The US strategy of failure, the boomerang strategy of the foot shot.

Frans Vandenbosch 方腾波 07.03.2023

A comparison of the American and Chinese strategic approach of international conflicts.

Strategy has been a subject of study and practice for centuries, and its importance has only grown as organizations and nations have become more complex; the stakes of competition have risen. While many definitions of strategy exist, a common thread is that it involves making deliberate choices about how to allocate resources in order to achieve goals. In this sense, strategy can be thought of as a type of problem solving, where the challenge is to find the best way to achieve a desired outcome given a set of constraints.

One of the key features of strategy is that it often involves making trade-offs. For example, a government might have to choose between spending on defence or on social programs. Making these trade-offs requires a deep understanding of the relationships between different variables, and this is where the idea that “strategy is mathematics” comes in. By using mathematical models and techniques, strategists can make more informed decisions by simulating different scenarios and quantifying the expected outcomes.

The history of strategy dates back to ancient civilizations, where military leaders used various tactics to gain an advantage over their opponents in battles. One of the earliest known strategic thinkers was the Chinese military general and philosopher, Sun Tzu, who wrote “The Art of War” around 500 BC. This treatise has since become a classic on strategy and is still studied today. Throughout history, strategic thinking has been applied to various fields, including politics, economics, and business. In the modern era, strategic management has become a formalized discipline, with frameworks and models developed to guide organizations in achieving their goals and objectives. Today, strategy remains a vital tool for success in various domains, from military conflicts to the corporate boardroom.

Political strategy involves the development and implementation of plans and tactics aimed at achieving political goals and objectives. It involves making decisions about how to allocate resources, build coalitions, and manage relationships in order to achieve a desired outcome. Just as in business strategy, political strategy requires a deep understanding of the relationships between different variables in order to make informed decisions.

The idea that “political strategy is mathematics” refers to the use of mathematical models and techniques to analyse and inform strategic decision making. By using mathematical tools, political strategists can simulate different scenarios and quantify the expected outcomes, allowing them to make more informed decisions about how to allocate resources and pursue their goals. This approach can provide a level of rigor and objectivity that is difficult to achieve through more traditional methods of political analysis.


Those who have managed projects in the automotive or aviation manufacturing industry know very well what’s a FMEA (Failure mode and effects analysis). They can skip this paragraph. An FMEA is one of the first highly structured, systematic techniques for failure analysis.  It is an inductive (forward logic) reasoning single point of failure analysis and is a core task in reliability engineering, safety engineering and quality engineering. Every single component designed and manufactured in the automotive or aviation industry has to go through a strict, time consuming process of FMEA issuing, including the subsequent prototyping, testing, re-analysis, re-design and manufacturing. Usually the FMEA is drafted by a team of 4 to 5 of the most experienced engineers of a company. Basically, it is an Excel sheet with many tab sheets, asking consecutive questions as: is this component reliable in a specific circumstance ?  What if the user/consumer misuse the component in this or that way ?  What if the consumer doesn’t properly know how to use this product ? And so on …   The answers to these (hundreds of) questions result in figures, allowing or prohibiting the company to start the serial production of a component.
The FMEA is a key component in quality process. OEM’s like Mercedes Benz, BMW, VW, … are painstakingly checking the FMEA during the VDA 6.1 audit because too many of their subcontractors are issuing a “copy and paste FMEA”, neglecting real issues with a component. Recall actions in the automotive industry are almost always caused by a sloppy or carelessly drafted FMEA.


For China’s first generation of communist leaders, revolution meant baptism by smoke and gunpowder. Their path to political power snaked through battlefields and prison cells littered with the bodies of dead comrades. Only narrowly did their party escape total annihilation. That was the China of a long time ago. Today, Chinese STEM specialists are highly educated and have a broad view on geopolitics. Drafting a proper political or military strategy is not so different from issuing a FMEA. It is based on common and specialised knowledge, thousands of research reports, experience and testing. It is a balanced mix of experience, knowhow and mathematics.

China has plenty of experience with the CIA and NED, organising colour revolutions within China and its neighbouring countries. The Tiananmen uprising in 1989, the Hong Kong protests in 2020, the Covid demonstrations in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu in 2022, …  They all failed. China’s CPC has now issued an instruction manual to prevent USA organised colour revolutions.[1] China is ready, has a script ready for the next attempt. China is also providing its neighbour countries with fast 24/24 assistance in case of an occurring colour revolution.

On 01.12.2018, in the midst of the USA – China trade war, I visited a friend at the MOFCOM, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce in Beijing. I had the honour to see a tiny part of the Chinese strategic plan for the trade negotiations with the USA.  I was amazed at the level of detail; and it struck me that the structure of China’s strategic plan was very similar to an FMEA. They worked on it, with almost 3000 experts and started the plan years before there was even a glimpse of a Trade War. At the MOFCOM, they assured me: “We have a solid strategy, we travel in a sofa to the negotiations”.

The Chinese motto is: 坚持把政治安全放在首要位置  Persevere in Placing Political Security in the Predominant Position.  The Chinese people first. Economy and politics are secondary to the well-being of the Chinese people.

The American strategic choices

The US political strategy is a disastrous failure, the US approach to foreign policy has been criticized for a number of reasons. This so-called strategy involves using plain military force to achieve political goals, it has been criticized for its high costs in terms of human lives and resources, for its negative impact on global opinion of the US, and its tendency to achieve the opposite of what was intended. In many cases, the use of force has led to unintended consequences that actually make the situation worse, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as “blowback.”
The US boomerang strategy of the foot shot often ends up causing more harm than good. This is because the use of force can generate a strong reaction from the target, leading to unintended consequences that are difficult to control. In the realm of political strategy, this can take the form of increased resistance, the creation of new enemies, or the erosion of international support for one’s position.  
The Pentagon and CIA apparently don’t realise the shortcomings of the use of AI in strategic decisions. They’re bumping into the limits of artificial intelligence in informing and executing strategic decisions. Despite its many advantages, AI still has limitations in terms of its ability to understand and account for complex relationships, as well as its ability to make ethical and moral judgments. As a result, it is important for political strategists to consider both the benefits and limitations of AI when making strategic decisions, and to use it in conjunction with other methods of analysis and decision making.

National Security, the American way [2]

It is remarkable how the definition of “National Security” has evolved in the United States: 
The concept of national security remains ambiguous, having evolved from simpler definitions which emphasised freedom from military threat and from political coercion. Among the many definitions proposed to date are the following, which show how the concept has evolved to encompass non-military concerns:

• “A nation has security when it does not have to sacrifice its legitimate interests to avoid war, and is able, if challenged, to maintain them by war.” (Walter Lippmann, 1943).
• “The distinctive meaning of national security means freedom from foreign dictation.” (Harold Lasswell, 1950) 
• “National security objectively means the absence of threats to acquired values and subjectively, the absence of fear that such values will be attacked.” (Arnold Wolfers, 1960)  
• “National security then is the ability to preserve the nation’s physical integrity and territory; to maintain its economic relations with the rest of the world on reasonable terms; to preserve its nature, institution, and governance from disruption from outside; and to control its borders.” (Harold Brown, U.S. Secretary of Defence, 1977–1981)
• “National security… is best described as a capacity to control those domestic and foreign conditions that the public opinion of a given community believes necessary to enjoy its own self-determination or autonomy, prosperity, and wellbeing.” (Charles Maier, 1990)
• “National security is an appropriate and aggressive blend of political resilience and maturity, human resources, economic structure and capacity, technological competence, industrial base and availability of natural resources and finally the military might.” (National Defence College of India, 1996)  
• “[National security is the] measurable state of the capability of a nation to overcome the multi-dimensional threats to the apparent well-being of its people and its survival as a nation-state at any given time, by balancing all instruments of state policy through governance… and is extendable to global security by variables external to it.” (Prabhakaran Paleri, 2008)
• “[National and international security] may be understood as shared freedom from fear and want, and the freedom to live in dignity. It implies social and ecological health rather than the absence of risk… [and is] a common right.” (Ammerdown Group, 2016)   

Apparently, the concept of “National Security” has been stretched from “avoid war” in 1943 to “social health” today.

The new American tactic is panic. The remarkably poor strategic decisions in the USA.

Ever since the Military coup in November 1963 (President Kennedy Assassination) the United States became a military empire. It is run by wealthy oligarchs associated with the military-industrial complex. By the very nature of this situation, the United States serves the interests of the hidden cabal, it ignores the needs of the citizenry. And it shows.

The panic tactic was quite visible in the CIA job announcements for a new team to counter the degradation of the USD dominance in 2021. This clearly was not a sound strategy.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast. A strategy that is based solely on one’s own insights, not benchmarked and does not take cultural differences into account is doomed to fail.

The copy/paste strategy

A solid strategy is never a copy/paste story. Ukraine is not Vietnam, Iraq is not Korea, Afghanistan is not Serbia. At the end they all failed. In the same way as a FMEA, a well-functioning strategy for a new situation must always be built from scratch.
For every plan and every strategy, there’s a window of opportunity. Part of the strategic plan is to focus on that window of opportunity. Only with a long-term strategy plan that allows the use of the exact time, the window of opportunity can be used in an effective way. An ad hoc strategy is mostly ineffective.
Frankly, as a distant observer, the US has to get real, and start be realistic about what’s going on in this globe. Any successful manipulation has a shelf-life, it can’t be used perpetually. Repetitious application of a same tactic will be met with retaliation sooner or later. At the end of the day, the US has to brush up on their act to stay relevant.[3]
A solid strategy has to take the butterfly effect into account. In Chaos theory, the butterfly effect is a phenomenon in which a small perturbation in the initial condition of a system results in large changes in later conditions. Such phenomena are common in complex dynamical systems. A tiny change in the initial circumstances can cause a completely different outcome at the end.[4]

Using or misusing knowledge

American politics should be but is not: collect knowledge, then derive a strategy. I wonder if Blinking can comprehend that, but I surmise it won’t probably change anything because “high” politics depend on “heavier” factors than mere right knowledge.[5]  Noam Chomsky said it in this way: the Mafia is the model for the US in international relations.
There seems to be a great deal of American exceptionalism incorporated in every American strategic plan. That’s fatal; there’s nothing so dangerous as to overestimate its own capabilities.
The U.S. government is hostage to its financial hegemony in a way that is rarely fully understood.
It is the miscalculation of this era – one that may begin the collapse of dollar primacy, and therefore, global compliance with U.S. political demands, too. But its most grievous content is that it corners the U.S. into promoting dangerous Ukrainian escalation against Russia directly (i.e. Crimea).[6]

Strategic failures. Cont’d

  1. AP, one of the mouthpieces of the CIA released an “anonymously sourced report” which said “A senior U.S.-intelligence official says Russian missiles crossed into NATO-member Poland, killing two people” went viral because of the massive implications of direct hot warfare erupting between Russia and the NATO alliance. AP subsequently retracted its story as the mainstream political/media class came to accept that it was in fact a Ukrainian missile that had struck Poland.[7]
    The CIA had it not just a bit, but entirely wrong.

  2. The war in Ukraine is highlighting the inability of U.S. arms companies to replenish the military’s stocks the China Mirage. The complete title says it all : the hidden history of American disaster in Asia. [8]
    Stocks of long-range precision-guided munitions would likely run out for the US military in less than a week of hostilities if involved in a potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait. [9]

In conclusion

Strategy is a mathematical discipline that involves the use of data, analysis, and logical reasoning to make decisions and reach goals. The US strategy of failure and the boomerang strategy of the foot shot are examples of how strategies can have unintended consequences and ultimately lead to failure. It is important for individuals and organizations to carefully consider the potential consequences of their strategies and to use mathematical tools to understand the likelihood of success.

In many cases, the US has relied on military force as a means of achieving its objectives, but this approach has often backfired. The use of military force can escalate conflicts, causing unintended consequences and prolonging the instability in the region. This is an example of the boomerang strategy of the foot shot, where a strategy that appears to be successful in the short term can have unintended outcome. By combining mathematical analysis with a nuanced understanding of human behaviour, individuals and organizations can develop more effective strategies that achieve their goals while minimizing unintended consequences.

[1] The Center For Strategic Translation:

[2] Wikipedia   04.09.2022 Thank you Jinying Zhan for the tip. 

[3] Robert Vannox at Metallic Man

[4] The butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.

[5] Quan Le in a message to me January 2023

[6] Strategic Culture Foundation. The Most Egregious Mistake. Alastair Crooke, 23.01.2023

[7] Caitlin Johnstone. 23.11.2022

[8] Gordon Lubold in The Wall Street Journal  23.01.2023

[9] George A. Hamalian on Twitter