He was an idiot. As a result, we sucked. We scheduled a game with some prison school for homecoming, because that’s how unsure of victory we were. It was the worst. Much of our weakness as a team had to do with flawed planning and stupidity at the helm. I think there are very enlightened and educated people in our foreign policy apparatus, but there also may be motivated stupid people driving tired policies. That, or smart people are ultimately distracted by uncoordinated policy decisions.

This guy, my coach, didn’t even have a command of the English language. He managed to get a master’s degree from a less-than-esteemed university, though. Well, not unlike the PhDs and graduate degrees earned in the national security community. Are we retaining the intelligent and brilliant people? Many who come from Ivy League institutions very well may be highly intelligent. They’re also unlikely to attend Capella and earn an online PhD. We’re likely to lose these would-be smart intelligence officials. This could be both good and bad. But at the strategic-thought level, it’s probably bad.

Back to coach. During one game in particular, his game plan boiled down to one play, in two different directions. It was a halfback sweep to the right. When it didn’t work, he went left. Then, did the same again until the end of time. We’re doing the same thing with these proxy wars. Like his gameplay, there wasn’t a second- or third-order consideration. No greater strategy. The sweep worked in theory, looked good, felt fresh, so we ran it into the ground. That must have been both relaxing and entertaining for the opposing team. Imagine studying your opponent to discover a playbook that a parrot can memorize.

Imagine how our enemy views our tactics out there in the world. Look at our actions in Afghanistan. We’ve been there since the Russians fought the Mujahideen. We stay and we aren’t good at occupation. It’s difficult to occupy with a hug. It’s an incredibly difficult problem to solve with the military alone, especially with a rigged playbook.

Think tanks comprised of outside thinkers, people outside of the Pentagon, ought to be allowed to contribute. People who aren’t a part of a revolving-door system who indirectly benefit from a status quo deserve their day. After World War Two, outside forces began to influence military tactics and technology, and helped formed the elite fighting force that we have today. We need a renaissance, because the coming budget cuts and the mission abroad are at odds with one another.

Russia has announced it is reviving the KGB. (As though it hasn’t existed but under a different name.) That development is going to cause U.S. analysts to become distracted. The KGB might become a bogeyman. Problems can be explained and blamed upon the KGB. A newfound preoccupation with the KGB can cause us to ignore geopolitical and socioeconomic factors that influence human behavior.

Featured image courtesy of knoxnews.com.

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