Monday, December 26, 2005

Transatlantic Division of Labor #2

Continuing on the subject of development of transition capabilities on both sides of the Atlantic: Opposed Systems Design comments with a sigh on the signs coming out concerning the strategic changes in the 2006 QDR, which looks set to continue the 1-4-2-1 setup. As he points out the 2-1 distinction between being "ready to simultaneously combat aggression in two of these regions (2); and maintain a capability to “win decisively” in one of these two conflicts (1)" is not valid because the fall out from Iraq must be the need for effective SysAdmin and thus to win the peace - making the calculation either 1-1 or 2-2.

Barnett's calls for SysAdmin being carried out by the Rest of the West (and, eventually, the New Core countries) means that the partners would then be
relied upon to create Pentagon's capacity to make 1-1 a 2-2:
To be fair, an allied SysAdmin force that could pick up the slack to bring America’s “2-1″ up to a “2-2.” Which would be in keeping with Dr. Barnett’s “America supplies the Leviathan, the Core provides the SysAdmin” paradigm. But if our Leviathan is going to be relying upon our allies’ capabilities that much, we had better be clear about that and make sure they get the memo.
This is a pretty weird calculation in the realm of strategy where autarky is more the rule than anywhere else. On the one hand then, you have a division of labor where the US holds the Leviathan force and the allies are left to do the cleaning. Packing the punch means that the US has the ability to do the major decision-making. When reiterating the tech development of the Leviathan over time as opposed to the - in principle - more low tech SysAdmin, the division of labor would imply that the US will only get more weight in the decisional matters. But on the other hand, if 1-1 can only get to be 2-2 if the allies join in, the transatlantic division of labor might become a strategic advantage for those parts of the Old Core that excells in SysAdmin.

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