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Topic: The Future of War (Read 4013 times)

The Future of War

More than four years ago Jerry Pournelle responded to this NYT article "detailing" the Obama administration's new policy:
Quote
Discussing his approach to nuclear security the day before formally releasing his new strategy, Mr. Obama described his policy as part of a broader effort to edge the world toward making nuclear weapons obsolete, and to create incentives for countries to give up any nuclear ambitions. To set an example, the new strategy renounces the development of any new nuclear weapons, overruling the initial position of his own defense secretary.


Mr. Obama’s strategy is a sharp shift from those of his predecessors and seeks to revamp the nation’s nuclear posture for a new age in which rogue states and terrorist organizations are greater threats than traditional powers like Russia and China.


It eliminates much of the ambiguity that has deliberately existed in American nuclear policy since the opening days of the cold war. For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.


Those threats, Mr. Obama argued, could be deterred with “a series of graded options,” a combination of old and new conventional weapons. “I’m going to preserve all the tools that are necessary in order to make sure that the American people are safe and secure,” he said in the interview in the Oval Office.


(from the NYT article)
Dr. Pournelle's take is short; the link is still active…


The point -for this thread- is that conceptions of war have changed… Or have they?


One of our esteemed members (Belfrager) thinks that technology will eliminate the human costs of war, both psychological and physical… Drones and robots will vie, when vie we must, in our stead; and General Sherman's "War is Hell" comment will seem quaint.
When I was young, many people I knew thought that ridding the world of nuclear weapons was a noble and responsible cause.
But -just as Woodrow Wilson's League failed to obviate war- the post-WW II United Nations has failed. And our various treaties involving nuclear proliferation, testing and defensive technologies have accomplished —on their own or in their own right— next to nothing.
We've simply got so used to the possibility of a nuclear apocalypse that we hardly ever think about it anymore…


So: Will the human costs of "conventional" war be subsumed by mere economics and technology?
I don't see it happening… (For some of the reasons hinted at, above.)


Do you?
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"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
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Re: The Future of War

Reply #1
Well for a start you could reduce the military bill Oakdale as it is around half the world's spending. There is no need for the constant extensions still going on. A lot of that money could be spent on other more pressing local things and issues. Many nations have reduced their military bills and concentrated on trying to improve things for their citizens which to my mind makes sense.

Itis also too easy just to say the UN has failed completely. It has provided peace-keepers and that is constructive thing rather than individual nations thinking they stockpile the world's morality. On medicines, health and other issues varying from these the UN has been a positive and progressive thing. It can co-ordinate and has done much good in the Third World. Just to judge it on politics is an error.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

Re: The Future of War

Reply #2
One of our esteemed members (Belfrager) thinks that technology will eliminate the human costs of war

No, not at all, that's not my view.
I think that technology in war it's
1. inevitable
2. a step never seen before into cruelty.
3. will change war into it's post modernist form, meaning that technology, concurring for the automation of death  (drones and robots), will be in fact used as a moral prosthesis.

(I'll post a link about the moral prosthesis concept when I find it.)

People, in certain circumstances, have the right to kill but they never, ever, have the right of demising about the moral consequences of their acts and that's what using technology for death automation aims to do.

There are many other consequences of introducing post modernism into killing and warfare. Technology it's the preferred tool of post modernism moral but it's consequences will spread into many other different areas of life and people's organization.

To a certain extent, that ISIS thing it's already the kind of new realities post modernism produced.
A matter of attitude.

Re: The Future of War

Reply #3
Well for a start you could reduce the military bill....


You may have a coronary RJ, but on that I agree.

I think we should cut spending in year 2015 by 10% ($75 billion), & then incrementally over the next 10 years to attain a level of no more than $300 billion -- less than half -- in total Military spending (compared to the $750 Billion level estimated for 2015).

We should also cut all foreign aid over the next 10 years as well, so of the $25 billion estimated for 2015, in 10 years it should be cut to a level of just $5 billion total Foreign Aid.

Immediately make a Congressional approval of a Super Majority (67%) mandatory in order to raise either level by more than $1 Billion in any year, except during time of a Declared War, where a simple majority would be sufficient.

Re: The Future of War

Reply #4
I think we should cut spending in year 2015 by 10%

Why to cut military spending for, SmileyFaze, if you aren't exactly an advocate of social redistribution or public health-care? What do you want to do with the money?

(I really think that the more US spends in military the more American population will benefit. You see, Dollar it's based solely in power, nothing else, reduce the power and you'll have nothing but useless papers burning your wallet. I agree however that you could spend military budgets wiser.)

Anyway, the future of war, don't expect too much of a reduction into military spending, the "electronic soldier" of the future it's simply the biggest business ever made and nothing will stop it.
Technology being cheaper and cheaper only applies to the civilian market, military versions costs immediately ten times more.
Generals must have a living... all over the world, they are the ones that have the weapons. :)
A matter of attitude.

Re: The Future of War

Reply #5
Why to cut military spending for, SmileyFaze, if you aren't exactly an advocate of social redistribution or public health-care? What do you want to do with the money?

I can't answer for him but to pay down the debt. There's also the potential for an added benefit. Depending on the spending cuts are applied a reduction in Federal power (ie the NSA, etc)

Re: The Future of War

Reply #6
I can't answer for him but to pay down the debt.

Your debt is not payable my friend.
Forget it and keep on spending, defending your currency with all the weaponry you can get, it's the only way you have.
That's why the future is so dark and NSA turning bigger and bigger and bigger.

I wonder until when we will still be allies. We need to think about it when thinking about the future of war(s).
A matter of attitude.

Re: The Future of War

Reply #7
The US debt is definitely payable. It is high, but not unusually high relative to repayment capability (commonly measured in GDP). To pick a few examples, Canada, Iceland, Japan and Portugal fare worse here.



The problem that creditors and analysts have with the US debt isn't economical, but political. Are they politically capable of managing their debt level? There is enough uncertainty about that that the creditors fret, but not so much that they stop buying that debt.

Re: The Future of War

Reply #8
So to the war at hand:


More than four years ago Jerry Pournelle responded to this NYT article "detailing" the Obama administration's new policy


Pournelle seems like the generals, fighting yesterday's war tomorrow. Actually I broadly agree with his history lesson (though I didn't read it that thoroughly), but what was an asset will eventually become a liability. Nuclear weapons will be a constraint on American power to achieve their political goals, rather than a means to the same. 2015 (not to speak of 2030, 2045...) isn't the same world as 1945 or 1960.

I was there when Obama outlined his idea in Prague five years ago, and I thought it was clever, all wrapped in peace, love, and understanding of course, but really, as I saw it, a power play, an attempt to look ahead and for the US to stay ahead.

A cunning plan, poorly implemented. US Presidents only have the chance to implement a few ideas, if they are lucky, and this was one of his (or maybe a bit too clever to be his, but I don't know whose idea it really was), but the world at large intervened. I think they didn't figure out how to sell it to an audience wondering what would be in it for us. The benefits to the US was obvious, to others less clear.

As the only national power in the world the US has reach. Where they want to project power, they can. Russia and China don't have that reach, and other potential powers like India hardly can reach outside their own borders. France and Britain has some reach, but they can only reach small and poor countries. Nuclear weapons give you reach.

North Korea and to some extent Israel would have to be idiots to give away their nuclear weapons. To the same extent these weapons would have a great appeal to Iran, whatever the ruler. As long as the North Korean rulers are in position to threaten Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo, they will be listened to with some semblance of politeness.

Re: The Future of War

Reply #9
they will be listened to with some semblance of politeness.

As we listen to Americans?  :whistle:

I hope that everybody doesn't start getting atomic bombs, listen to them all will be insupportable.
A matter of attitude.

Re: The Future of War

Reply #10
Why to cut military spending for, SmileyFaze, if you aren't exactly an advocate of social redistribution or public health-care? What do you want to do with the money?


Give it back to the people who earned it, that's what ----- after all, it's their money, &
not the government's. 

I'm sure that the people have a better idea on how to better spend their money than the government does.

Back to the future of war.

War will continue to exist as long as humans continue being human, & covet the property of others.

As long as there can be a winning side, war will be used to resolve major issues between countries.

When everybody becomes aware that nobody can win a war -- that everybody will surely lose -- then mankind might just find alternatives to war.

The only other way to end war forever is that when a war is concluded, regardless of who wins or who loses, both sides must execute all it's politicians & start anew.


Re: The Future of War

Reply #11

The point -for this thread- is that conceptions of war have changed… Or have they?

One of our esteemed members (Belfrager) thinks that technology will eliminate the human costs of war, both psychological and physical… Drones and robots will vie, when vie we must, in our stead; and General Sherman's "War is Hell" comment will seem quaint.
When I was young, many people I knew thought that ridding the world of nuclear weapons was a noble and responsible cause.
But -just as Woodrow Wilson's League failed to obviate war- the post-WW II United Nations has failed. And our various treaties involving nuclear proliferation, testing and defensive technologies have accomplished —on their own or in their own right— next to nothing.
We've simply got so used to the possibility of a nuclear apocalypse that we hardly ever think about it anymore…


The risk of a nuclear apocalypse is, and has for the most part been, slight. The consequences are however so damaging that even a slight risk is serious. Can we rule out a military conflict between two out of USA, Russia, and China? Not completely, we can not. What about "lesser" conflicts, like China vs India (now there's a nightmare scenario), India vs Pakistan, Israel against a neighbour, Iran against a neighbour, North Korea against anyone. What about a future ISIL?

Fission weapons can be controlled and regulated, to a very significant degree. Others may not, be it weapons of mass destruction or mass-produced weapons of destruction. Machines are in this category. It is a basic tenet of SF that wars are fought [to add drama to the story] by machines or machine-enhanced humans (or aliens). And so they increasingly are.

Another open question is how long nation-states can maintain their monopoly on violence. Relatively nation states are getting less powerful, while other entities are getting more. Would a gang of renegate bankers be able to wage war? Renegate islamists? A corporation? A city? A super-wealthy individual? A religious sect? A government agency? A multinational organisation? How would they wage it, and against whom, and for what purpose?

Re: The Future of War

Reply #12
Mark Gubrud, at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, writing about his hopes for banning hyper-sonic missiles, concludes:
Quote
One repeated criticism of hypersonic weapons programs is that they are technology-driven rather than mission-driven, i.e., the United States and other major powers seem to be developing this technology just because they can. Indeed, every step in the history of the nuclear arms race, from the first fission bombs to thermonuclear weapons to intercontinental ballistic missiles and their multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles—one might even say the history of all weapons—has been technology-driven to a greater or lesser degree. Those programs that were driven more by a specific goal than by capability, such as the dream of rendering nuclear weapons impotent via missile defense, have largely failed. Today, a resurgent arms race is being driven by emerging technologies—hypersonic weapons, space weapons, autonomous weapons controlled by artificial intelligence—and the question before humanity is whether in the 21st century, technology will be the driver of history, or humans will assert the sovereign right to determine their own future.
I'll hazard a guess: The same question will be asked, about the 22nd and every succeeding century.
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

Re: The Future of War

Reply #13
I'm reading a book by George Friedman, "The Next 100 Years". It is insightful and persuasive. He also wrote a book "The future of War".
I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Re: The Future of War

Reply #14
Reading George Friedman's bio on Wiki left me pining for the lost TV show Rubicon… He may have been a model for "Truxton Spangler" — not that Friedman is nefarious! :)
I, too, am now interested in his work. Thanks for pointing me there, tt92.
进行 ...
"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." - James Thurber
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts!" - Richard Feynman
 (iBook G4 - Panther | Mac mini i5 - El Capitan)

Re: The Future of War

Reply #15
Quote
This article provides the basis, motivation, theory, and design recommendations for the
implementation of an ethical control and reasoning system potentially suitable for constraining
lethal actions in an autonomous robotic system so that they fall within the bounds prescribed by
the Laws of War and Rules of Engagement.

Embedding Ethics in a Hybrid Deliberative/Reactive Robot Architecture

The matter is not if but how it should be done. For now, War (still) has rules.
A matter of attitude.

Re: The Future of War

Reply #16
 :yikes:  SmileyFaze you gave me a damn start. Thought I had woken up in Edinburgh instead of Glasgow and nearly dropped my toast. Not to distract but you are so right on those basic things I mentioned as all it has done has been too costly and given you too many headaches.
"Quit you like men:be strong"

Re: The Future of War

Reply #17
According to Joe Blogs, Russia is doomed for next eight years

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODhwGw_n5lQ

According to Peter Zeihan, Germany is doomed imminently for a generation or so

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twnrMu6NRhY

If Germany goes down, it would not go down alone. Its huge trade surplus would bring down others. I always said since day one that eating Snickers instead of home-grown potatoes was not a good idea.

Anyway, if Russia really goes down, which is something to look forward to, Germany's existence will be irrelevant.