Ich beschäftige mich gerade mit der Frage, warum arabische Armeen so ärmlich abgeschnitten haben in all den Nahostkriegen. Als Lesettip hierzu einen Rezension von Kenneth Pollacks Buch New History of Arab Armies von Dov S. Zakheim, under secretary of defense (2001–4) and a deputy under secretary of defense (1985–87). He is vice chairman of the Center for the National Interest.
Pollack bezweifelt, dass es das sowjetische Training, Doktrinen und Waffensysteme, die politische Indoktrination durch arabische Despoten, die witrschaftliche Unterentwicklung der arabischen Staatenetc. war, sondern führt dies recht monokausal auf die arabische Kultur zurück, die Einfluß auf die arabischen Armeen hätten. Don S. Zakheim wiederum bezweifelt diese automatische Kausalität. Also eine spannende Lektüre auch für Zivilisten, die ich nur weiterempfeheln kann.
Ein ehemaliger deutscher Botschafter in Afghanistan schrieb mir noch zu meiner Leseempfehlung über Kenneth Pollacks Buch über arabische Armeen:
“Dov Zakheim kenne ich aus gemeinsamen Washingtoner Zeiten und schätze ihn sehr, obwohl wir nicht immer einer Meinung sind.
Den Artikel werde ich mir in Ruhe anschauen und lesen. Das Thema ist wichtig. Ein alter Wehrmachtsoffizier, der in Griechenland 1941 arabische Freiwillige für den Einsatz im Irak ausbildete, sagte mir vor vielen Jahren: “Merken Sie sich eins: Die Araber sind 10 Minuten-Kämpfer!””
Was eher für die Kulturthese sprechen würde. Aber Vorsicht: Wehrmachtsoffziere hatten eine gewisse elitäre Herrenmenschsattitüde, die auf andere Kulturen als dem vom Hegelschen Weltgeist als Führervolk ausersehenen preußischen Militärstaat immer etwas rassistisch herunterblickte. Zumal zur Zeit des 3. Reichs noch keine arabischen Armeen existierten, sondern die Araber bestenfalls Hilfstruppen der jeweiligen Kolonialmacht oder anderer Mächte waren. Und wildgewordenene, kriegerische Wüstenstämme, die Laurence von Arabien augwiegelte waren ja auch bestenfalls Stammesmilizen und Plünderer. Aber vergessen wir nicht Muhammed, der ja auch ein Riesenreich begründete als Kriegsherr, zumal für einige Jahrhunderte und sicherlich kein 10-Minutenkämpfer war. Zumal finde ich, dass Dov Zakjeims Kritik an Kenneth Pollack, unter anderem, dass er für seine Kulturthese uralte Quellen verwendet wie auch andere Argumente durchaus einleuchtend. Velleicht sollte man das ganze auch nicht so monokausal sehen.Wir hatten ja auch schon Ricard Overys “Die Wurzeln des Sieges” und den Autor von Carnage and Culture Victor Davis Hanson , die ja von einer überlegenen westlichen demokratischen Kultur und daraus resultierenden Kampfeswillen und Kriegsführung ausging.
ie Grundsatzdiskussion über die Rolle des Kampfeswillen und der Technologie hatte ich auch schon mit dem chinesischen Militärstrategen Chen Guodong, der für einen Kurzstreckenraketenkrieg gegenüber Taiwan und dessen Rückholung ins Heimatlandes in 1 Jahr propagiert, unter anderem auch mit dem US Strategen TX Hammes, Vater der Offhore Controll, der das interessiert las, aber leider nur historische Kritik übte. China unter Mao hatte auch auf den Kampfeswillen der Massen “Hirse und Gewehr” gesetzt, während etwa Marschall Peng Dehuia während des Koreakrieges und der US-amerikanischen technlogischen Überlegung schon damals eine Modernisierung der chineischen Armee forderte.Chen Duodong ist das andere Extrem und glaubt nur noch in die Überlegenheit der Waffentechnologie. Volltext unter:
Debate: 空军制胜论2.0版 Short rocket war-can China recover Taiwan by force within 1 year?
China will recover Taiwan by force within one year
I think the fighting spirit is not important. Technology has replaced the spirit. As long as there is a technical plan to paralyze the other party, the other’s tenacious spirit will not help. Precision-guided weapons replaced the fighting between soldiers. If precision-guided weapons are long-range and difficult to intercept, the other peoples will lose confidence.
the fighting spirit might not that unimportant as you perceive it. As German we had the air campaigns of the USA and GB (Bomber Harris) which wanted to break the fighting will of the German people which it didn´t .It was the Sovjet offensive and the American and British „boots on the ground“which decided WW2, not the air campaigns and the bomber raids.However the difference might be that in Germany you had a lot of hinterland and evacuation zones on the countryside Taiwan as an tiny island hasn´t. Don´t forget the role of fighting spirit in guerilla wars – in the Chinese civil war and during the Japanese occupation, in the Vietnam war Mao´s Red Army and Ho Chinminh´s Vietcong had technological inferiority, but the will of its people to sacrifice and to fight. Even the USA with its superior technology today has big problems with the Taliban in Afghanistan. However, a war with Taiwan wouldn´t be a guerilla war–therefore this comparison is flawed. You are right that one should not overestimate the role of fighting spirit. Japanese military dictator Tojo also overestimated the role of the Bushido, the fighting spirit of the Germans and the Japaness which he thought would be decisive and could replace technology. Tojo visited Germany many times before the war and was impressed by the military culture the German state and its civil society had. Tojo also visited the USA before the war and his impression was, that this democracy was a hedonist, weak, fragmented society which could generate no real fighting will like the Germans and the Japanese which was an underestimation. However, WW2 was mostly won by the superior USamerican technology, but also by the fighting spirit of the Sovjet people and the American soldiers. And today´s industrial societies are more hedonistic, nihilistic and consumeristic than in the past–especially the younger generation. If the Taiwanese sunflower movement really cares about Taiwan democracy or more about the possession of a smartphone, future will show.
RalfDear Ralf, In 1942, Soviet troops had already failed on the battlefield. The huge amount of aid from the United States saved the Soviet Union. The United States, Britain, France, the Soviet Union, the four major powers unite against Germany. If one-on-one, they are not Germany’s opponents.The art of command of the German army and the tenacious spirit of the soldiers are very important. Germany’s weapons and equipment during the early days of the war were also very good, but the equipment was lagging behind. Best wishes Chen Guodong Dear Ralf, I agree with you that tenacious resistance will make any big country helpless. Therefore, while the mainland is unifying Taiwan, it must implement social reforms. Otherwise, it will lead to endless political protests. Best wishesChen Guodong
this sort of overestimation is mostly an indicator for „voluntarism“. Where is a will, there is a way. Hitler and Tojo were very voluntaristic, Tojo in the tradition of the Samurai´s Bushido, Hitler in his book „My Struggle(Mein Kampf) or when Leni Riefenstahl produced the film „Triumph of Will“for him. On the one side this leads to a massive mobilization of the masses and this sort of fighting spirit is not unimportant, however it also leads to a misperception of reality and the relation between will and technology. Comparable with Mao. His voluntarism was positive in his fight against Japan and the KMT, but afterwards voluntarism and his mass movements lead to voluntaristic experiments like The Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Mao thought that tiny backyard steel ovens and the will of the masses could replace technology and leapfrog the Chinese economy in front of the USA. As a Chinese you know how these voluntaristic experiments ended. Same with Hitler. He overestimated the role of the fighting spirit and at the end of the war he became totally insane and crazy, had illusion about the power relations and the avaiable technology and weapons, believed in wonder weapons and good fortune (Rossevelt´s death) that could change the desperate situation on the battlefield. Goebbel´s film „Kohlberg“ which praised the fighting spirit of the masses and the total people´s war, ignoring the role of technology and the military is an good indicator for that. As China is developing from a one-party-dictatorship to a one-man-dictatorship under Xi Jinping, there also might be the danger that Xi is surrounded by yes-sayers and opportunists that might bring him to misreceptions of reality and voluntarism. In Trump-USA we see the same phenomen.
RalfDear Ralf, I agree with all your analysis. The biggest enemy of Germany under Hitler’s rule and China under Mao’s rule was not the United States but the supreme leader and supreme dictator. The United States and Britain are democracies. During the Second World War, they did not make big mistakes in their strategic and operational command. Hitler lost a lot of opportunities. This was caused by his arbitrariness. My book belongs to the style of German Marshal Manstein. Marshal Manstein played the maximum potential under the existing conditions and worked out a successful battle plan, which other people thought was impossible. There is a military principle that technology determines tactics. Today, there is also a new principle in politics: Technology determines politics. In the new war mode, fighting power does not belong to the soldiers who are loyal to the leader, but to scientists and engineers. So, I am not very worried about Trump’s political strongman. Because technology is more powerful. However, who controls the technology? Best wishes Chen Guodong Dear Chen, „There is a military principle that technology determines tactics. Today, there is also a new principle in politics: Technology determines politics. In the new war mode, fighting power does not belong to the soldiers who are loyal to the leader, but to scientists and engineers. So, I am not very worried about Trump’s political strongman. Because technology is more powerful. However, who controls the technology?“
Maybe this is an overestimation of the role of technology on the contrary. Still, the decisions and strategies in a war are decided by the political leadership. The party controlls the guns and not the guns the party–old slogan of the CP China. However, if Artifical Intelligence and algorithms become more important, a lot of the decision making will be automised and not in the hand of generals and politicians. TX wrote an article about drones in which he sees the future: Masses of drones at sea, underwater, in the air and at land which replace F-15, battle groups, submarines,etc. If this would become the tendency, you cannot operate all these masses of drones by a manned central command, but only by computers ; AI and algorithms have to decide who got killed and what operations these drones will execute. But who deides and controlls the algorithms? However, I don´t think that the CP China will leave the decision to counter US military strikes with conventional and nuclear weapons or cyberweapons to AI and algorithms.
a lot of Manstein´s ideas originated from Charles De Gaulle who wrote a book during the First World War about tank warfare and decisive tankbattles by Blitzkrieg. Manstein read that book and transfered De Gaulle´s ideas in German warfare. While the German military discovered that these were brilliant ideas, De Gaulles didn´t find supporters in the French Army which relied on the old warfare and the Magioniotline–the central weakness Manstein and his tanks could exploit with his Blitzkrieg.What an irony of history.
Ralf Dear Ralf, Victory countries usually bear the burden of victory and reject new military ideas. This precisely provides other countries with room for development. Best wishes Chen Guodong