May 18, 2015
Center for Strategic and International Studies
The transcript for this event is at the link.
“Army and Air Force officials presented their findings from a war game exercise that focused on potential future policy and strategy for U.S.-Russia relations and recent Russian aggression. Participants presented their findings and recommendations from a wargame exercise focused on U.S. policy and strategy.”
Computer programing coined the term “garbage in, garbage out”.
These officials sound surprised by events in Ukraine and in Crimea, as if those events happened out of the blue. They admit no connection to the coup d’état, no involvement for decades of U.S. support for Ukrainian nationalists, and no U.S. and investor money poured into Ukraine creating discord. Their history timeline starts with Crimea and East Ukraine turmoil. They seem to feel they did a lot of work in “figuring out” Russia and Russia’s possible future moves, but it’s in terms of Russia doing something to Ukraine or Europe. These officials in their war game seem completely separated from and oblivious to actual events — a very dangerous situation for everyone, given the stakes involved.
How much of this is willful ignorance and playing the victim, and how much is intentional PR and public manipulation — psyops?
U.S. officials cannot possibly formulate realistic policy objectives when their foundation is sand and when they seem so unwilling to get rid of their blinders.
From the C-SPAN transcript:
“WE’RE IN U.S. ARMY WAR COLLEGE BUT IN SPECIAL PROGRAM CALLED CARLYLE SCHOLARS PROGRAM. CARLYLE SCHOLARS PROGRAM IS — THE IDEA BEHIND IT CORE CURRICULUM IN FOUR MONTHS INSTEAD OF EIGHT TO NINE MONTHS, JUST CONDENSE IT A LITTLE BIT SO WE’VE GOT MORE TIME TO DO RESEARCH, ENGAGEMENTS
WITH THINK TANKS OR STATE DEPARTMENT…WE STARTED 2014 TO STUDY INTO RUSSIA. THE RELATIONSHIP — EUROPE RUSSIA, ACTUALLY. IT LINKED INTO SEVERAL PROGRAMS WE WERE DOING ALREADY AT U.S. ARMY WAR COLLEGE. OVER TIME WE HAD MEETINGS WITH MANY RESPECTED EXPERTS FROM THINK TANKS, UNIVERSITIES, DOD, STATE DEPARTMENT AS WELL [–the voices from within the US security apparatus system]
…WE STARTED WITH FIRST UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM, SO WE LOOKED INTO PUTIN’S STRATEGY, TRYING TO FIGURE THAT OUT… [Listening to his speeches and press conferences, as well as those of Mr. Lavrov, would have been a good place to start; they are easily available on the internet.]
…WE HAD MANY MEETINGS HERE IN WASHINGTON WITH THINK TANKS TO DISCUSS OUR VIEW ON WHAT WE THOUGHT THAT THE RUSSIAN SYSTEM WAS LIKE. [Think tanks like Brookings Institute, the Heritage Foundation???]
IT WAS VERY INTERESTING TO FIND OUT REALLY THEY [policymakers] WERE CONFRONTING A SEA CHANGE IN U.S. POLICY. IT WAS CLEAR TO THEM THAT SOMETHING HAD CHANGED IN THE INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT. THE TOUGH PART WAS FIGURING OUT WHAT TO DO ABOUT THAT. THEY REALIZED LAST TWO DECADES AT LEAST OUR RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA IN GENERAL BASED ON THE CONCEPT WE WOULD ENCOURAGE RUSSIA TO BECOME A NORMAL COUNTRY WITHIN EUROPEAN SECURITY ARCHITECTURE, EUROPEAN COMMUNITY AND THAT RUSSIA WOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO PLAY BY THE RULES [U.S. attitude is patronizing, disrespectful, and out of touch with reality] AND U.S. COULD TREAT THEM AS THEY TREAT ANY OTHER REGIONAL POWER AROUND THE WORLD. [not a world power, and not a power in balance with the United States]
AFTER THE SEIZURE OF CRIMEA AND WHEN CONFLICT ERUPTED IN EASTERN UKRAINE [surprise, surprise] IT BECOME CLEAR THAT SET OF ASSUMPTIONS WAS NO LONGER VALID.EVERYONE COULD SEE THAT SEA CHANGE. HARD PART BETWEEN PLAYERS TRYING TO FORMULATE IN THIS ACADEMIC ENVIRONMENT WHAT SHOULD U.S. POLICY BE, FIGURE OUT HOW TO COMPETE WITH RUSSIA.
IT’S VERY DIFFICULT TO JETTISON THOSE SET OF ASSUMPTIONS AND LONG RANGE POLICIES THE U.S. WORK WITH FOR MANY, MANY YEARS. WE CONSIDERED ALTERNATIVE FUTURES WITHIN THE WAR GAME. IT BECAME CLEAR FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL YEARS, THE U.S. WOULD HAVE TO BE — WOULD HAVE TO MANAGE STRATEGIC COMPETITION WITH RUSSIA RATHER THAN TREAT RUSSIA AS ANOTHER NORMAL
COUNTRY IN THE ENVIRONMENT.
There is much more.
- Karen Briggman Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army
- Joseph Hilbert Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army
- Gert-Jan Kooij Lieutenant Colonel, Royal Netherlands Army
- Andrew C. Kuchins Director, Center for Strategic and International Studies->Russia and Eurasia Program
- Christopher Lay Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force
- James McNaughton Carlisle Scholar, U.S. Army War College