US Power Wielding Unconventional Warfare and Financial Power

John Bolton

Back in December 2008, WikiLeaks released a relatively little-noted document "US Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare".  This 248-page, nine chapter publication was the September 2008 revision of the U.S. Army Field Manual 3-05.130, the keystone doctrine for Army special operations forces operations in unconventional warfare.  

This document defines unconventional warfare as:

"Operations conducted by, with or through irregular forces against a variety of state and no-state opponents."

These operations are conducted:

"…in support of a resistance movement, an insurgency, and ongoing or pending conventional military operations"

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Such operations have the following common conceptual core:

"...working by, with, or through irregular surrogates in a clandestine and/or covert manner against opposing actors."

 Chapter 2, the document outlines the instruments of United States national power which help the United States to achieve its national strategic objectives.  These instruments of national power include diplomacy, information, intelligence, economic, financial, law enforcement and military.  For the purposes of this posting, let's focus on one of these instruments as follows, the Financial Instrument of National Power .  Here's how the document describes this instrument:

"The financial instrument of national power promotes the conditions for prosperity and stability in the United States and encourages prosperity and stability in the rest of the world. The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) is the primary federal agency responsible for the economic and financial prosperity and security of the United States and as such is responsible for a wide range of activities, including advising the President on economic and financial issues, promoting the President’s growth agenda, and enhancing corporate governance in financial institutions. In the international arena, the Treasury works with other federal agencies, the governments of other nations, and the international financial institutions to encourage economic growth; raise standards of living; and predict and prevent, to the extent possible, economic and financial crises."

I like that "encourages prosperity and stability in the rest of the world".  That is true, unless you happen to live in a nation which doesn't share Washington's viewpoint.  Just ask people living in one of many nations who are currently subject to one or another of Washington's long list of sanctions as shown here (current to mid-2017):

The document proceeds to note the following:

"The application of economic or financial incentives is among the most powerful ideas in the U.S. arsenal of power. Although some U.S. adversaries are irreconcilable to accommodation with U.S. interests and must be engaged in other ways, many declared or potential adversaries can be persuaded or dissuaded by economic or financial means to become declared or potential allies (or at least neutralized)…the ability of the United States government to affect the economic environment is enormous, and it has economic weapons at its disposal. Unconventional warfare planners must carefully coordinate the introduction and withholding of economic and financial assets into the Unconventional Warfare Operational Area (UWOA) with their interagency partners. For example, direct application of USAID grants to specific human groups can alter negative behaviors or cement positive affiliations. At the highest levels of diplomatic and financial interaction, the United States Government’s ability to influence international financial institutions—with corresponding effects to exchange rates, interest rates, credit availability, and money supplies—can cement multinational coalitions for unconventional warfare campaigns or dissuade adversary nation-state governments from supporting specific actors in the UWOA." (my bolds)

As you can see, the United States is willing to use financial blackmail including exchange and interest rate manipulation, credit availability and the supply of money to either persuade certain nations to join its unconventional warfare campaign or to dissuade adversarial nations from supporting the "other side" of an unconventional warfare strategy.

Here is a screen capture of page 2-8 of the document outlining how the United States can use financial incentives to manipulate other nations (ARSOF = Army Special Operations Forces and UW = Unconventional Warfare, DOS = Department of State, IC = Intelligence Community):

Note this sentence:

"Government can apply unilateral and indirect financial power through persuasive influence to international and domestic financial institutions regarding availability and terms of loans, grants, or other financial assistance to foreign state and nonstate actors."

It is also interesting to note that the document clearly states that the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and Bank for International Settlements are basically functioning as organizations that Washington can use to drive its global agenda and as yet another tool in America's quest for global hegemony.  This isn't terribly surprising in the case of the World Bank since we find the following on its website:

In addition, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control whose sole responsibility is as follows:

"...to administer and enforce economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other threats the national security…"

…has a "long history of conducting economic warfare valuation to any Army Special Operations Forces unconventional warfare.".

This Army manual, leaked over a decade ago by WikiLeaks, gives us a very clear view of how Washington uses financial manipulation through its influence on the World Bank, IMF, OECD and other "global" groups to wage unconventional warfare on any nation that doesn't share its view of how the world should function and that threatens America's control of the globe.  The use of financial blackmail to bend countries to America's narrative and overthrow nations who do not succumb to America's wishes is not terribly surprising, however, it is interesting to actually see one key aspect of Washington's unconventional warfare methodology in print.

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