Monday, October 08, 2007


Doing some reading for my International Security Policy class, and right now I'm reading an excerpt from Moltke's Doctrines of War. He had some interesting words for coalitions, particularly relevant to NATO and ISAF...
A coalition is marvelous as long as all interests of all members are the same. In reality, the interests of allies in all coalitions only converge up to a point; as soon as one of the allies has to make sacrifices for the achievement of the great common goal, one can no longer rely on the coalition, for coalitions will not easily understand that the great aims of a war cannot be reached without such partial sacrifices.

For this reason a mutual defense pact is at all times the least perfect form of mutual aid; it is worth only what each member on its own can give by way of aid. One thus cannot expect mere coalitions to do what is militarily most desirable, but only what is advantageous for both parts of the coalition. Every strategic agreement of allied armies is thus a compromise which tries to take into account special interests; these can only be ruled out within a single, unified state.
(emphasis mine)

Oh, and Europe? He had this to say on the maintenance and upkeep of armies...
An army can never be a provisional affair, it cannot be improvised in weeks or months, it needs to be educated throughout long years, for the basis of any military organization is continuity and stability.
The RN is going to be how small? The Dutch are selling off enough equipment to give any third world dictator a sizable military of his own, to say nothing of the Swedes' conundrum, and then there's that little issue of the helicopters. By these standards the USAF's future looks positively rosy. That's the same USAF that is "going out of business."