Obama’s Strategic Shift: Is Storytelling the Secret Weapon of the 2012 Race?

Obama’s Strategic shift did not just occur in the South China Sea, it also has apparently begun in his attack to keep his job.

.” But it got really interesting when the conversation turned to what the president considers the biggest mistake of his first term. It was, he said, “thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right.”

If you replace the word “policy” with process, then what this statement is saying is: “I have gone strategic.”

Policy builds and maintains the process inside a OODA loop. Strategy creates a moment of inertia to by-pass the policy.

Strategy is, as diagrammed, by the way of the Double Freytag Triangle, in the book Tempo, by Venkatesh Rao, narrative decision-making.

 “The nature of this office,” he said, “is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”

Obama has “found” strategy and he is using it to continue the narrative (“story”-telling) that is the USA.

I wish him luck on this, because all strategy is flawed, and the worst environment to try and maintain strategy is one in which everyone puts the “bad breath” on you and your narrative. Ill-will puts the focus on your flaws, which is a distraction that keeps your “story” from becoming transparent.

The good news is: it does’t take much to hide/expose the narrative, because of the nature of complexity.

The environment that strategy runs in is so complex, in its policy, that the “tipping point” between a successful and failed strategy is very close in either direction. Policy is created to make sure the process is both accurate and precise, it is both of these (accuracy and precision) that “target” the “tipping point”, in any process.

In other words, strategy has just as much chance of success as failure despite the complexity, but it demands that you get the “story” out, which is an uncertain process.

The only thing that is certain, when using strategy instead of process, all strategy is flawed, in at least one point in the narrative. As Venkatesh Rao shows in the Double Freytag Triangle, all strategy starts out as a “Cheap Trick”, but, before the story ends, it changes into a more powerful form of the “Cheap Trick”. If it doesn’t change, then the “flaw” absorbs the strategy into the “story”, and the narrative continues, or not.

I think it is getting close to the time when we will be able to tell if Obama has found that flaw and is able to take advantage of the situation. Perhaps the “Cheap Trick” can be found inside the Constitution, and the story will move on to another “peak”.

As this article leads me to believe that Obama has bet his presidency on strategy, one has to admit that it took some guts and a whole lot of faith, in the process, which he built his strategy on, to change.

via Arianna Huffington: Is Storytelling the Secret Weapon of the 2012 Race?.

The Romney-Cheney Doctrine

Out of Romney’s 24 special advisors on foreign policy, 17 served in the Bush-Cheney administration. If Romney were to win, it’s likely that many of these people would serve in his administration in some capacity — a frightening prospect given the legacy of this particular group. The last time they were in government, it was disastrous.

via The Romney-Cheney Doctrine – By Representative Adam Smith | Foreign Policy.

Maybe disastrous, but at least they didn’t put 30 million children on heath insurance.

The generational shift emerging in Chinese society

You know the old bit (repeated by me) where Chinese activists said, “Before Tiananmen, we thought freedom was 90% political and 10% economic.  After Tiananmen, we decided that freedom was 90% economic and 10% political.”

via Thomas P.M. Barnett’s Globlogization – Blog – The generational shift emerging in Chinese society.

I have said in the past that I thought all war was about economic considerations, fought by people with little economic considerations. The Doctor makes this more clear.

I think the ratios are about right. 90% economic–10% political. It is the political people who are without economic considerations.

Because politicians are supported by economic consideration, they don’t have to think about economic considerations.

The problem with Barnett’s analyses: the 10% really matter, 90% of the time, when it comes down to war. In China the 10% have an army to control the 90%. This control is mostly over feet, not minds.

If you have control over a persons feet–you don’t need control over the mind, so much.

In analyses, the better question might asked: where are those feet going, as we know who controls them?

What is the Littoral Combat Ship in your words, and what should LCS be looking to the future?

The Littoral Combat Ship is, in a word, a challenge. A challenge to understand, a challenge to develop, a challenge to build. The program is a challenge to manage, to defend, to get to sea. To train for and crew, to support, to maintain. To develop mission modules for, to perfect and operate dozens of new technologies in those modules, to control those technologies in an operational environment. A challenge to develop a concept of operations for, to convey to the fleet what it should be used for, to keep from being misused.

via Information Dissemination: What is the Littoral Combat Ship in your words, and what should LCS be looking to the future?.

After listening to the strategy of Afghanistan unfold a few years ago, with terms like COIN, inkspots, and ratios (like 1 solder for every 50 civilians) it’s not hard to get a handle on the strategy of the LCS.

The LCS are the inkspots, and the strategy is one of  connecting those ink-spot through collaboration and maneuver,  in an ocean that is getting smaller due to globalization.

The ships were designed with a main battery unlike anything ever carried by a combatant ship: empty space. Big, empty mission bays ready to accept large containers of equipment and systems, along with flight decks much larger in proportion to other surface fighting ships.

The thing is, these ships (LCS), like the F35s are designed to fight networks through collaboration and manuverbility, not through force. In a network war, the one who has the most collaboration and is able to maneuver the force  to its greatest advantage, without actually making the force go kinetic “wins”. Kinetic energy mostly destroys networks, and the battle of networks is one of connections, not disconnections.

What really needs to happen, is for a discussion to take place about who the enemy is.  I believe war is about economic considerations, and fought by people with little economic considerations. In the case of economic consideration then, China is the enemy. China has taken the position, once occupied by Japan, as the second greatest economy in the world, with the USA as number one.

The difference between the USA and China then is that the USA is the wealthiest, while China is the country of greatest growth. In physics, the USA would have the greatest potential energy, while China would have the greatest kinetic energy. When it comes to force, potential energy has it over kinetic, but when you add all the potential and kinetic energy in a system together, it adds up to zero. So while the USA has more force, China has more velocity (moves in more areas), but together they cancel each other out. And that is what would happen in a real war.

China, in the South China Sea, Africa, and South America, has taken-up a strategy that I call build, replace, and hold, as it moves through-out the world. It has been a winning strategy that continues its growth, even as China experiences a recession, much like the rest of the world.

China builds the infrastructure resource-rich nations need, replaces  the way needed to extract those resources with her own ways, then holds the resources as her own, to do with as she wishes.  China’s way that it moves its kinetic energy is quick and dirty, and the way it is able to  hold the connections it makes together is by throwing dollars at it.

The LCS was created to “work” those connections. The ” Big, empty mission bays ready to accept large containers of equipment and systems,” won’t be accepting US modules (unless those in the USA who fight wars for little economic consideration step-in) but from other countries.

The reason the modules will not be US, as China continues to buy the US government debt and hold resources, it will want to replace ships in the US fleet with its own,  such as the carriers and submarines she just built, and would expect  them to replace US carriers and submarines eventually, considering.

like the F35, the LCS where built in opposition to those considerations.