Sunday, August 13, 2006

Video Gaming

A very critical error made in warfare is assuming that war is like a video game played against another player. Every one has the same rules and goals although the goals may be in opposition. Basically the way we played the Soviet Union in the cold war. We assumed - correctly - that their idea of a good life was basically western. After all Russia - the foundational country - was at its core Christian in outlook. Even Marx was a fan of Western Civilization. He just wanted to fix what he thought were a few defects.


Another name for the mistake is mirror imaging.

In the prestent war we have an enemy whose goals are not economic, but religious. As one of the enemy put it aproximately in one of his more truthful moments "there is nothing we want from except your destruction".

Now to our western way of thinking negotiations can be held, differences bridged. We do it in business every day.

However, somtimes the gap is too wide. The differences irreconsilable. We have wars to settle those differences. Iran has been at war with the world since 1979 when a Shia theocracy took over the country without Jimmy Carter doing anything substantial to reverse the situation. As usual we are paying dearly for our lack of foresight. After all the Hate America, Hate Israel rallies began when Khomeini took power. And we thought, how quaint, how aboriginal, how useless. Well they fooled us. Just like the Austrian Corporal, they weren't kidding.

Addendum: Mirror imaging is most dangerous on the grand strategic level. In tactical situatiions it has aproximately zero application. In the realm of strategy where deception is the norm it doesn't have much application. It is in the realm of national goals where the problem of mirror imaging is most acute.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Cold war concepts can work here, but you have to apply them correctly.

It's true that you can't play MAD with Iran in national terms because the Iranians are willing to sacrifice their country for the cause. Israel has to play MAG with the Iranians, Mutually Assured Genocide. A Nuke in Tel Aviv will warrent the annihilation of the entire Muslim world. That's the only threat that will actually deter them.

Moreover, it will deter them for a long time, because in order to attack they will have to not only acquire the means to do so but the means to block Israel's counter attack.