Monday, 15 February 2016

The Merits of Having a Plan

The Syrian ceasefire agreement, currently being sort of-kind of hashed out, looks like it's going to last a grand total of, oh, fifteen seconds. I'm not really sure how anyone expected something different. The place is a mess of different groups battling it out and, apart from Assad's forces and perhaps Daesh, there's no clear chain of command among any of them. The 'moderates' are certainly not one homogeneous group, nor are they answering to the United States or Europe.

The accusations in all of this are flying thick and fast. Assad announces that he's going to retake the whole country; moments later the Saudi's pop up and announce that he most definitely is not and will in fact be being deposed in short order. Meanwhile the mass deaths on the ground carry on with no real end in sight.

So it goes.

About all one can say about this mess is that Russia looks increasingly like the 'winner'. As Septisticle has pointed out Blofeld Putin has 'outfought, outplayed and outmaneuvered' the West. It's largely true. So confident is Putin at this stage that he can quite casually blow up two MSF hospitals (in the game of 'anything you can do...' with America) safe in the knowledge that it will suffer virtually no reprisals from this. Michael Ignatieff can snarl all he wants about how we should be doing more, borderline risking another world war, but Putin has correctly deduced that the America administration has no appetite for this. They weren't much interested in the conflict to begin with and they aren't really interested in it now. They're doing enough to look interested but that's about it.

The important question to ask then is: how has Putin done this? It's very simple. He had a plan. A plan with some actual steps to achieving his objective. And it's pretty simple to understand. It goes: 1) shore up Assad's position, through using airstrikes. 2) Expand airstrikes, pretending to be focused on Daesh when really hitting any opposition forces, allowing Assad to expand outwards and begin retaking the country. 3) Continue this until Assad has secured the countries borders and reimposed his rule.

And that's it really. And it illustrates why our attempts have been such failures. We had no plan other than BIFO (Bomb In and Fuck Off), which was done for the noble intention of winning plaudits and stemming the tide of cockroaches swarms innocent refugees who need our assistance the jungle that's making its way here. We had no laid out objectives, no sense of strategy, other than just bombing things and hoping something good happened. Well it hasn't. Well done everyone. Now we're stuck in a sticky situation with no idea how to get out of it. This is why, of course, Britain is being somewhat quiet on the issue; the quick victory has failed to turn up so the government is now hoping that everyone forgets it ever happened.

What we should learn from this, of course, is that we should in advance decide what it is we want to achieve, then work out how we're going to achieve it and leave enough oversight for potential unexpected alterations and unknowable's.

I mean we won't learn any of this, but it's comforting to know that the lesson is there.

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