The New Logic of Statecraft (Humor or Reality?): In quest for speed, Army to remove headlights from tanks, cars, trucks and other vehicles

According to anonymous sources, who insisted on not being identified out of fear of being ridiculed, the Observer has learned that the Army plans to remove headlights from tanks, cars, trucks and other vehicles.

The new measure will solve the Army’s speed problem. Political leaders have long complained bitterly that the Army’s vehicles traveled at far below their maximum speed at night. The Army’s somewhat lame explanation was that the drivers were under instructions “to not outrun their headlights”, in order to avoid accidents when they didn’t have sufficient time for braking.

The politicians exclaimed, in exhalted tones: “We don’t care about your technical problems. If you have a problem, just solve it, OK?”

The Army came up with the perfect solution: Remove the headlights. If they did that, the problem of outrunning the headlights would be solved.

They ran it by their political superiors, who were delighted at the easy solution to the problem, with the unexpected savings on the headlights that would no longer be required.

Later, at a “lessons learned” workshop among the top national security officials, the success of the Army’s approach was touted by top political officials, who decided they could use the same principle on a much larger scale.

Since diplomats often tied up decision making by conjuring up myriad problems further down the road, slowing up the deployment of troops and other military operations, this major problem in the execution of military actions could be solved in a simple but powerfully direct manner:

Remove the diplomats from the front of the military juggernaut, and the problem of unnecessary speed constraints would be resolved. As in the case of the Army headlights, removing the diplomats would result in a significant cost savings.

President Trump and his top officials all agreed. The State Department would adopt a new approach to its role in international affairs, with a proposed 37% cut in its budget.

See Colum Lynch, “White House Seeks to Cut Billions in Funding for United Nations;  U.S. retreat from U.N. could mark a ‘breakdown of the international humanitarian system as we know it.’”,, March 13, 2017.

A top international security analyst and official in the Trump administration, speaking off the record, expressed enthusiastic approval of the new approach, declaring “Once again, President Trump has proved that the world is not as complicated as it appeared to be, and that heretofore seemingly insurmountable problems can be quickly resolved by inspired and forceful action.”

The Trenchant Observer

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James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.