Let’s renounce the dictum that “war is thus an act of force to compel the enemy to do our will.” Instead, let’s focus on understanding wars as involving fighting others to achieve tacitly or formally agreed political outcomes. War is not, in the end, about compulsion, it is all about bargaining violently.
Policymakers and diplomats view ceasefires as a positive step toward peace because they present the conditions under which trust can be engendered between opposing sides in the Syrian civil war. Some academics have even found statistical evidence supporting this claim. But of the 44 ceasefires agreed to throughout Syria since 2012, only five preceded rebels surrendering, and only seven ceasefires in Syria have endured to the present. The remaining 32 ceasefires have failed. A survey of the failed ceasefires provides three logical pathways from ceasefires to offensives: leverage, buying time, and collapse of cooperation.
My War Gone By, I Miss It So is a story about Loyd’s struggle of emotional turmoil and his abuse of alcohol and heroin becoming the solution. It identifies with a generation that has experienced the horrors of war while figuring out their place when they return to their old world and coping with the enduring memories. His candid struggles with drug addiction offer the perfect companion to Loyd’s struggle with his addiction to war. The deep, personal struggles when home, and how alcohol soon moved to heroin as the coping mechanism to process his emotions, allow the reader to feel the internal struggles and conflict. This emotional conflict is not unique to Loyd. His ability to be so candid, and describe his journey with such clarity, pulls the reader into a shadowy world many are unfamiliar with and lack the ability to comprehend. Beyond the field of war, the book will additionally relate to readers who struggle with substance abuse as a coping mechanism for their respective problems.
Scarcity should both interest and scare strategists and policy makers. It refers to a mismatch between the demand for and availability of a commodity. It helps drive free markets, and informs value. But strategists and policy makers should contemplate it because scarcity, both real and perceived, drives much of human conflict, and it has reared its head again, this time in Yemen.
If conventional war was suspect prior to the GWOT, the possible outcome of the Crimea conflict could almost cement the impossibility of such a war occurring again in the future. It may sound sick when I say that this current dynamic is actually a healthy exercise, as it should provide our government with a wake-up call concerning what a possible conventional war could look like.