Might, Assymmetry and Today's World Order

There are many posts on this board stating that as the US is the world’s most powerful nation bar none, it should use its might to enforce its will.

There are similar posts stressing that Israel’s military might is such that it will always overwhelm Arab opposition.

These examples ignore the asymmetric effect of damage to the nation concerned:

In the case of the US, even if it unleashed its power against, say Iraq, and caused such damage that Iraq virtually ceased to exist, this would have less overall effect than, say, a small nuclear device exploded on board a ship in, say San Diego (driven or sailed over the border from Mexico). The loss to the Arab nations may amount to millions of dollars and possibly tens of thousands of people- result- Iraq remains impoverished and medieval. The loss to the US may be only a few thousand dead, but massive financial and military loss, and massive effect on the feeling of safety at home. Cost of the US action to the US- Billions of dollars, cost to Iraq of the nuclear device, hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In the case of Israel, she is able to use her over-weaning power to damage the Palestinian nation, but the loss of each single Israeli citizen has more negative effects on the Israeli body politic than tens or hundreds of Palestinian deaths.

Britain had the same problem with the Irish Republican Army- the target for Britain was small, and they were able to turn every negative event to their propaganda advantage. The target for the IRA was large and every loss impacted on the British body politic beyond real reason.

I am interested in how people who back Bush’s proposed use of force to overcome the ‘Axis of Evil’ and other world problems are able to square away these problems of Might and Asymmetry.

What asymmetry? I don’t see any asymmetry at all. It seems to be that you’re saying the life of a US citizen is hundreds of times more valuable than an Iraqi citizen, that the life of an Israeli is hundreds of times more valuable than a Palestinian.

I think I am going to get sick.

Ranger, what I think Pjen is reffering to is the cost to the country attacked. For example we have bombarded Afghanistan into the Stone Age, unfortunately Afghanistan only had a few cities with any major infrastructure at all. Yet it cost, maybe as much as $50,000 USD to bring the entire U.S. air transportation system to a halt, and our clean up costs, new security measures, et al, arre running us into the billions of dollars.

In effect we spent billions more to hit Afghanistan, and caused less damage to their country, than the terrorists did to our country for a mere $50k.

The other fact is that the US and Israelis place more value on the life of each individual, hence are less able to avoid casualties.
The OP is right in the strategic sense; unless we’re going to nuke every country with Mulsim Fundies, we’re going to have to make peace and live with them. And creating goodwill in the Arab world is the way to get there.

But tactically, you first have to take out people who are immediate, imminent threats.

A Marshall plan is in order.

But D-day comes first.

Since, we’re so badly out-numbered, the sooner we start killing them the better. :wink:

Seriously, an all-out war is terrible to contemplate. However, if the other side has no intention of making peace, then it would be suicidal to ignore reality. I wish that non-violence on the part of Israel would be reciprocated. Unfortuntately, the opposte has occurred during the last year or two.

replace “avoid” in my last post with “absorb”