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The Art of War: Sun Tsu and 4 American Presidents

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
A bit old. But I think it was actually quite good. You may not agree with all of it, but for the most it seemed right on.

<a href="http://members.aol.com/readmenownet/news13.html" target="_blank">http://members.aol.com/readmenownet/news13.html</a>
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
Reply
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
What, too long for you intellectual types?
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
Reply
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
Reply
post #3 of 10
I thought it was short. I read it but it came off as too patisan even for me. Regan failed in the Beirut bombing. Carter tried to rescue the hostages.

WRT terrorism all the past presidents ****ed up.
post #4 of 10
I think this op-ed is interesting. Kind of along the same theme. Gives a reply to those who think we need to open a "dialog" with these terrorist to "negotiate" with them.

<a href="http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=105001702" target="_blank">Peace Doesn't Come From a 'Process'</a>
From Colombia to Palestine, the Clinton era of appeasement is over.


BY ROBERT L. POLLOCK
Thursday, February 28, 2002 12:01 a.m. EST

As the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia fled the country's "demilitarized" zone over the weekend, they left behind terror training camps worthy of al Qaeda. Advancing soldiers and reporters found instructions on how to down aircraft, threats against "gringos," libraries of Marxist theory, and even a printed Web page from the American Embassy in Bogota. The U.S., it said, will not make concessions to kidnappers and will help its allies fight terrorism.

Let's hope so, and let's not repeat past mistakes. For Colombia's peace process was based on an idea so stupid that it could only have been the culmination of a U.S.-led decade of appeasement that saw terrorists installed in the governments of Palestine, Northern Ireland and Sierra Leone, and butchers like Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic and Kim Jong Il using negotiations as cover for the pursuit of aggressive aims.

In Colombia, President Andres Pastrana decided three years ago that giving the terror group, which goes by the Spanish acronym FARC, license to rule in a safe haven the size of Switzerland would somehow persuade it to give up its decades-long struggle to replace the democratic government with a Marxist dictatorship. He was apparently surprised that this gesture only whetted the FARC's appetite for more--surprised that it terrorized the local population and conscripted local youth, surprised that it turned to narcotrafficking to finance its war, surprised it used the area as a base from which to attack the rest of the country, and surprised that Colombians formed self-defense groups when their government declined to protect them. Surprised above all that after committing to work toward a cease-fire, the FARC killed about 120 people, sabotaged a dam and hijacked airplanes.

At least Mr. Pastrana's decided enough's enough. But the FARC now melts back into the countryside numerically stronger and richer than ever, and holding about 800 hostages--including a Colombian senator and one of the candidates vying for the president's job.

In this case, thankfully, there were no Clinton photo-ops to tie the U.S. directly to the fiasco. But we have hardly been helpful. Thanks to congressional Democrats, the government has been prohibited from helping Colombia in its fight against terrorism due to often dubious allegations of human rights abuses by the military. President Bush, whose cabinet discussed the matter this week, surely understands now that such a fight will never be squeaky clean. If the U.S. doesn't want a terrorist international located in South America, it needs to get serious about helping Colombia defeat the FARC. Last August, three bomb specialists from the Irish Republican Army were caught training the group.

The instinct to appease terrorists and belligerent states is hardly a new one. But it was never the consistent theme of American foreign policy until the 1990s, when President Clinton committed the U.S. to Shimon Peres's vision of a "New Middle East" and to delivering Northern Ireland's Catholics from the the oppression of one of the world's oldest democracies. The few who pointed out the risks of effectively legitimizing decades of murder by bringing groups like the PLO and the IRA into government were largely written off as enemies of peace.

But in Israel, at least, the "enemies" could not have been proved more right. After a year and a half of low-intensity war, most rational observers understand that Yasser Arafat is the biggest obstacle to the creation of a viable Palestinian state and a just settlement of the conflict. And in Northern Ireland, the freeing of hundreds of killers ("political prisoners") from jail and the de facto destruction of the Royal Ulster Constabulary have only exacerbated sectarian divisions and undermined faith in the rule of law. Government policy is seen to be for sale to whoever causes it the most trouble. The IRA is still sitting on tons of armaments it received from Moammar Gadhafi in the 1980s, which will surely be deployed by some so-called splinter group whenever concessions from the British government stop.

For sheer lunacy, however, no "peace process" can match the one we imposed on Sierra Leone in 1999 after its elected government had captured rebel leader Foday Sankoh and was finishing off the civil war. President Clinton and his Africa envoy, Jesse Jackson, not only persuaded the government to release Sankoh but to make him vice president and put him in charge of the country's diamond mines. Within a year Sankoh was back to hacking off limbs and was even selling cut-price diamonds to al Qaeda. He succeeded in taking 500 U.N. peacekeepers hostage before being captured again.

Do the world's thugs take notice of whether civilized nations respond to violence with the carrot, the stick or simple fear? You bet. Exhibit A is Osama bin Laden himself, who has said repeatedly that the U.S. decision to flee Somalia after the loss of 18 soldiers in 1993 is one of the main reasons he believes he can change U.S. policy through terror.

But perhaps no one has put it more bluntly than Leila Khaled, one of the Palestinian terrorists who hijacked five planes (four successfully) over the course of two days in September 1970, and then used the passengers to win the release of PLO terrorists from European jails. Though the operation led to the bloody expulsion of the PLO from Jordan, she maintains to this day that it was a great success because it showed "that governments could be negotiated with and that we could impose our demands. . . . [That] gave us the courage and the confidence to go ahead with our struggle."

One of the few recent governments to resist the lure of negotiations was Turkey's. Faced with a seemingly intractable guerrilla war led by the Damascus-based Abdullah Ocalan and his Kurdistan Workers Party, known as the PKK, the Turks decided in 1998 simply to mass their troops on the Syrian border and demand that Ocalan be expelled--or else. He was, and was soon captured. One lesson was that terrorists don't last long without state sponsorship. Another was that it's simply not true that new terrorists will always replace the old until the grievance at hand is addressed. Deprived of its charismatic leader, the PKK has appeared simply to fade away.

In short, while history affords numerous examples of force successfully solving the problem of terrorists, rebels or rogue states, there are scarcely any examples of agreements with undefeated belligerents that stand the test of time. Even in cases where there are legitimate complaints of injustice--say the Israeli occupation of the West Bank--governments would be best advised not to negotiate under fire. Saudi Arabia's latest proposal to normalize Arab relations with Israel, even were it sincere, would amount to just one more tenuous deal reached at gunpoint.

The collapse of Colombia's peace process, therefore, is not a setback but an opportunity. Terrorists do respond to incentives. And if the world's governments can not only say that they don't negotiate, but also appear to mean it, they should have less to fear in the future. No more peace processes, please.

Mr. Pollock is an editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal.
post #5 of 10
glad to see the some high quality journalism.

I particularly liked...
<strong>And in Northern Ireland, the freeing of hundreds of killers ("political prisoners")</strong>

I mean, god damn those devious liberals with their mind-bending euphamisms and politically correct newspeak. we need clarity and openess in our language like collateral damage, surgical strikes and friendly fire (C) copyright US Armed Forces.

oh, and the sun tzu stuff was just bollocks.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Along the smae theme as in comparing past mistakes to sucessful policy. Other than that the post I made had no real refrence to terrorism. It was more about war in general. Don't get me wrong. I really like the article you posted, and it makes for an interesting read. The article that I posted was more about the need to always be ready for war even during "peace times" and how one should not let down their guard even if the other seems friendly. The part about Clinton and China still has me quite upset.

Whreas this article you posted seems to be more about how negotiaing with terrorist only serves to embolden them and makes them beleive that they can win.
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
Reply
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
Reply
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by bawjaws:
<strong>oh, and the sun tzu stuff was just bollocks.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Bullocks? ScottH at least said that he thought it was too partisan. What did you not like about it? Too simplistic of an approach? What was the point you thought the writer was trying to make?
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
Reply
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
Reply
post #8 of 10
While Sun Tzu is of course known for his strategies, I have a hard time correlating a few of his quotes to a few conflicts with less than a handful of presidents. Especially when the point of the whole excercise is nothing more than to make Carter and Clinton look bad while praising Bush and Reagan.

If you want to read a really good non partisan book on US Foreign Policy check out "Special Providence" by Walter Russell Mead.

Mead is Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreing Relations.

His book is an analysis of America's foreign policy and how it has basically been mostly successful. He attributes this unprecedented success (as well as recurring problems) to the interplay of four schools of thought - The Hamiltonian: the protection of commerce; the Jeffersonian: the maintenance of our democratic system; the Jacksonian populist values and military might; and the Wilsonian moral principle.

It covers so much more on our history w/China than that guy does in his little website snapshot of Clinton and how he got bamboozled due to government corruption. Government corruption isn't exactly new. Don't get me wrong I never voted for Clinton, or Bush for that matter. I have no love for any politician. So many people rely too much on short little newspaper clippings without even getting into historical reference. I think it really skews their views on modern politics. As if anything bad that happens now hasn't happened before.

Anyways, in an effort to waste less time pointlessly rambling on AI (hardly anyone comes here to learn, really, just to attack the opinions of others in the hope that others will come to see things on their terms) I'll leave you with a link to a historical account much more substantial than the webisite linked to above.

<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0375412301/qid=1014926064/sr=1-7/ref=sr_1_7/104-7466458-0703940" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0375412301/qid=1014926064/sr=1-7/ref=sr_1_7/104-7466458-0703940</a>
post #9 of 10
[quote]Originally posted by seb:
<strong>While Sun Tzu is of course known for his strategies, I have a hard time correlating a few of his quotes to a few conflicts with less than a handful of presidents. Especially when the point of the whole excercise is nothing more than to make Carter and Clinton look bad while praising Bush and Reagan.

If you want to read a really good non partisan book on US Foreign Policy check out "Special Providence" by Walter Russell Mead.

Mead is Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreing Relations.

His book is an analysis of America's foreign policy and how it has basically been mostly successful. He attributes this unprecedented success (as well as recurring problems) to the interplay of four schools of thought - The Hamiltonian: the protection of commerce; the Jeffersonian: the maintenance of our democratic system; the Jacksonian populist values and military might; and the Wilsonian moral principle.

It covers so much more on our history w/China than that guy does in his little website snapshot of Clinton and how he got bamboozled due to government corruption. Government corruption isn't exactly new. Don't get me wrong I never voted for Clinton, or Bush for that matter. I have no love for any politician. So many people rely too much on short little newspaper clippings without even getting into historical reference. I think it really skews their views on modern politics. As if anything bad that happens now hasn't happened before.

Anyways, in an effort to waste less time pointlessly rambling on AI (hardly anyone comes here to learn, really, just to attack the opinions of others in the hope that others will come to see things on their terms) I'll leave you with a link to a historical account much more substantial than the webisite linked to above.

<a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0375412301/qid=1014926064/sr=1-7/ref=sr_1_7/104-7466458-0703940" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0375412301/qid=1014926064/sr=1-7/ref=sr_1_7/104-7466458-0703940</a></strong><hr></blockquote>
Interesting link that brings me more than the Sun Tzu stuff to understand the foreign policy of USA.
Sun Tzu die two thousands years ago, you have to learn it if your are a officer in the army. But this sentances are useless to try to understand a such modern and complex civilisation like USA.
post #10 of 10
I back up Scott H. This guy is totally Partisan. You simply cannot distill 20 years of US leadership into a page an a half of praise/condemnation. Just as Liberals are accused of going overboard..conservatives bear the same trait.
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
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He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
Reply
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