Update about one of the seldom-discussed trends shaping our world: 4GW
Summary: One of the great stories of 21st century looks to be the conflict between nations using conventional military methods (2GW and 3GW), and forces using 4GW. So far the latter are winning almost every time. America’s inability to adapt to this new world, part of our larger #FailureToLearn, is another strike against the Second Republic (that built on the Constitution). Here’s a brief status report on the war, concluding with a new article by William Lind, our Thucydides.
Image source: Syed Zaid Zaman Hamid
One of the interesting aspects of recent history is the coincidence of
- the collapse of discussion about 4GW in US military and geopolitical circles,
- victories by insurgents using 4GW methods over foreign armies in Iraq and Afghanistan, &
- most important, the perhaps history-making victory by Bin Laden’s al Qaeda.
The second point is important to us, but the usual outcome since WW2 (after which 4GW became the dominate form of military conflict; see section C below). The third point is the big one. Based on the available information, one of Bin Laden’s goals was to destabilize the US political regime. Massive increase in military spending (using borrowed funds). The bill of rights being shredded (note yesterday’s House vote to tear another strip from the 4th amendment). Our Courts holding show trials of terrorists — recruited, financed, supported by our security services. Torture and concentration camps.
Bin Laden’s other goal, more clearly stated, was to incite a war between the USA and Islam — perhaps as Bismarck used wars to unify small States to create Germany. We took the bait: invading Iraq and Afghanistan, attacking Pakistan, Yemen. And now spreading our war into Africa. We see the domestic fruits of this in the hysterical reaction of the US people to the Boston Bombing.
9-11 might join the roster of history’s great battles, perhaps as the most effective single military operation in history. It cost bin Laden his life and destroyed his organization. He probably considered the result well worth the cost. And like the head of the hydra, new offshoots of al Qaeda have appeared to replace the old.
We — the Second American Republic — have engaged in a war with nationalistic, Islamic forces using 4GW. So far we are losing. For various reasons we are unable to even perceive the nature of the threat. In DoD the hot dot is again procurement of high-tech weapons — new ships, the F-35, the hypersonic cruise missile, etc. All useless in the wars we’ve fought for the past 50 years, and probably in those of the next 50 years.
A status report on 4GW
See this important new article: “4GW is Alive and Well“, William S. Lind, Slightly East of New, 25 May 2013. Lind is a co-author of the seminal Marine Corps Gazette article creating the theory of 4gw.
Martin van Creveld is a top western theoretician describing this age of war; he’s our Clausewitz. William Lind is its western chronicler, our Thucydides.
For More Information about 4GW
(a) Basics of 4GW:
- A solution to 4GW — the introduction
- Arrows in the Eagle’s claw — solutions to 4GW
- Arrows in the Eagle’s claw — 4GW analysts
- Visionaries point the way to success in the age of 4GW
- 4GW: A solution of the first kind - Robots!
- 4GW: A solution of the second kind
- 4GW: A solution of the third kind – Vandergriff is one of the few implementing real solutions.
(b) About the study and practice of 4GW:
- How to get the study of 4GW in gear
- Why We Lose at 4GW – About the two kinds of insurgencies
- Theories about 4GW are not yet like the Laws of Thermodynamics
- About Fourth Generation Infections – Chet Richards explains the nature of outlaw organizations in the 21st century
- About the 4GW between India and Pakistan, 6 January 2009
- 4GW in India – more people who want to watch the world burn, 19 January 2009
- The War Nerd shows how simple 4GW theory can be, 22 January 2009
- Is 4GW magnifique?, 22 June 2012 — By Chet Richards
- Is 4th generation warfare dead?, 21 December 2012
(c) The history of 4GW since WW2:
- How often do insurgents win? How much time does successful COIN require?, 29 May 2008
- Max Boot: history suggests we will win in Afghanistan, with better than 50-50 odds. Here’s the real story., 21 June 2010 — Boot discusses 7 alleged victories by foreign armies fighting insurgencies.
- A major discovery! It could change the course of US geopolitical strategy, if we’d only see it, 28 June 2010 — Andrew Exum (aka Abu Muqawama) points us to the doctoral dissertation of Erin Marie Simpson in Political Science from Harvard. She examines the present and past analysis of counter-insurgency. This could change the course of American foreign policy, if we would pay attention.
- A look at the history of victories over insurgents, 30 June 2010
- COINistas point to Kenya as a COIN success. In fact it was an expensive bloody failure., 7 August 2012