Let’s Tie Dissimilar News Stories Together, with Machiavelli

niccolo_machiavelli_statue-2We’re going to travel to different continents, where things are happening that are, to put it delicately, not what American foreign policy imagined would be the outcome.

The US global foreign policy, which we describe, fairly, we think, as “timid inaction,” is turning out… somewhat differently from the Garden of Eden its sheltered academic authors imagined.

And then we’ll ask you, what would Old Nick (not that Old Nick, but rather, his namesake: Niccolo Macchiavelli) do?

Dateline South Sudan

Nobody shows appreciation like an African, and on Monday, the Army of South Sudan and its leader, President Salva Kiir, displayed their appreciation for the US and the UN having midwifed their whole freaking country against an Arab campaign of extermination. They did this by going on a rampage of assault, rape, murder and even more rape against foreign (particularly white) aid workers. (We said “rape” twice. Yeah, they like rape).  A taste:

The soldier pointed his AK-47 at the female aid worker and gave her a choice.

“Either you have sex with me, or we make every man here rape you and then we shoot you in the head,” she remembers him saying.

She didn’t really have a choice. By the end of the evening, she had been raped by 15 South Sudanese soldiers.

A lot of Western aid workers — the ones who aren’t just all ate up with pat-the-little-Africans-on-the-head condescension — take these trips looking for the Mandingo experience. Curiosity satiated now, young lady?

Peter Grant: African immigrant, former soldier, pastor, and novelist, takes a dim view of the common sense of such do-gooders.

People, if you visit a part of the world – not just Africa, but anywhere – where human life is cheap, where torture and rape are everyday occurrences, where tribal and/or religious and/or ethnic divisions are excuses for savagery and bestiality of the worst kind, then the odds are pretty good that you’re going to experience those realities for yourself.  The locals don’t care that you’re there to help them.  They don’t care about your high-minded ideals, or your purity of vision of the new Utopia you’re trying to build for them.  To them, you’re “other”.  You’re “not one of us”.  You’re “an outsider”.  When what sensibilities the locals have are swamped by drugs, or alcohol, or emotional frenzy . . . that means you’re going to be a target, whether you like it or not.

Indeed. While this could happen “anywhere,” the actual anywheres where it seems to happen tend historically to be in subsaharan Africa.

One South Sudanese who had sought sanctuary among the aid workers was found by the South Sudanese soldiers, who were all members of one tribe. The man, a member of another tribe, was beaten and then shot twice in the head.

Then they shot him four more times, just to be sure. This is, after all, Africa, and this is how Africans honor diversity.

But hey, the aid workers could rely on the UN, right? After all, their compound was just about adjacent to the compound of the fabled Blue Berets.  Back to ABC News:

the U.N. peacekeeping force stationed less than a mile away refused to respond to desperate calls for help. …

The accounts highlight, in raw detail, the failure of the U.N. peacekeeping force to uphold its core mandate of protecting civilians, notably those just a few minutes’ drive away. The Associated Press previously reported that U.N. peacekeepers in Juba did not stop the rapes of local women by soldiers outside the U.N.’s main camp last month.

Hey, it’s the UN. They expect medals and bonuses for not participating in the rapes, or even initiating them, which is usually what the UN peacekeepers doThey’re not there to keep the peace: they’re security theater, and as individuals, they’re there for the money — a good percentage of which used to be ours, chump American taxpayers, before our lords and betters in Washington thought it was likely to be better spent by the UN Rape Circus.

“All of us were contacting whoever we could contact. The U.N., the U.S. embassy, contacting the specific battalions in the U.N., contacting specific departments,” said the woman raped by 15 men.

A member of the U.N.’s Joint Operations Center in Juba first received word of the attack at 3:37 p.m., minutes after the breach of the compound, according to an internal timeline compiled by a member of the operations center and seen by AP.

Eight minutes later another message was sent to a different member of the operations center from a person inside Terrain saying that people were hiding there. At 4:22 p.m., that member received another message urging help.

Five minutes after that, the U.N. mission’s Department of Safety and Security and its military command wing were alerted. At 4:33 p.m., a Quick Reaction Force, meant to intervene in emergencies, was informed. One minute later, the timeline notes the last contact on Monday from someone trapped inside Terrain.

For the next hour and a half the timeline is blank. At 6:52, shortly before sunset, the timeline states that “DSS would not send a team.”

About 20 minutes later, a Quick Reaction Force of Ethiopians from the multinational U.N. mission was tasked to intervene, coordinating with South Sudan’s army chief of staff, Paul Malong, who was also sending soldiers.

Remember, it was Malong’s so-called “Army” that was doing this in the first place. What could he send another unit for? Sloppy seconds?

But the Ethiopian battalion stood down, according to the timeline. Malong’s troops eventually abandoned their intervention too because it took too long for the Quick Reaction Force to act.

The American who was released early in the assault and made it to the U.N. base said he also alerted U.N. staff. At around dusk, a U.N. worker he knew requested three different battalions to send a Quick Reaction Force.

“Everyone refused to go. Ethiopia, China, and Nepal. All refused to go,” he said.

And of course, the commanders of those soi-disant “peacekeepers” were relieved — oh, wait, we’re just kidding. Of course there were no consequences for mis-, mal- or non-feasance by the UN Peacekeepers. There are never any consequences for mis-, mal- or non-feasance by UN Peacekeepers.

Well, fortunately for the aid workers who were American, and who were singled out for that, the US Embassy and the State Department responded, right?

Sure they did. Just like they did in Benghazi.

The U.S. Embassy, which also received requests for help during the attack, “was not in a position to intervene,” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters Monday. She said the U.S. ambassador instead contacted local government officials, and she noted that the Terrain area was controlled by South Sudanese government forces at the time.

Yes, we suppose “supine” is “not in a position to intervene.”

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said that “during the fighting throughout the city, the U.S. Embassy in South Sudan responded to distress calls from the compound and urgently contacted South Sudanese government officials, who sent a response force to the site to stop the attack.”

But we know that the Embassy did not respond, except to have a tête-a-tête with the superiors of the very elements committing these outrages. And we know that nobody sent a response force. The attack stopped when South Sudan Army was all raped out. So Power is just lying, here.

Don’t be an innocent abroad.” That’s Peter Grant’s advice. It is the voice of experience, and wisdom.

The risks these aid workers face are not helped by the American policy of timid inaction.

Dateline, The Ruins of Syria

Here’s a snapshot:

It’s unclear which side is prevailing right now. All that’s clear is the destruction of Aleppo (quite possibly irreparable), the Assad-Hezbollah-Iran-Russia alliance on one side, and the prevalence of jihadists on the other.

What is President Obama’s response. The Washington Post (print edition) describes it as “Deplore. Wring hands. Repeat.”

Indeed, he has saddled our guys with restrictive ROE that give ISIL immunity if that have one civilian (fellow traveler, human shield, jihadi disguised as civilian, doesn’t matter) in their convoy.

This, the Post reminds us, is a far cry from Obama’s soaring rhetoric of 2012, in which he proclaimed that preventing mass atrocities “is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.” At that time, he promised to “increas[e] the pressure, with a diplomatic effort to further isolate Assad and his regime, so that those who stick with Assad know that they are making a losing bet.”

And what happens in a vacuum, class?

When Obama first rejected the idea [of a no-fly zone], Russian air power was not a factor in Syria. The Russians filled the void Obama left, just as ISIS did in Iraq.

This void-filling, and the terrorism and devastation it has produced, is the most important legacy of the Obama presidency on the world stage.

If the United States even has a policy in Syria, can anyone articulate it? Or is it just one more outpost on a front line of timid reaction everywhere?

Dateline, Greece, Turkey and the Eastern Med

The US is rumored to be withdrawing its nukes from Turkey in the light of Erdogan’s Islamist countercoup and seeming realignment with Iran and Russia.

Meanwhile, Greece is angling towards China, after finding that the EU was not going to keep the spendthrift state on the equivalent of welfare forever.

Constance Douris at the Lexington Institute notes:

Athens and Ankara may side with Beijing and Moscow when it comes to NATO security concerns involving China, North Korea and Russia….

Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu has already made some worrying remarks about Turkey’s NATO membership. Cavusoglu has publicly justified Turkey’s growing relationship with Russia by stating, “Turkey wanted to cooperate with NATO members up to this point. But the results we got did not satisfy us. Therefore, it is natural to look for other options.”

…and….

Athens and Ankara have looked to Beijing and Moscow to further their interests.

Funny how something always fills a leadership vacuum, in the light of a US policy of timid inaction.

Dateline, Eastern Ukraine

Multiple sources are reporting a major buildup of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border. These forces are ostensibly carrying out a massive exercise just on the Russian side of the disputed border.

They could as easily be used to launch an invasion, which may be their real purpose. Or, they could simply be meant to unsettle and intimidate the Ukrainians.

In fact, Russia has seldom had such a free hand in the Near Abroad as they have right now. The President’s focus is, as usual, on his golf game and on his next transformative speech, which is rumored to be partial unilateral nuclear disarment (no tests, no first use, no updating of the 1970s and 80s vintage systems).

If Putin doesn’t roll into Ukraine, he may miss his best opportunity.

He faces a US whose foreign policy is timid inaction.

What Would Old Nick Say

Does anyone remember his answer to the serious question: “Is it better for a prince to be loved, or to be feared?”

Welcome to a world where the prince has pursued being loved much like those aid workers have, which is to say, passionately and unwisely; and consequently is not the least bit feared by anyone.

nick loved and feared

 

What do you think the Father of Statecraft would have to say about a foreign policy of global timid inaction?

32 thoughts on “Let’s Tie Dissimilar News Stories Together, with Machiavelli

  1. LFMayor

    I remember reading things that nick said: that unpleasant things are best done all at once and that you should never wound, kill or wait to kill later.
    So Uncle Sam is going to need to wake up, hangover-mean, and deal with the domestic issues. Harsh and decisive.
    Then he’s going to have to do what internationally? Wait while they all blink and catch their breath? Wade right in?
    Isolation seemed to work pretty fine, we do have a awfully big moat. It’s the domestic cancer and the adversion to diagnosis, let alone treatment that is running out the clock.
    I’m way, way down the command structure boys. Until the floods lap at my toes, then I will have to act rash.

  2. Loren

    Perhaps President Trump could setup some sort of aid program whereby underwater college grads could have their loans forgiven by doing foreign aid work, administered locally of course, by the chattering class who would get tax incentives.
    I’m thinking a year in the third world would provide some enlightenment and renewed vigor to the survivors.
    President Clinton could of course just use them domestically in a couple of years and adm. the program through her foundation.

  3. Mike_C

    Lest anyone think Peter Grant is either a racist or condescending first world arm-chair commando based on the quotes above (unlikely among regular WM readers, but still), a couple of links to relevant posts on his own blog. Not that he needs me sticking in my oar, but I have a considerable fund of respect and admiration for the man….

    http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2008/12/night-christmas-became-real.html

    http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2008/07/its-been-melancholy-sort-of-day-for-me.html

  4. Docduracoat

    You make no mention of the only good guys in the entire Isis mess
    These are the Kurds. Both Syrian and Iraqi Kurds are squarely on our side.
    You may remember that during the entire 10 year American occupation of Iraq, not one American was killed in Kurdish zone
    When Isis attacked and the Iraqi army, built with 25 billion dollars over 12 years, collapsed and ran ( that is billion with a “B”)
    The Kurds stood and fought Isis to a standstill using Soviet era small arms
    The only U.S. heavy weapons the Kurds had came from battlefield capture from Isis or pickups of Iraqi army dropped weapons.
    The Syrian Kurds have used women front line soldiers for years to include all female tank crews.
    These have taken lots of casualties including the heroic sacrifice of the female sniper Rehanna who had at least 100 Isis kills before being captured and beheaded
    The Kurds share our ideas of freedom, democracy and human rights
    We are finally sending them some weapons and vehicles directly and not thru Baghdad where it is all stolen and given to Iranian militias
    Syrian Kurds just took Manbij from Isis and will likely connect their little cantons of Kobani and Afrin which, as a bonus, will irritate the Turks “our allies”
    With some Arab, Christian and Yazidi help and the U.S. air force they will likely march on the Isis capital of Raqqa
    We should give them a few artillery pieces and some prop driven ground attack planes and they will prevail without any U.S. soldiers help.

    1. Tierlieb

      I was kinda surprised to hear about this sniper. Since it was a potential travel stop at one time, I had been listening to stories from Kobane a lot and could not remember this. I think the most likely explanation about Rehana is the following: http://digg.com/2014/the-truth-behind-the-kurdish-female-soldier-fighting-isis

      Thing is, I am not so sure about the Kurds. “The enemy of my enemy is a potential ally for the time being” and all that. I wonder what the other commenters think about them, though. Too much communism there with the whole PKK thing or just the right people in the right place?

    2. morokko

      As sympathetic as they may look due to good recent publicity, Kurds are plagued by severe internal divisions – syrian PYD and turkish PKK on one side and iraqi kurdish Barzani government on the other side are mortal enemies, and there is a quite a number of kurdish fighters serving the Islamic State. Some are secular leftists , some moderate muslims and many among those from rural areas are very conservative sunnis. Iraqi Kurdistan upholds typical Middle Eastern standards, when it comes to political corruption, so I do not know what meaning democracy, human rights and whatnot really hold for them.
      Lets not kid ourselves – syrian and turkish Kurds will be sacrificed in a blink of an eye if circumstances (or some convoluted political plans) dictate so. USA and Russia treat them solely as a means of diversion and bargain card against Turkey and Iran, with the Assad regime they have uneasy truce and so called democratic syrian opposition (meaning some token frontmen for arabic jihadists) wont allow them to form any kind of state or autonomy in case of their victory over the Assad. Iraqi Kurds are strong as long as Arabs battle themselves – whichever side prevails, sunni jihadists or Iran-backed shias, they will be an enemy of nascent kurdish state.
      There is also prosaic question of supply routes and kurdish logistical capability to operate heavy equipment in prolonged war against many opponents, few dozens of “advisors” and trickle of ATGMs wont make much difference in the long run.

  5. S

    Nick would approve….a masterful strategy pursued over many generations, with wonderful subtlety and a kaleidoscope of tailored tactics; if Nick had been commenting from the HQ of the antagonist who is behind it all, he’d understand at last.

    Turkey suddenly aligned with Persia and Russia…..who’d have thought it, bitter historical enemies united despite even recent events to the contrary. Against whom? Notably missing from the Ezekiel 38/39 prophecy, or any other, is any mention of a western hemisphere power. Their target is Israel, a nation genetically, spiritually and lately (against all predictions and expectations), geographical again, and always apart. Remember, at The Flood, the nations were scattered according to the number of the sons of Israel, and Israel is the focus of history.

    USA, about to become Former, and Forgotten like many before, has played its part and must depart the stage, though it will be represented as a province even at the end, because it never was another new nation, merely a catchall cesspool from what came before. E Pluribus Unum? Nimrod would be physically ill….the dream shattered, rebuilt, only to be crushed again.

    The greatest allure of WM is not the weapons content, which is illuminating, instructive and inspiring, it is the window into the soul of a moral and very accomplished modern Renaissance Man, which I fear may yet be a lost soul even as he joins those renowned conquerors in the pit that rest upon their swords. He ploughs into the midst of shattering events but we never get to cause and desired result, though we cover a lot of means. Oh Kevin, what is it all for? If only there were a better forum to discuss these things, rather than this fleeting mist of the comments.

    1. John M.

      “If only there were a better forum to discuss these things, rather than this fleeting mist of the comments.”

      I’ve been noodling in recent weeks that a Weaponsman Book Club would be a very good thing. There are lots of possible formats.

      -John M.

  6. Tom Stone

    If you look into the Greek situation a bit more deeply you will see that the country was bankrupted through the corruption of those in charge. The “Leaders” of the country bought a shitload of arms they had no use for from France and Germany financed mostly by Deutsche Bank (Who were happy to loan money to the Greeks with an EU backstop, knowing it couldn’t be repaid), Huge effing bribes, and now a Country being looted by foreigners while ordinary citizens starve and often die due to the lack of necessary medicines. Spain and Portugal aren’t much better off, look at their unemployment rate, and Germany which kept its economy humming along by financing the crooked deals to these countries ( (HUGE bribes were involved) now blames the victims.
    As to the third world being savage…why yes, that’s why it’s called the third world.

  7. Aesop

    Two pertinent quotes:
    “What difference, at this point, does it make?”
    “Africa wins again.”

    One need only peruse the pinnacle monuments of civilization, both metaphorical and literal, on any continent to figure out where the world’s cultural under-achievers live, going back only as far as the dawn of recorded history (bonus points if one notes that the records themselves only exist in other civilizations and cultures, as the ability to develop a written language apparently only developed elsewhere as well).

    When our only Africa policy was to studiously ignore Africa, and avoid anything whatsoever to do with anything south of the Sahara in 99% of case other than bargaining for resource metals, we were much the better for wear, individually and nationally. Most of those countries’ inhabitants still have their hands full trying to grasp the concepts of fire and the wheel, and carrying people trapped in the 12th century is becoming wearisome to most of the rest of the world.

    It also does much to inform subsequent history to note that the sub-Saharan portion of continent in question provides the UN with some 40 voting members, despite providing nothing but embarrassment to the rest of the world when compared to the rest of the species, along with the bottom end bulk of world poverty, famine, illiteracy, and the rest of the plethora of gifts from Pandora’s legendary Box.

    But it would provide a splendid destination to exile the bulk of the yappy communist “Black Lives Matter” activists, as doing so would increase the mean IQ on both continents by a significant amount.

    Interfering there has been and always will be a Sisyphean task, and leads inexorably to an appreciation of the positive uses of genocide on a continental scale, or the favorable effects of pestilence on a biblical one.

    Much more so than Afghanistan, the subcontinent is the truest graveyard of empires. And the 2014 Ebola Follies should have been instructive to all and sundry. Best to sail around it, and avoid all further dealings with it – in either direction – for some number of centuries. It is a part of the world that is irredeemably broken, and likely to only get worse anytime in the foreseeable future. All of it anyone needs to visit can be had in 7 minutes on the Disney Jungle Cruise.

    1. John Smith

      I truly enjoyed reading that. I can’t agree with everything that you wrote- but you did write it very well.

      Best,
      JS

    2. John M.

      “the subcontinent is the truest graveyard of empires”

      (I assume you mean Sub-Saharan Africa rather than the subcontinent, which is Ind/Pak/Bangl. The rest of my comment will follow this assumption.)

      I don’t know: the Belgians ran Congo pretty well, after Leopold’s nonsense got shut down and the Belgian government took over. And whites in South Africa and Rhodesia did pretty well also.

      -John M.

  8. TF-BA

    So in the South Sudan situation what does Chief of Mission Hognose do? We can see what happens when you send someone named Molly to be CofM in a place like that, but what about you?

  9. John Smith

    Here is a good rule to live by:
    Never be in Africa without a rifle. This applies doubly if you find yourself below the great wastes of the Sahara.

    Vacuums and Machiavelli: I think that the absence of a monolithic super power in the international community is likened to the absence of a central bank (like them or not) in a contemporary economy. The complex and convuluted mechanations that have evolved since (essentially) 1919 but more correctly 1946- grind to painful and dangerous halt.

    Confusion among the first tier states becomes more and more pointed and non state actors (ISIS, etc.) appear in the corners that were formerly commanded by studious dread.

    I feel like our current President’s lack of grasp is far more dangerous than to be taken as a legacy problem. I believe he has set the small stones down the mountain towards the blanching avalanche or world conflict.

    Best,
    JS

    1. BillC

      I was there (Africa) contracting and immediately realized I’d be eff’d if the local bad guys of the week ever mounted a serious attack outside of their occasional rocket attack or failed VBIED. Luckily, there was a CONEX 50 yards away containing a pile of rifles form when the local army abandoned post years ago. Also a couple 1st world armies were nearby, and the 2nd world military contingent we were advising promised to let us use their toys if it ever got to play time. They knew they were sh!t at fighting (Hell, they didn’t even open fire from their guard posts when a suicide bomber was driving near-by in a VBIED), so they wouldn’t mind the help. Luckily, non of those plans needed to be used.

  10. ToastieTheCoastie

    I had heard about the attack on US aid workers in Sudan, but only because my daily circuit on teh interwebz is wide. Main stream media reports of this? Almost completely absent. It doesn’t fit The Narrative (TM).

    1. DaveP

      Actually, heard the story yesterday AM on NPR, which I suspect most folks would deem MSM and a fair number of other unflattering things to boot.
      Grim story. Unfortunately not surprising. I wrestle with the dichotomy of seeing these aid workers as extremely brave and extremely naïve or lacking in any evident SA at all.

      DaveP

      1. ToastieTheCoastie

        Right, but I;m saying that something like this should be front page news but it’s mostly been ignored. Granted there is a lot happening now.

  11. Haxo Angmark

    be patient, Hognose. the “forward” foreign policy you desire is coming soon to a world near you. Mrs. Clinton – with a cloud of neo-con warmongers in close orbit – will soon be Prez, and has repeatedly promised to enforce (on behalf of Isramerica’s Sunni terrorist allies) a NoFlyZone against the Russian AF in Syria. Putin, no doubt, will blink and slink away

  12. Keith

    I see the whole reported situation with the aid workers as what happens when the Progressive/Tranzi/Cosmo types are in control.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Depends on where in the Near Abroad you’re talking about. Invade Donbass and Crimea (Russian ethnic areas, and in Crimea’s case historically Russian pre-1954), and all you get is economic sanctions against Vladimir Vladimiovich’s mafia pals. Invade, say, Estonia, where Russians were always a foreign occupying force, and it just might be a shooting war. But I do think the talented Mr V.V. Putin is aware that he has a window to do this during this Presidency.

      On the other hand, I’ve seen with my own eyes the second-class treatment ethnic Russians get in the non-Russian former Soviet republics. It was treatment guaranteed to shame and anger any normal person (imagine having no prospect of any income for your family, except to let your daughters prostitute themselves. I spoke personally to men who faced this). So in most of the non-Russian former Soviet republics, the Russians are a ready-made fifth column with legitimate post-1992 grievances. Meanwhile, the dominant ethnics in the republics justified this on the grounds that the Russians had treated them shabbily for 70 years of Soviet occupation (longer, back to the Tsars, in some cases, and shorter, to 1945, in others).

      In a way, the USSR set this up (inadvertently) by marking everyone’s ethnicity on their documents. When a government does this it’s almost always a mistake, assuming your government aspires to the ideal of equal rights for all (which was certainly the claim of the USSR). Because people align in families, tribes and nations whether you encourage that or not.

      I bet today’s Russian document likewise marks whether one is a Russian, Belarusian, Jew, Gypsy… not because Russians are evil or anything but because bureaucracies often survive revolutions and that’s what the old bureaucracy did. Look at all the functionaries in the early USSR who had been Tsarist officers… even the gun designers and ordnance officers, like Federov, Simonov, Tokarev, etc. Sure they all took the oath of the USSR but they had held the Tsar’s commission before.

      1. Kirk

        Given what the Russians have done to the various regions they now find themselves minorities in… I find it rather hard to develop any sympathy for their plight, whatsoever. Ethnic Russians seem to think they had and continue to have the right to perpetuate things like the Holodomor and a thousand lesser crimes against the locals, and then have the temerity to whine like little bitches, when the historical shoe goes back on the other foot. Injustice, my ass–How about all the people shipped off to die in the Siberian and Ural gulags? The only thing the various Balts are asking is that the former Russian colonialists at least try to integrate and show loyalty to the nation they now find themselves in–Which is quite a different way to handle things than the Russian-dominated Soviet Union did. Historically speaking, the Russian ethnic problem should probably have been solved in a similar manner to how the ethnic German one was, at the end of WWII. It would only have been fair, following the logic of the Soviet Union.

        Russian persecution complexes don’t allow for “fair” , though–For any value of that word. Between them and the Islamic irredentists of the world, I rather doubt we will ever see peace on a border with their nations. The mentality they share makes it very easy to understand why they are such natural allies.

  13. bloke_from_ohio

    It has been a few years since I read Machiavelli. But, relying on UN peace keepers to keep you safe in Africa today is just as foolish as hiring foreign pike men to defend your city state was in 16th century Italy. In The Prince, mercenaries are called out as unreliable at best. The UN peace keepers might not technically be considered mercenaries (linguistic judo being what it is in international politics). But, they do share some features with the companies of Men-at-Arms for hire the author was warning his benefactor about. As was demonstrated, the “peace keepers” have no incentive to intervene so they don’t. Ultimately it is up to the Prince of a state and the subjects/citizens therein to ensure the safety of the state.

    Hognose espouses an even more succinct version of this principal “The only defense is self defense.” It applies to individuals as much as it does to states and everything in between.

    This idea also underpins John Smith’s rule about having a riffle in Africa. Although I imagine that having multiple buddies with their riffles is more appropriate in sub-Saharan Africa.

    1. W. Fleetwood

      We might want to keep in mind that good old Machi got to put his theory about mercenaries to the test in Real Life (TM) as opposed to his admittedly clever wordsmithing. He formed a militia in Florence and showed all those evil mercenaries the door. He and his militia won a defensive victory against a smaller city. (Pisa, as I recall.) and declared themselves wonderful.

      Then the Medici showed up with some serious Condottieri, who proceeded to shatter the fine upstanding patriots of Florence like cheap pottery. That was the end of the Florentine Republic and Machis military career. He went into exile and spent the rest of his life explaining in great detail why it was all somebody elses fault.

      There might be a lesson there somewhere.

      Wafa Wafa, Wasara Wasara.

      1. atp

        Make sure you hire some of those hard-core contractors as trainers and cadre for your militia, and as advisors to your general staff, and consider bribing the others not to fight for your enemies?

  14. BillC

    I briefly did some contracting in the Maghreb of Africa for the UN. What. A. Shit-show.
    Any respect I had for the UN was completely lost. I have never seen so much incompetence, lack of capability, and apathy.

    The regional African troops were literally savages. Any pros in the group were in the onsees and twosees of each country’s contingent. It was a giant-circle jerk of the blame-game. All 2nd and 3rd world supporting troops, regional or otherwise, were just there so the member nations could collect the UN pay for the deployment. NO ONE had any incentive or will to go on missions. The French UN civilians were insufferable and had a severe case of the Napoleon Complex.

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