Panayiotis Ifestos, POWER, AIR POWER, PURPOSES TO BE FULFILLED AND ALLIANCES. THE QUEST FOR NEW AIR POWER STRATEGY. HELLENIC AIR FORCE: 4THAIR POWER CONFERENCE, 11-12 FEBRUARY 2016

F-16 Blk-30Εισαγωγικό σημείωμα.

Το κείμενο που ακολουθεί γράφτηκε ως εισήγηση για ένα εξαιρετικό συνέδριο που διοργάνωσε το Γενικό Επιτελείο Αεροπορίας στις 11 και 12 Φεβρουαρίου 2016. Στο επόμενο πάνελ είχαμε ένα ρεσιτάλ εισηγήσεων από τον Διοικητή των Αεροπορικών δυνάμεων του ΝΑΤΟ, τον Αρχηγό της Βρετανικής Αεροπορίας και αντίστοιχα της Ιταλικής και Ισραηλινής. Tρεις σύντομες επισημάνσεις.

Πρώτον, οι ανώτατοι επιτελάρχες που μίλησαν είναι εντολοδόχοι των εξουσιών τους. Η αποστολή τους είναι να μεγιστοποιούν και βελτιστοποιούν την απόδοση των αμυντικών συστημάτων και να εκπληρώνουν το στρατηγικό δόγμα σύμφωνα με τις πολιτικές εντολές. Απαιτείται επομένως να γίνεται διάκριση μεταξύ εντολέα και εντολοδόχου και να εστιάσουμε την προσοχή στις δεξιότητές τους ως λειτουργοί των Ενόπλων Δυνάμεων κρατών και συμμαχιών. Το λέω αυτό καθότι στην Ελλάδα αυτές οι διακρίσεις δεν είναι αυτονόητες (ΕΘΝΙΚΗ ΣΤΡΑΤΗΓΙΚΗ ΚΑΙ ΟΙ ΠΑΘΟΛΟΓΙΕΣ ΚΡΑΤΩΝ ΠΟΥ ΠΛΗΤΤΟΝΤΑΙ ΑΠΟ ΕΜΦΥΛΙΑ ΣΥΝΔΡΟΜΑ. Με αφορμή τις συζητήσεις για τα Ίμια. http://wp.me/p3OlPy-1eG).

Πολλοί Έλληνες, πληγωμένοι από την δικτατορία, τείνουν να συγχύζουν το σώμα των κρατικών λειτουργών της Άμυνας με την επάρατη επταετία. Αυτό είναι ένα μεγάλο πραγματολογικό λάθοςnuclear και μια μεγάλη αδικία που αποδυναμώνει την σχέση κοινωνίας και του θεσμού που τους διασφαλίζει την Εθνική Ανεξαρτησία.

Όπως έχουμε συχνά γράψει, οι Ένοπλες Δυνάμεις ενός κράτους είναι ο θεσμός συλλογικής ελευθερίας της κοινωνίας (Ο ΡΟΛΟΣ ΤΩΝ ΕΝΟΠΛΩΝ ΔΥΝΑΜΕΩΝ ΣΤΟΝ ΣΥΓΧΡΟΝΟ ΚΟΣΜΟ ΚΑΙ ΟΙ ΔΙΕΘΝΕΙΣ ΣΠΟΥΔΕΣ http://wp.me/p3OlPy-E7).

Δεύτερον, οι εισηγήσεις των Αρχηγών των ισχυρότερων στρατών του κόσμου (οι δυνάμεις κρούσεις του ΝΑΤΟ ως Συμμαχίας σίγουρα είναι οι ισχυρότερες), κατέδειξαν πολλά πράγματα μεταξύ των οποίων και η αλματώδης σημασία της τεχνολογίας και οι επιπτώσεις για τον αμυντικό σχεδιασμό ενός σύγχρονου κράτους. Οι δεξιότητες των ανθρώπων και οι εξειδικεύσεις των λειτουργών των ΕΔ, βέβαια, ήταν και θα συνεχίσουν να είναι σημαντικές για το αξιόμαχο των Ενόπλων Δυνάμεων.

Τρίτον, νοιώθω πολύ ικανοποιημένος με τα σημεία της δικής μου εισήγησης 15 περίπου λεπτών. Αυτό γιατί μου δόθηκε η δυνατότητα συζητώντας με ανώτατους λειτουργών της Βρετανίας, του Ισραήλ, της Ιταλίας και του ΝΑΤΟ να αναπτύξω, έστω και με συντομία, κάποια κεντρικά σημεία –βλ. το αγγλικό κείμενο που ακολουθεί – τα οποία οι συνάδελφοί μου στην Δύση δεν συνηθίζουν να αγγίζουν (με την εξαίρεση των Θουκυδίδειων αναλυτών όπως οι Mearsheimer, Waltz et al).

Κυρίως να υπογραμμίσω την μετριαστική Θουκυδίδεια έννοια της ισορροπίας σε ένα διεθνές σύστημα το οποίο όσο εξελίσσεται σε πολυπολικό τόσο περισσότερο πολύπλοκο θα γίνεται και τόσο πιο πιθανές οι κλιμακώσεις των συγκρούσεων ακόμη και με κίνδυνο πυρηνικής σύγκρουσης.

25.htm4Επίσης, την σημασία του κράτους ως φορέα πολιτικού και στρατηγικού ορθολογισμού στον σύγχρονο κόσμο. Ιδιαίτερα στην συζήτηση που ακολούθησε τις εισηγήσεις, τόνισα με έμφαση ότι είναι πολιτικά και στρατηγικά ανορθολογικό να κατεδαφίζεις κράτη, να ανοίγεις του ασκούς του Αιόλου και να γεμίζεις τις περιφέρειες και ευρύτερα με ανορθολογικούς διεθνικούς δρώντες συμπεριλαμβανομένων τρομοκρατών.

Βέβαια, γνωρίζουμε πολύ καλά τι γίνεται: Οι πανίσχυροι στρατοί του αναδυόμενου πολυπολικού διεθνούς συστήματος όπως γινόταν σε όλες τις εποχές υπηρετούν εντολές οι οποίες είτε το αντιλαμβάνονται πλήρως οι πολιτικές τους ηγεσίες  είτε όχι , οδηγούν τα κράτη τους στην υπερεξάπλωση και στη μοιραία πτώση τους (Βλ. σχετικές αναλύσεις γύρω από την εμβληματική ανάλυση του John Mearsheimer «Η τραγωδία της Πολιτικής των Μεγάλων Δυνάμεων», για παράδειγμα, μια σύντομη παρέμβαση: Η σύρραξη στη Συρία και ο ανελέητος ηγεμονικός ανταγωνισμός ως καθοριστικός παράγων των περιφερειακών διενέξεων http://wp.me/p3OlPy-qo). Οι Επιτελείς όμως, επαναλαμβάνεται, δεν κρίνονται για τις αποφάσεις των εντολέων κυβερνήσεων αλλά για το κατά πόσο μεγιστοποιούν την ισχύ των κρατών τους οι κοινωνίες των οποίων δεσμεύουν σπάνιους πόρους για να είναι ανταγωνιστικά σε ένα εξ αντικειμένου ανελέητο διεθνές σύστημα. Η θέση που θεμελιώνει ο Mearsheimer, σημειώνω, ότι ένας κύριος παράγων που επηρεάζει την στρατηγική των μεγάλων δυνάμεων είναι ο φόβος ότι μια άλλη μεγάλη δύναμη θα καταστεί περιφερειακός ηγεμόνας και στην συνέχεια παγκόσμιος ηγεμόνας (εξ ου και το «τραγωδία» στον τίτλο του βιβλίου). Η υπερεξάπλωση είναι σε κάθε περίπτωση το δηλητήριο της ισχύος των μεγάλων δυνάμεων (βλ. το εμβληματικό βιβλίο του P. Kennedy, «Η άνοδος και η πτώση των Μεγάλων Δυνάμεων», μεταφρασμένο και στα Ελληνικά).

Αυτό που ενδιαφέρει άμεσα όλους, πάντως –καθότι η υπερεξάπλωση ως συνταγή πτώσης είναι πλέον επιστημονικά θεμελιωμένη–, είναι οι ζημιές που προκαλεί η ηγεμονική διαμάχη. Όπως συνηθίζουμε να λέμε στην στρατηγική θεωρία, «όταν οι ελέφαντες είτε παλεύουν είτε κάνουν έρωτα το γρασίδι υποφέρει».

Ελλάδα και Κύπρος απρόσεκτες, απαθείς και ουραγοί σέρνονται στις Συμπληγάδες των Μεγάλων Δυνάμεων ενώ αν η Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία καταλυθεί οι νεοέλληνες θα συνθλιβούν ιστορικά στις Συμπληγάδες των ηγεμονικών συγκρούσεων στην περιφέρειά μας με οτιδήποτε σημαίνει αυτό.
Το συνέδριο ήταν εξαιρετικά ενδιαφέρον και άρτια οργανωμένο, γεγονός που δείχνει ότι οι Ελληνικές ΕΔ παρά τα προβλήματα που προκαλεί η κρίση, «το παλεύουν». Βρίσκονται στις Θερμοπύλες και η συμπαράσταση της κοινωνίας είναι τόσο απαραίτητη όσο και ηθικά επιβεβλημένη. Υπερασπίζονται, επαναλαμβάνεται, την Εθνική Ανεξαρτησία, δηλαδή την Ελευθερία της κοινωνίας στο ανελέητα ανταγωνιστικό διεθνές σύστημα.

POWER, AIR POWER, PURPOSES TO BE FULFILLED AND ALLIANCES. THE QUEST FOR NEW AIR POWER STRATEGY. HELLENIC AIR FORCE: 4THAIR POWER CONFERENCE, 11-12 FEBRUARY 2016

Professor Panayiotis IFESTOS, International Relations – Strategic Studies. Piraeus University, Department of International and European Relations.

My intervention shall 39-ifestos-diplomatiahighlight some aspects of political strategy and connect classical tenets regarding war and strategy with power and the purposes of states or Alliances. At all levels we face dilemmas as regards morality politically defined and the military approaches that could fulfil national or alliance purposes.
What are the dialectics and basic equations of power, politics, morality and purposes?

In the first place, we could remember Clausewitz’s commonly accepted tenet, “war is the continuation of politics by other means”. That is, war in all its versions is guided and limited by the political purposes of civilized nations.

At issue therefore as regards war and strategy of states and Alliances is politics.

  • Who defines purposes and in what political instances?
  • Also, what is the underpinning political morality?

 At both levels, domestically or at the level of the international system POLITICS IS ALL ABOUT POWER and the hierarchy of the distributive functions of power.
In alliance politics or in the cases of collective security in the context of the UN, properly speaking, the purpose should be the maintenance of international order and the safeguard of international peace and security.

Article two, paragraph 7 of Chapter I of the UN is clear and straight: “Nothing contained in the present Chapter shall authorize the UN to intervene in matters which are essentially within domestic jurisdiction or any state or shall require states to submit such matters to settlement under the present Chapter”.

In Chapter VII, then, it goes on to refer to the role and functions of the Security Council of the UN if and when there are threats to peace and international security, if and when, of course, the permanent members of the SC agree to act collectively.

The UN and other related institutions play a coordinating role in the sense that the States involved in a conflict dispose a –by all means precious– framework in which they meet and debate. 

I stress tΘεωριαΠΟλέμοθhese subtle determinants in order to highlight the substantial differences among

  • Domestic politics which disposes societal foundations and distributive justice related to socially defined political criteria and international politics which given the absence of a world society and world politics at issue is, by definition, INTERNATIONAL ORDER.
  • Alliance politics define the common interest among the participating sovereign states. The common purpose is to fulfil common interests by combining capabilities, postures and actions and by following common strategies.
    • This is an extremely complicate and difficult exercise, given that the distributive functions of the use of force among states is by all means politically volatile.
  • International institutions function in accordance to their intrinsic statecentric logic which makes them dependent variables of state politics.
  • Stability after all is essentially a function of balance of power at the level of the regions and at the level of the planet.
    • Paradigmatic Thucydidean axioms on war, stability and instability determine fully the causes and the prerequisites.
      • Disequilibrium gives rise to revisionist claims and the conditions of equilibrium is most often the principle objective of states and alliances.

88149491-3b0c-4825-ba5a-f77e270e1ba7Let us focus our attention on power as the principle factor of international politics.

In a conflictual world military power proper is certainly of utmost importance for the fulfilment of states’ and Alliances’ interests.

What are these interests at the regional level? We couldn’t answer it in some words.

Nonetheless, a quarter of a century after the end of Cold War it is fully confirmed what many of us where supporting at the outset of the post-Cold War era:

By demolishing state structures of unstable regional states is politically and strategically irrational.

As things evolve our attention here, then, are power factors related to regional conflicts and the prerequisites of political and strategic rationality.

In a nuclear world of many big and nuclear powers strategic rationality at the regional level is as important as it is at the level of the planet.

The danger of escalation of a regional conflict to a global conflict is thus a major strategic issue.

Current regional conflicts such as in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq are telling:

euroatlanticThe military input of the strategic set up is the triangle 1) land forces, 2) air power, 3) naval power and supportive means and approaches such as information and communication.

Add to these factors logistics in the broader since, cyberwar and certainly bases and supply stations in adjacent friendly or allied states.

Airpower and naval power are important inputs in many respects and relate to threats and costs against adversaries as well as to the transport of troops and in ways that create appropriate prerequisites for effective operations.

Some additional factors make air power increasingly indispensable:

  • As the precision of strikes becomes more accurate owing to technologically advances in airplane technology and navy missiles, AN INTEGRATED FORCE AND COMMAND STRUCTURE IS INDISPENSABLE.
  • Air dominance over an enemy’s territory, cutting off its supply lines and transport of elite troops in special operations, provides space and facilitates other operations of land forces on the ground.
  • GENERAL AIR STAFF is also the main source of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). An effective combination of air, naval and land forces is a prerequisite of effective conquer and control of territory.
    1. In fact, integrating force transport, land, air and navy strikes, land force fighting, force advancement, consolidation of land control and fulfilment of military objectives behind the enemy lines are by all means a principal purpose for all modern armies.
    2. In a forum of high military officials I need not to stress what everyone knows, that is, the fact that land forces, naval forces and land forces are part of one and the same structure combining capabilities in order to fulfil common objectives.
    3. At issue is not the hierarchy of importance of the means available but their flexible and effective combination as a conflict evolves.
  • Naval and much more air power are also related to distance, a fact that necessitates effective combination of their operation with land forces that advance or fight to conquer and control territory.
    1. As already hinted, bases and supply stations near to potential targets are vital and lead to more effectiveness and less costs.

Waltz1bg The DEFINITION OF POWER in both national and alliance instances should distinguish between potential and actual power.

Material and other variables that determine real power are innumerable, their combination infinite and optimum capabilities an endless political, institutional and military exercise.

Actual military power relates, inter alia, to the size of the population, the economic infrastructure, the disposal or control of resources, geopolitical factors, technology, skills, planning, institutions and well organized structures which link efficiently the political and military leadership.

As already stressed, both a state’s and an Alliance’s actual power depends upon the effective combination of land power and naval and air power.

To be more precise and specific, as technology improves, these three principal elements of military power become more and more indistinguishable.

Certainly, in a world of territorial states and irrespective whether forces originate in land power, air power or naval power, a principle political and military objective is conquering land and controlling territory.

I refer to regional conflicts, because the equation changes if we refer to vast areas in conflicts among big or even continental states when objectively big battalions on the ground are indispensable for conquering, controlling and advancing.

Still, even then, as technology advances an integrated force structure, integrated planning and combined action is vital. For example, strategic air bombing capabilities, long range missile strikes and all the other air and naval means that are disposed by modern armies.

 Great powers are always determinant actors. Nonetheless, we could distinguish between two different cases. Direct great power confrontation and confrontation in regional conflicts.

Certainly, one should not sightsee the danger of indirect confrontation which may lead to a direct conflict between nuclear powers, something for which, however, great powers are cautious. As typical cases one could refer to the memorandum of understanding of 1972 between USA and USSR and the caution in Syria not to escalate into a strategic confrontation.

Among great powers –usually also nuclear powers– stability is related to balance and a distribution of power that do not lead to fear, to security dilemmas as regards survival and to direct military engagements.

In regional conflicts even if great powers are in antagonism their main concern is to prevent dominance by other great powers, to secure control of resources, to maintain favorable regional conditions and as just mentioned not to act in was which lead to a direct intercontinental war among great powers. By all means a fragile and dangerous rope-walking.

In regional conflicts of the four principal types of power – nuclear, sea power, airpower and land power– land power is both costly and indispensable.

Costly not only in material terms but also in political terms.

The case of Somalia in the early 1990s demonstrated that modern communications could multiply domestic political cost owing to casualties.

In the cases of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria we witness the fact that the anthropological complexity on the ground could prove costly and sometime prohibitive.

Projecting land power, conquering land and controlling territory, infrastructure and resources in conflictual regions is by all means a costly and dangerous balancing act.

This is an additional fact that create the need for effective integration of plans and decisions regarding the combination of land, air and naval power.

I go no further and I just stress what I supported earlier regarding the integrated character of land, air and naval force structure.

At any moment and each case the precise combination is the work of the Joint Staff which decides on the precise mixture of force structures in general and specific circumstances of the constantly fluctuating strategic set up at the level of the regions and the planet that constantly change the single most important factor, the distribution of power among the actors involved.

An appropriate observation as regards costs and benefits in conflicts of the modern times is the fact that, as it is apparent today, former western colonial powers executed military interventions in ways that unnecessarily accentuated well known divisions and animosities resulting to the collapse of many regional states.

ΑεροΕλλ1It also gave rise to many unexpected and politically irrational conflicts that change the map of the interstate structure as we knew it during the 20th century.

By all means and regarding all thinkable political purposes including state survival, it is questionable as to whether interstate chaos serves any purpose of any one state big or small.

The need to think and function in the Thucydidean logic of balance is urgent and demanding.

As it is again and again bitterly experienced, the regional political setting is crucial in both strategic and tactical terms and very much related to military plans and decisions.

Even if the forces on the ground is a decisive military instrument, friendly and stable states could provide conditions which make easier the combination of air, land and naval power and create the conditions of conflict  resolution in ways that establish rational interstate conditions.

An effective combination of the available means is crucially related to the political situation on the ground and the anthropological complexities which in the Middle East is a standard fact of life for centuries if not millennia.

A state or an alliance of states could not possibly achieve political purposes by creating an interstate and intrastate mess and then attempt to fulfill objectives by imposing cost through airstrikes alone or by fighting lengthy wars of attrition which experience shows that are rarely if never effective.

Strategic planning and implementation of strategic objectives necessitate political rationality and the framework that provides it is nothing else but the states and a functional balance of power among them.

ΑερΕλλzeus-2015-hafIn all conflicts all the parties involved logically would prefer to deal with actors which could function and behave on the basis of rational calculations of the cost and benefits of alternative acts and behaviors.

This is the reason that one could reasonably question the wisdom of the logic behind the scope and results of interventions during the last two decades.

The result was the proliferation of independent transnational actors, terrorists of all kinds included.

As we said the war is the continuation of politics by other means, that is, it belongs and obeys to the logic of state purposes.

The restoration of viable and stable states in many regions is to our opinion the most important political purpose.

Chaos is not a political option and a world, including the regional level, without states means chaos.

A world empire is absolutely impossible.

A world state is not feasible. Similarly a government of the governments is as remote as ever and multipolar world is already a fact.

At issue therefore is balance. During the difficult decades ahead, the precious and crucial phrase is: “balance and political and strategic rationality”.

 

Π. Ήφαιστος – P. Ifestos
www.ifestosedu.gr / www.ifestos.edu.grinfo@ifestosedu.gr

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Κατηγορίες:Διεθνής πολιτική, Δοκίμια, Εθνική Στρατηγική, Ελλάδα, Στρατηγική

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