and intel gathering. In other words, getting us unstuck from Post 9-11 thinking.
America should stop using potential terrorist threats to justify and espouse the failed strategy of prevention.”
“The current U.S. strategy to counter terrorism is problematic because it seeks global cooperation while not every nation perceives the same intensity of threat.”
“The government needs to reallocate resources from DOD to other Departments, especially State, to enhance our diplomatic engagement, public diplomacy, and reconstruction and stabilization capabilities.
“America can limit its use of force and better effectively engage Muslims, including those potential reformists within radical Islamist groups. Instead of trying to impose U.S. will and control international politics, it should act less and determine more ways to shape the environment. First, after stabilizing Iraq, the United States should consider significantly reducing its military presence in the Muslim world, and rely more on intelligence and law enforcement cooperation to pursue Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups…”
“America still needs to target terrorists with focused lethal operations, but it needs to rely more on intelligence and law enforcement agencies.”
“Although America has successfully promoted Western democracy in post-War Germany and Japan, it is unlikely that it will have another opportunity to completely reshape another country.”
I think he’s politely saying a similar kind of thing to what I wrote about Afghanistan here, and another Colonel mentions here. But it’s worth the read, if you’re into that kind of thing. Over the past few years, The Military Review, published out of Fort Leavenworth, has been out ahead on offering serious from-the-inside critiques of whatever the current conventional wisdom is.