Monday, June 16, 2008

HIstory Repeats Itself

I'm reading a book about the Franco-Austrian War of 1809 as part of the Napoleonic Era kick I'm on right now. I have been reading about the run up to the war, and it all sounds eerily like the Bush regime's approach to its current land wars in Asia. The Austrian foreign minister Stadion seems to have been just like his neocon counterparts in the Bush regime. He pushed for preemptive war against France despite the risks that this entailed, despite the improbability of achieving any sustainable advantage, despite the lack of allies, despite the enormous costs, despite yada yadda yadda. The Austrian war party exaggerated any intelligence that supported their position and ignored any that didn't. They imagined that alliances which they could not secure diplomatically would emerge magically once the fist glorious victories were won in the field. They imagined that the German people would rise up and throw off the yoke of French rule in favor of Hapsburg rule. They weren't going to let reality interfere with their plans.

To make matters even worse, once the case for war was made and accepted, there was simply no plan for what the end state of the war ought to be. Accordingly, there was little basis for planning military operations other than to let the enemy dictate events.

The rest is history. Things went badly for Austria. The neocon cabal that ran US foreign policy and came up with the current land wars in Asia apparently was unfamiliar with this history or the history of other ill conceived adventures. They ginned up a case for war, ignored reality, and didn't bother to specify a desired end state that could be achieved by military means. This leads me to three plausible explanations:

1. They were dumbasses.

2. They pursued war despite the negative impact on national security because they sought certain political benefits that came with being on a war footing.

3. Both 1 and 2.

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