Reducing War

So first thing about reducing war is that we have to acknowledge that since WWII, the US has consistently been the most warlike nation on the planet, and it’s our own mess we’re trying to clean up. Further, dealing with the “war on terror”, we have never engaged with a terrorist enemy that was not trained and equipped by us.

So, Step 1: Stop training and arming terrorists.

The American Intelligence community has been getting far too much power and far too little respect, and needs to be restructured. This will involve substantial turnover at the top levels in the 17 (DNI, CIA, DIA, NSA, NGA, NRO, 25th Air Force, MI, MCIA, ONI, OICI, I&A, CGI, FBI, ONSI, INR, and TFI.) agencies, and raises, promotions, and vacations at the lower levels.

Step 2 is returning military prerogatives to Congress and removing them from the Executive.

We will create a legal requirement for military commanders to plan a maximum 30-day withdrawal before they deploy anything anywhere. Exec retains the right to order immediate military interventions, but if Congress doesn’t approve it within 30 days every commander has standing and irrevocable orders to execute that evacuation plan. Any military commander who deploys without having made such a plan gets cashiered instantly. And if 30 days pass and the commander has been unable to execute that plan, his service is required to court-martial him and Congress has the right to put him on trial. (Court martial does not require cashiering; other things it can do nclude imposing jail time and ordering demotions, that latter being the more common outcome. Ex-general-now-major whomever is likely to resign after such treatment anyway.)

The above will reduce direct American military intervention, which is good. It’s by no means all of the problem, however. We’re also far and away the world’s largestarms dealer. Reining in the contractors and manufacturers requires pruning their markets. This requires 3 tracks. The first is making the US military rein itself in, and give it tools to push back against unlawful orders.. Second is improving the military audit function. There’s an amazing amount of corruption in military procurement, and the Congressional Budget Office should be funded to do a full audit of the military, specifically including weapons grants and transfers to other countries. We need to end their tactic of over-ordering weapons to keep the budget up, and then giving ’em away so they can write off the costs as “foreign aid.”

Step 3 is cutting weapons exports, by us and everybody else.

We will put a very stringent sales tax on such exports, and mandate that all other countries do the same. (Very stringent: Spend a buck on weapons, pay 3 1/2 in taxes.) Weapons sales are highly publicized; if another country sells weapons and doesn’t so tax them, we impose a tariff surcharge on all goods from that country until we’ve collected their weapons tax for them. We then take out a small admin fee for ourselves (say, 10%), and find ways to send the rest back to the host country in a way that doesn’t directly enrich either the sitting government or the weapons manufacturers. Hand out coupons good as cash for the purchase of American agricultural goods, for example. Offer free scholarships to American colleges for students from the arming country. This returns money to Their People, while at the same time incentivizing their best people to come to us. (A lot of foreign students who study at American universities stay here.)

Two things Step 2 above brings up are cyberwarfare and political interference. We’re basically saying to the Russians “You were right to interfere in our election, but you did a horrible job of it.” We will set up a cyberwarfare department and transfer the various existing cyberwarfare efforts to that department, and adequately fund and equip it to carry out its duties.

If we’re sending economic aid to insurgent groups rather than military aid, and requiring them to become political rather than military opposition to their own governments, we are waging political warfare. Which I hold is preferable to shooting warfare, and which is what the Russians were doing to *us* in 2016.

If our hypothetical insurgents need military aid because their own government is shooting at them, our response to their government should be economic rather than military also. If there needs to be military intervention, run it through the UN.

While all these actions taken together would seriously reduce world armed conflict, this doesn’t yet address how to implement them. Devising such an implementations plan is part of the responsibilities of the project team.
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