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rborum
07-29-2009, 09:34 PM
I find it refreshing to hear an historian analyze ideas about counterinsurgency (COIN), if only to break the monotony of listening to COIN practitioners and doctrineers analyzing history. A new article by Professor Jonathan Gumz from USMA West Point makes the point.

Gumz begins by noting that a flood of new scholarship on COIN has emerged - particularly in military journals - over the past six years. Articles typically include case studies and analyses of past conflict to make their points about the present. They mostly draw bright lines between conventional and unconventional wars and focus on non-European conflicts in the post-WWII era (mostly "Third World national liberation movements as well as to communist insurgencies"). In so doing, Gumz argues, scholars and warthinkers have created, rather than described, an historical COIN narrative to fit the demands of the present. That narrative of past warfare, he believes, is "deeply flawed."

"This suggests that most of the current professional military scholarship on insurgency is driven primarily by the desire to make arguments about priorities in the here and now, not the relative importance of insurgency in the past."


The critique does not focus on current COIN doctrine, but rather on attempts at scholarship and historical analysis. First, he notes, the common assumption that insurgency has always been a part of warfare, moots our ability to understand it actual historical origins.

"One could easily make the argument that professional military scholarship on insurgency has all but gutted the historical specificity of this form of warfare. This takes place because much of the scholarship maintains that insurgency has always been a part of warfare and thus immediately extracts insurgency from its historical moorings."


A second problematic historical assumption, is that the past efforts to use "development" to further COIN objectives can be simply replicated in modern conflicts.


"Those who emphasize development-centered counterinsurgency seem curiously unaware of its origins. Instead, COIN advocates believe that development-centered counterinsurgency can simply be plucked from its larger historical context and deployed in the present."


Gumz' summarizes his indictment of fuzzy - often revisionist- historical analysis in the following way:

"The current professional literature’s approach to history is a curious one. Where the authors either explicitly or implicitly create a new narrative of insurgency to deploy against what they view as the dominant narrative of conventional warfare, that narrative remains cut off from the broader history of war itself. It remains trapped in a cage of either weakly connected ‘lessons learned’ or in a narrow narrative of American military memory. Modernization and development and their role in counterinsurgency strategy certainly do have a history, one embedded in the post-WorldWar II era, which the professional military literature largely looks past. In so doing, the literature lifts development and counterinsurgency out of its particular time and place. In turn, it falls directly into what one of the most perceptive current counterinsurgency experts, David Kilcullen, warns against and looks to simply apply the correct ‘lessons learned’ from the 1960s."


So, if these assumptions are inaccurate - or at least overgeneralized - what historical truth is being overlooked?

Gumz argues that Carl Schmitt's concept of "war autonomy", and its implications are conspicuously absent from the newly-created narrative. War autonomy focused on restricting war to the sphere of the state, and imposing limitations on enmity between opponents. Schmitt called it the ‘bracketing’ of war. There was much debate in the early modern era around such issues as the "question of an insurgent’s legal status, the qualifications of a belligerent, and the loyalty an occupied population owed a military occupation."

These debates were part of the underpinnings of what would become the foundations of international laws of armed conflict. In its early modern form this was expressed in European public law (the jus publicum Europaeum). Gumz argues that "the appearance of insurgency was linked to the breakdown of bracketed conflict and with it the jus publicum Europaeum at the advent of the early twentieth century....Only with the collapse of the jus publicum Europaeum in the first half of the twentieth century in Europe did insurgency assume an increasingly prominent position in war. ... Insurgency’s appearance has less to do with technological changes or advancing stages of war than with normative changes in war’s boundaries."

Gumz states at the outset of the article that his analysis "does not offer prescriptions for the present," but he concludes with some possible implications of viewing the history of insurgency in the alternative way he suggests:

First, we have to avoid using history as a bland cupboard from which to raid lessons learned which serve to confirm ideas already arrived at in the present.

Such an effort would compel us to abandon notions, deeply embedded in the COIN literature, that we live in an age of irreversible insurgency beyond our control.

We might go a step further and decide that the lessons to draw from the conflict in Iraq since 2003 should have less to do with counterinsurgency. For that, in a sense, would be to accept an era of collapsed conflict. The new counterinsurgency tactics should be looked upon as temporary solutions to an aberrational situation, instead of charting a fundamentally new path. The real lessons of Iraq, historically seen, have far more to do with avoiding a botched occupation in the first place and thus eliding the problem of insurgency altogether.
Consequently, understanding how to effectively occupy countries, what not to do so as to avoid an insurgency, should receive at least some attention as we begin to look back on the Iraq conflict.

Finally, a more historical approach to insurgency should encourage us to abandon some of the dichotomies which distort far more than they clarify. As employed in the current literature, these dichotomies have overwhelmed historical events. They simply slot wars into different columns and thereby undermine attempts to understand the nature of conflicts.


Gumz, J. (2009). Reframing the Historical Problematic of Insurgency: How the Professional Military Literature Created a New History and Missed the Past Journal of Strategic Studies, 32 (4), 553-588

Hacksaw
07-29-2009, 10:31 PM
Is it possible that Gian has found a kindred spirit in Lincoln Hall???:D

It must be in the Lusk Resevoir water and Gray Stone Walls

rborum
07-29-2009, 11:08 PM
Gumz does thank his Department in the acknowledgement, but does not mention COL/Dr. Gentile by name.

Van
07-30-2009, 12:20 AM
Did Gumz address the impact of widespread, instantaneous, personal communications and the absolute (and often asinine) democratization of media?

Did he talk about virtual sanctuaries in addition to the classic geographical sanctuaries?

Did he address globalization of insurgent movements enabled by contemporary transportation networks?

Did he address the impact of the rise of social sciences and their subsequent corruption by political activists?

Did he address the differences between classic cell structured organizations and contemporary viral or distributed organizations?

If he failed to address these points, he missed the impact of the second half of the XXth Century on Small Wars (insurgency, irregular warfare, LIC, etc. - pick your buzz word). I'm all about historical-mindedness, but historical models have limits. I would argue that Gumz is being excessively reactionary and conservative in response to the "revisionist" young firebrands. The young guns can be seen as 'cherry-picking' history, but given the dynamics that are present in the world, we have to. No classic model or example comprehensively integrates the factors that shape the current environment.

Ken White
07-30-2009, 01:34 AM
If he failed to address these points, he missed the impact of the second half of the XXth Century on Small Wars (insurgency, irregular warfare, LIC, etc. - pick your buzz word). I'm all about historical-mindedness, but historical models have limits. I would argue that Gumz is being excessively reactionary and conservative in response to the "revisionist" young firebrands...However I thought he was using history to show that many of today's adaptations of 'history' are flawed -- thus he would seem to agree with you to this point:The young guns can be seen as 'cherry-picking' history...As do I agree. However, on this::...but given the dynamics that are present in the world, we have to. No classic model or example comprehensively integrates the factors that shape the current environment.I disagree and Professor Gumz seems to as well.

I agree that no prior example can provide a road map to integrate factors and shape the current environment. However, those young guns you cite are picking some elements of previous insurgencies and attempting to produce such a map. They're highly likely to err due to the factors you cited and a few others applied to an out of date datum for their map. I would in fact submit they have already done so. Err, that is...

You may recall that three years ago I was trying to slow down Gian -- I owe him an apology, he was closer to it than I was and picked up on it before I did. The COINistas are dangerous not least because they are selectively misapplying history. They mean well. But...

One of the things I discovered in seven years in TRADOC and a few more in FORSCOM was that there are almost no new thoughts in our doctrine -- the operational rule in the vast majority of training and doctrinal publication writing was to cut and paste the maximum amount. I would like to believe that is changing but my copies of FMs 3-0, 3-0.1, 3.07, 3-07.1, 3-21-75, 3-24 and a few others lead me to believe not much has changed.

I knew one LTC whose favorite technique was to cut paragraphs out of an existing document, rewrite them in longhand on a legal pad and paste the result in the appropriate location for a 'draft' approval before they went of to the typing pool. It worked. Too well...

Everyone wants a checklist, makes life simple, don't have to think too hard and if you follow the checklist, no matter how badly you foul up, you get over because you did follow it. Regrettably, warfare can have no realistic checklist... :eek:

History has much to teach and we should pay more attention to it than we do but warfighting, while subject to historical precepts and some constants is not politics or a social science project -- if you get it wrong, people get killed, therefor you have an obligation to approach it with an open mind and a willingness, even an eagerness, to adapt and succeed. Trying things that worked elsewhere under very different conditions -- and with bureaucratically added restrictions that also significantly impact conditions in comparison to past wars -- is what we've been at for the last eight years. How has that worked out for us?

Every war is different. :cool:

William F. Owen
07-30-2009, 05:58 AM
Did Gumz address the impact of widespread, instantaneous, personal communications and the absolute (and often asinine) democratization of media?

Did he talk about virtual sanctuaries in addition to the classic geographical sanctuaries?

Did he address globalization of insurgent movements enabled by contemporary transportation networks?

Did he address the impact of the rise of social sciences and their subsequent corruption by political activists?

Did he address the differences between classic cell structured organizations and contemporary viral or distributed organizations?


OK, but do any of things pass the "so what test" of operational relevance. Some of those things are not new. All those things may be true, but do they actually have the impact that the "Nouveau-COIN" say they do? Kilcullen goes on about Globalisation. Colin Gray convincingly argues it's irrelevant - and I agree with him. I'd say the same about the Internet. Have any of these things changed the nature of Political goals each side seeks to achieve? If no, then they have little or no military impact.

The "Nouveau-COIN," is like the MW crowd, they don't just cherry pick, but they are also generally poor military historians, in that they assume there is something distinct called "Counter-insurgency," -which you can study in isolation, and that from that you can develop "COIN Theories."

The worst thing they try to tell you is that military force isn't the primary method by which insurgencies are defeated, and as evidence cite cases where military force was stupidly or badly applied, or ignore and denigrate it's absolute necessity in creating the conditions where the political solution could be achieved - so none of them read Clausewitz either.
From this we see, in the last 7 years, is body of literature emerging , that says nothing new or insightful, about so called "counter-insurgency."

As Ken says "Every War is Different," and in unanimous agreement with that, I say "War is War." :wry:

Taiko
07-30-2009, 06:22 AM
The young guns can be seen as 'cherry-picking' history, but given the dynamics that are present in the world, we have to. No classic model or example comprehensively integrates the factors that shape the current environment.

As a 'young gun' who has very deep respect and appreciation of the classics: if CvC, Sun Tzu, Thucydides, Machiavelli or Mao Tse-Tung did not say it then its not worth saying.

I would bet, CvC for example, would argue that technology is little more than an enabler that extends the strategist's understanding of the role of the laws of probability in military combat. It has to be taken into account, but it is not the dominating principle from which we can then argue that everything else, especially friction and fog, can be assumed away as an invalid element in the nature of war and its conduct. It is still humans that fight the wars, and it is still humans who articulate the political objectives which set the war into motion. How they communicate and exploit that objective to a wider audience has changed. How they utilize technology and exploit our so called 'globalized' world has changed. However, wars natural laws of cause (politics) and effect (violence) and the regulating principles that go to make up its objective and subjective character have not changed.

I am not saying that the various technological innovations and globalization are irrelevant. Far from it, they need to considered within a framework. I would be very confident to argue that all of the 'technological' innovations you have listed can be considered within the framework of what CvC called chance and probability. Technological shifts in warfare and the tools of war are constantly changing how we fight, not why we fight. There is little utility in trying to reinvent the wheel every time a 'buzz concept' comes into being.

Tom Odom
07-30-2009, 06:26 AM
The "Nouveau-COIN," is like the MW crowd, they don't just cherry pick, but they are also generally poor military historians, in that they assume there is something distinct called "Counter-insurgency," -which you can study in isolation, and that from that you can develop "COIN Theories."

The worst thing they try to tell you is that military force isn't the primary method by which insurgencies are defeated, and as evidence cite cases where military force was stupidly or badly applied, or ignore and denigrate it's absolute necessity in creating the conditions where the political solution could be achieved - so none of them read Clausewitz either.
From this we see, in the last 7 years, is body of literature emerging , that says nothing new or insightful, about so called "counter-insurgency."

Once again Wilf you jump on the same soap box and start the "they" and "Nouveau COIN" labeling in the interest of bludgeoning anyone who might have a different idea than you or your near idolic worship of CvC.

Careful reading of Kilcullen, Nagl etc does not state that COIN is won without force; they do state that COIN campaigns are lost by an overapplication of force. That I definitely agree with and have watched it happend from the ground.

As for assuming that you can study COIN as a distinct element in warfare, perhaps. It is part of a spectrum of operations and as such boundaries are unclear. That I would say is better than ignoring it or worse banning it as a subject to consider.

Is all the scholarship of the past 7 years wasted? Hardly and as for the good professor, his own assumptions are equally glaring.

Tom

William F. Owen
07-30-2009, 06:30 AM
How they communicate that objective to a wider audience has changed. How they utilize technology and exploit our so called 'globalized' world has changed. However, wars natural laws of cause (politics) and effect (violence) and the regulating principles that go to make up its objective and subjective character have not changed.

I concur, but while forms of communication have changed, all the "big ideas" such as Protestantism, Communism, and various forms of political Islam all spread via word of mouth. National Socialism, used radio as a mass communication medium, but by the time it did, it already had power.
The original forms of Zionism were spread entirely by word of mouth, world wide. The modern state of Israel was established, via word of mouth.
OK, the Rwandan Genocide used the radio. Possible via word of mouth? Many genocide's were.

The Internet, isn't going to change the "ideas" and it's the ideas that create the conflict.

Taiko
07-30-2009, 06:57 AM
Gumz argues that "the appearance of insurgency was linked to the breakdown of bracketed conflict and with it the jus publicum Europaeum at the advent of the early twentieth century....Only with the collapse of the jus publicum Europaeum in the first half of the twentieth century in Europe did insurgency assume an increasingly prominent position in war. ... Insurgency’s appearance has less to do with technological changes or advancing stages of war than with normative changes in war’s boundaries."

One could argue the same for conventional war when comparing the cabinet wars of the Monarchists to the revolutionary wars of Napoleon in the 18/19th century. I think its a dangerous game to place any 'normative boundaries' on war. Simply because war is a duel between two or more opponents who will adapt or adjust in order to achieve military victory and meet their political objective. Napoleon exploited the norms of the previous cabinet wars by a using a broadsword instead of a dress rapier, with startling results.

William F. Owen
07-30-2009, 07:01 AM
Once again Wilf you jump on the same soap box and start the "they" and "Nouveau COIN" labeling in the interest of bludgeoning anyone who might have a different idea than you or your near idolic worship of CvC.
...and once again we are back into this!
I fail to see how attempting to clearly state my case counts as "bludgeoning," or being consistent counts as a soap box. I would have thought it entirely normal that I should seek to argue against ideas I see as unhelpful or poorly presented.
"Nouveau-COIN" is a set of ideas, and not necessarily people. I don't worship CvC. I merely suggest folks would benefit from the insights he gives, and revisit some of their ideas in that light. I am no more wedded to CvC than most Physicist are to Newton - and merely because of the subject matter, War.

Careful reading of Kilcullen, Nagl etc does not state that COIN is won without force; they do state that COIN campaigns are lost by an overapplication of force. That I definitely agree with and have watched it happend from the ground.
I would agree with 100%. They are correct, and that observation is at least 60 years old. My concern are the statements such as

"80% Political. 20% military" -
"Can't kill or capture your way to success" -
"COIN is armed social work" -
"You out govern. You don't out fight."

Those are the simplistic, context free, and misleading ideas I seek to challenge.

As for assuming that you can study COIN as a distinct element in warfare, perhaps. It is part of a spectrum of operations and as such boundaries are unclear. That I would say is better than ignoring it or worse banning it as a subject to consider.
I grew up in an Army doing COIN and with a strong COIN tradition. My grandfather did COIN Operations. At no time have I ever suggested it should be ignored. Quite the opposite. I consider "COIN" as what armies mostly do, which is why the "woolly thinking" is so dangerous. Insurgencies should be studied, but that is very different from creating a distinct field of military study, which holds "COIN" to be a distinct and unique military problem.

Is all the scholarship of the past 7 years wasted? Hardly and as for the good professor, his own assumptions are equally glaring.
I don't have a problem with the scholarship. It's the agendas and the ideas that the instances of poor scholar ship has spawned.
To whit, what great insights have we gained, that did not exist already?

slapout9
07-30-2009, 07:02 AM
I actually started a thread similar to this back in December 2006"Title was Is Everybody Wrong" based on an old article from Military Review about how some COIN Cannot be won:eek: link to thread and article is below.



http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=1565&highlight=wrong

Tom Odom
07-30-2009, 07:59 AM
...and once again we are back into this!
I fail to see how attempting to clearly state my case counts as "bludgeoning," or being consistent counts as a soap box. I would have thought it entirely normal that I should seek to argue against ideas I see as unhelpful or poorly presented.

Consistently on the soap box is a good description. And once again I will respond to the same labels until you go beyond mere labeling. This is a discussion board and discussion is based on full thoughts.

"Nouveau-COIN" is a set of ideas, and not necessarily people. I don't worship CvC. I merely suggest folks would benefit from the insights he gives, and revisit some of their ideas in that light. I am no more wedded to CvC than most Physicist are to Newton - and merely because of the subject matter, War....

If "Noveau-COIN" is a set of ideas, who then presents that set that you so often rail against? If no one, then against whom are you arguing?

As for the simple ideas that bother you,

"80% Political. 20% military" -
Actually fairly accurate depending on the war and the situation if applied with thinking.

"Can't kill or capture your way to success" -

True unless you are prepared to kill them all.

"COIN is armed social work" -

As a metaphor, not bad. Oversimplified and therefore used as a substitute for thought--rather like "war is war" in that regard.

"You out govern. You don't out fight."

Again fairly accurate depending on the conflict. Without addressing underlying causes and absent scorched earth tactics, the failure to adress reasons for a conflict extends it.

If these ideas are offered as a cautionary note in the interest of more study, I applaud their use. If they are simply bumper stickers, then I would agree with your concerns. But I do not agree there is a COIN cabal, mafia, or whatever that is determined to kill all other ideas regarding war in a broader sense. There was, however, a very real conventional school of thought that tried and succeeded in the main force to stamp out any consideration of COIN.

I consider "COIN" as what armies mostly do, which is why the "woolly thinking" is so dangerous. Insurgencies should be studied, but that is very different from creating a distinct field of military study, which holds "COIN" to be a distinct and unique military problem.

Again if you do not study COIN as a somewhat separate field, then those who would ignore it will do so by banning its study.

I grew up in an Army doing COIN and with a strong COIN tradition.

I also grew up in an Army doing COIN with a strong COIN tradition. But that Army's senior leaders did its best to ignore the tradition until forced to face its demands. Even as the Army was involved in COIN in central America in the 1980s, the institution maintained intellectual blinders to that fact and wore them fairly religiously until the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Even then many kept them on.

My grandfather did COIN Operations.

Good than he understood that it isn't simple. This is my third as a participant in one fashion or another. We do care what the populace thinks; we get our best information from them. That does not mean we bake cookies and send flowers to win their favor.

so none of them read Clausewitz either

The smartest guy in this realm I ever met is Paul Kagame. He has fought on both sides of the fence. He never mentioned CvC to me. Maybe he read CvC; he cared very much what the populace thought and he still does. He used all elements of persuasion to affect their thinking including lethal and non-lethal.

Tom

William F. Owen
07-30-2009, 12:52 PM
Consistently on the soap box is a good description. And once again I will respond to the same labels until you go beyond mere labeling. This is a discussion board and discussion is based on full thoughts.
Well I guess I cannot and should not attempt to alter your perception. If for no other reason than I can learn from it. Anyhoo.... with the my best soap box forward.....
If "Noveau-COIN" is a set of ideas, who then presents that set that you so often rail against? If no one, then against whom are you arguing?
Well this may be me deferring to style rather than function. I don't have many problems with people. I have problems with ideas. I know a lot of smart and well intentioned guys, doing military thought and theory, but I don't agree with a great many of their ideas. Not just COIN either. I even go to at it, with Doug MacGregor once in a while.
As for the simple ideas that bother you,

"80% Political. 20% military" -
"Can't kill or capture your way to success" -
"COIN is armed social work" -
"You out govern. You don't out fight."

These may come from a perspective where the US/NATO military action is the cause of the insurgency. The insurgencies currently faced, resulted from the US/NATO overthrowing the Governments. What is more, the insurgencies sprang up, prior to the existence of the governments they currently oppose, so unless that is held to the fore, as explaining those statements, I cannot see them as truisms or insights into countering an insurgency.

They may ameliorate the feelings that poorly reasoned military action made a very big mess and now someone has to clear it up, but none of those statements is the basis for an historically valid approach to defeating an insurgency, or a sound basis for the conduct of irregular warfare.

The smartest guy in this realm I ever met is Paul Kagame. He has fought on both sides of the fence. He never mentioned CvC to me. Maybe he read CvC; he cared very much what the populace thought and he still does. He used all elements of persuasion to affect their thinking including lethal and non-lethal.

I have met very, very few practitioners who have ever read Clausewitz. If they are effective practitioners, they probably should not bother. Moreover I do not thing it necessary that most Officers should actually read CvC.

However, if you want to use military history as a guide to the present and the future, and teach lessons derived from military history, then he is pretty much essential.

Tom Odom
07-30-2009, 01:52 PM
Wilf

Good post.

One thing:

These may come from a perspective where the US/NATO military action is the cause of the insurgency. The insurgencies currently faced, resulted from the US/NATO overthrowing the Governments. What is more, the insurgencies sprang up, prior to the existence of the governments they currently oppose, so unless that is held to the fore, as explaining those statements, I cannot see them as truisms or insights into countering an insurgency.

I will disagree--big surprise I know--for 2 reasons:

A. Primarily because I have seen those things apply in a non-NATO and non-US environment. By applying I mean applied by the government facing the insurgency.

B. Rather than truism or insight I see them more as an opening statement of a theme or longer discussion.

Tom

goesh
07-30-2009, 03:26 PM
"The Internet, isn't going to change the "ideas" and it's the ideas that create the conflict. " ( WF.O)

I wish I could be entirely convinced of that. I've been telling myself a long time that it is nothing but man-made metal, plastic, glass and electricity but I wonder at times over cultural perceptions of it, linear V circular thinking and perceptions become fixed rather quickly - a tangent here but a real one.

Valin
07-30-2009, 04:03 PM
"The Internet, isn't going to change the "ideas" and it's the ideas that create the conflict. " ( WF.O)

I wish I could be entirely convinced of that. I've been telling myself a long time that it is nothing but man-made metal, plastic, glass and electricity but I wonder at times over cultural perceptions of it, linear V circular thinking and perceptions become fixed rather quickly - a tangent here but a real one.

The very fact that I'm sitting here in "beautiful scenic" South Minneapolis is proof that the Net has changed things.
People don't really change, but how they use technology, affects them and society in general....see the printing press

For the Jihadis this is definitely true. The Jihadi/Salafist forums have been a boon to providing a means of passing information...etc. and giving them a sense of community.

For more see
"The Leaderless Jihad: Terror networks in the Twenty-First Century"
Marc Sageman

"Global Jihadism: Theory and Practice"
Jarret M. Brachman

Available from all the usual sources

William F. Owen
07-30-2009, 04:08 PM
"The Internet, isn't going to change the "ideas" and it's the ideas that create the conflict. " ( WF.O)

I wish I could be entirely convinced of that. I've been telling myself a long time that it is nothing but man-made metal, plastic, glass and electricity but I wonder at times over cultural perceptions of it, linear V circular thinking and perceptions become fixed rather quickly - a tangent here but a real one.
I cannot tell you, you are wrong. My father opined that television changed the way people spoke to each other and behaved in general, because people tend to mimic what they believe to be effective behaviours.
If someone can show me that radio, telegraph, telephones or printing presses changed the essential nature of political and religious/political ideas, then I'll think again. I stand by writing and speaking as being mainly to blame!!
Wilf

Good post.
Thank you, and thanks for keeping me on my toes. Without some useful and constructive disagreement, this could turn into a bit of a "sausage-fest" ...as my wife so delicately puts it. :eek:
I will disagree--big surprise I know--for 2 reasons:

A. Primarily because I have seen those things apply in a non-NATO and non-US environment. By applying I mean applied by the government facing the insurgency.
So let's call the US NATO environment a critical context. Would the discussion be the same if the US was intervening at the request of a foreign government?
B. Rather than truism or insight I see them more as an opening statement of a theme or longer discussion.
As the basis of a discussion, that may have some merit. Any thesis subjected to rigour, or argued against, is almost certainly useful. I am less convinced, when they are held to be the solution.

William F. Owen
07-30-2009, 04:14 PM
For the Jihadis this is definitely true. The Jihadi/Salafist forums have been a boon to providing a means of passing information...etc. and giving them a sense of community.

Yes, it's a changed how they act. It has not changed why they act. The Iranian revolution made great use of fax machines and cassette tapes. Neither of those things created the revolution, or made it possible.

The problems that created Political Islam, are nothing to do with the internet. The internet is just a medium, in which discussion takes place and information is exchanged.

Ask this question. Are people more or less likely to adhere to Scientology because of the internet?

marct
07-30-2009, 04:25 PM
Hi Wilf,

These may come from a perspective where the US/NATO military action is the cause of the insurgency. The insurgencies currently faced, resulted from the US/NATO overthrowing the Governments. What is more, the insurgencies sprang up, prior to the existence of the governments they currently oppose, so unless that is held to the fore, as explaining those statements, I cannot see them as truisms or insights into countering an insurgency.

They may ameliorate the feelings that poorly reasoned military action made a very big mess and now someone has to clear it up, but none of those statements is the basis for an historically valid approach to defeating an insurgency, or a sound basis for the conduct of irregular warfare.

B. Rather than truism or insight I see them more as an opening statement of a theme or longer discussion.

I agree with both of Tom's points here but, especially, his last one. I'm going to be getting up on my semantics soap box for a bit here ;).

Okay, some basic definitions: an insurgency is a political-military action against the "legitimate" government of a state or para-state (depends on how states are defined, but that's another discussion). We (NATO, etc.) are not conducting a counter-insurgency in Afghanistan (or Iraq) at present because we are not the legitimate government of either state.

The entire issue is muddied because in both cases the "legitimate" governments of both Iraq and Afghanistan were overthrown by foreign (NATO, MNF) conquest. This conquest and the following occupation then gave way to the creation of local governments more in line with those desired by the West, which have been "legitimated" by both international recognition and elections. This has created a situation were the legitimacy of these regimes may be questioned, in large part because a) they were imposed by foreigners and b) they have no longstanding "tradition" of legitimacy inside their respective states (NB: this second point marks a sharp disctinction against, say, the restoration of a previous regime).

A further complicating factor in these situations is that the foreign "invaders" really have no desire to stay there. Again, this marks a distinct difference with, say, the Colonial wars of the 19th century where the colonial powers often retained some components of local sovereignty. The closest historical analogs that I can think of off the top of my head are the post-WWII occupations of Germany and Japan, although there are some noatble differences.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that I think the statement can give us some excellent insights into countering the current insurgencies. I do agree, however, that if taken as a truism, it is problematic.

Cheers,

Marc

Bob's World
07-30-2009, 05:41 PM
A lot of great discussion taking place in this thread.

A couple points to consider that may help:

First, GWOT is not COIN; and really isn't GWOT either. We know that, yet struggle to devise a smarter approach the new range of security challenges we face today.

When President Bush left office he stated as his one metric of success that "we have not been attacked." Two comments on that:
1. A very poor metric of success, as one's opponents have their own agenda and schedules for how they pursue their ends, and if no attacks are necessary, why launch them and risk messing with success? So I don't credit it much as to our larger effectiveness in the GWOT. It may or may not mean our efforts are working.
2. HOWEVER: It does clearly indicate that the Commander in Chief saw the primary purpose of the GWOT campaign under his watch as one of Deterring such terrorist attacks from happening again.
This got me thinking, as I have been discussing Deterrence with a broader conventional community and attempting to highlight some of the new challenges in deterrence today than back in the good old days when all we had to worry about was MAD.

If our current campaign is primarily about deterrence (this is what militaries do in times of peace); and it is not really GWOT, then what is it? The concept that I am playing with is to shift it from a campaign focused (in name) on countering terrorism to one focused on Deterrence of Irregular Threats.

Many diverse organizations will employ terrorism as a tactic, and all require unique approaches. Weak(er) states; failed states (like Somalia); Quasi-state actors (like Hezbollah), non-state actors (like AQ), nationalist insurgencies (LET, MILF, etc etc etc), and the odd dissident individual (such as Mr. McVeigh). To lump them by their tacics leads to a dangerous conflation that contributes to approaches that are as likely to provoke some groups as they are to deter others. But by focusing on deterrence it forces one to break down the problem set and conduct a more sophisticated analysis and to better balance potential cost/benefit analysis by each category and major actors within those categories to various courses of deterrence or engagement that we plan to set out upon.

It also allows for a much more positive narrative that our allies and own non-DOD agencies can much more readily get on board with.

Now, before the "kill them all" gang gets too fired up, yes, any good deterrence campaign incorporates a balanced and appropriate LOO directed at bringing to justice those needing the same. Most will be in a court of the own HN; others will simply wake up knowing they are dead, yet wondering where all the virgins are. Such things are best done in low key fashion as a capable and certain supporting effort to a much larger and holistic campaign of deterrence.

marct
07-30-2009, 05:49 PM
Hi BW,

If our current campaign is primarily about deterrence (this is what militaries do in times of peace); and it is not really GWOT, then what is it? The concept that I am playing with is to shift it from a campaign focused (in name) on countering terrorism to one focused on Deterrence of Irregular Threats....

It also allows for a much more positive narrative that our allies and own non-DOD agencies can much more readily get on board with.

You know, I'm beginning to think that my mind is truly warped... I immediately translated this into the rhetorical meme of "armed etiquette instruction" :eek::D!

http://www.webcomicsnation.com/memberimages/mm_frontcover.gif

Actually, and all silliness aside, I think you have a really good point here. Possibly more important that a potentially new narrative is the possibility for a reconstructed dialogue at the global level.

goesh
07-30-2009, 06:02 PM
" If someone can show me that radio, telegraph, telephones or printing presses changed the essential nature of political and religious/political ideas, then I'll think again. I stand by writing and speaking as being mainly to blame!!
(Wf.O)
-I'd argue that we see a large hunk of our teen generation texting in code that gets made up and passed and more made up and passed all impacting behaviors rather quickly, almost a mutual mass understanding solely facilitated by a machine(s). I recall Howard Dean's Candidacy and the so-called Deaniacs who would rally almost instantly in key locations, the sole impetus being a technological prompt, backed by a simplistic idea of one man for President. All subsequent behaviors at the impromptu rallies can be as easily attributed to the machine as the imagination/idea of one man becoming President. Apples v Oranges ....?

Greyhawk
07-30-2009, 06:23 PM
Back in April, 2007 (http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0704/23/sitroom.02.html)...BASH: The phrase "the war is lost" really touched a nerve.

Do you stand by that -- that -- that comment?

REID: General Petraeus has said that only 20 percent of the war can be won militarily. He's the man on the ground there now. He said 80 percent of the war has to be won diplomatically, economically and politically. I agree with General Petraeus.

Now, that is clear and I certainly believe that.

BASH: But, sir, General Petraeus has not said the war is lost.

I just want to ask you again...

REID: General -- General Petraeus has said the war cannot be won militarily. He said that. And President Bush is doing nothing economically. He is doing nothing diplomatically. He is not doing even the minimal requested by the Iraq Study Group.

So I -- I stick with General Petraeus. I have no doubt that the war cannot be won militarily, and that's what I said last Thursday and I stick with that.

BASH: Arlen Specter, a Republican, but somebody who, in many ways, is like you, a critic of the president's Iraq policy. He said this. He said: "For men and women who are over in Iraq to have somebody of Senator Reid's stature say that the war is lost, it is just very, very demoralizing and not necessary."

Is there something to that, an 18- and 19-year-old person in the service in Iraq who is serving, risking their lives, in some cases losing their life, hearing somebody like you back in Washington saying that they're fighting for a lost cause?

REID: General Petraeus has told them that.

BASH: How has he said that?

REID: He said the war can't be won militarily. He said that. I mean he said it. He's the commander on the ground there."I do not think that means what you think that means" - to paraphrase Princess Bride.

marct
07-30-2009, 06:33 PM
Hi Wilf,

If someone can show me that radio, telegraph, telephones or printing presses changed the essential nature of political and religious/political ideas, then I'll think again. I stand by writing and speaking as being mainly to blame!!

Okay.... :cool:

On the printing press, consider the effect of cheap, mass produced copies of the Bible printed in the local languages. This invention led to massive increases spread of the breakup of the Roman Catholic hegemony in Western Europe during the late 15th through the end of the 17th centuries. It also directly led to an increase in the number of people involved in discussions surrounding science (with profound political implications), and the development of newspapers, broadsheets and yellow journalism that changed the nature of political debate, mobilization and control of political discourse. See, for example, Prophecy and Protest in Renaissance Italy (http://www.amazon.com/Prophecy-People-Renaissance-Ottavia-Niccoli/dp/0691008353/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248974158&sr=8-3).

On the political effects of radio, the telegraph and the telephone, see The Gutenburg Galaxy (http://www.amazon.com/Gutenburg-Galaxy-Making-Typographic-Man/dp/B0013FNGIO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248974275&sr=1-2) (Marshal McLuhan), The Soft Edge (http://www.amazon.com/Gutenburg-Galaxy-Making-Typographic-Man/dp/B0013FNGIO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248974275&sr=1-2) (Paul Levinson), and Technology in World Civilization (http://www.amazon.com/Technology-World-Civilization-Thousand-Year-History/dp/0262660725/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248974360&sr=1-1) (Arnold Pacey), Empire and Communications (http://www.amazon.com/Empire-Communications-Voyageur-Classics-Harold/dp/1550026623/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248974506&sr=1-2) (Harold Inness), and Technology and Empire (http://www.amazon.com/Technology-Empire-Perspectives-North-America/dp/0887845142/ref=sr_1_27?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248974626&sr=1-27) (George Grant) to name a few.

In (exceedingly) short form:

The telegraph extended basic written communications and, hence, the geographic span of control. This change specifically shifted how people reacted to central authorities, specifically decreasing the amount of local autonomy available. this allowed for the spread of a modern, centralized bureaucratic state organization, as well as producing a rapid spread of "news" over vast geographic areas 9thereby changing the content of local political discourse).

The radio, as a one-way communicative medium, greatly increased the centralizing power of state organizations through control of popular culture and political discourse. Consider, by way of example, the fact that almost all states moved rapidly to "license" radio broadcasting.

The telephone reconstructed two-way (or more) discussions at the local level but, also, increased the possibility of central control and monitoring, mainly in industries (Levinson's chapter on the telephone is quite interesting).

Cheers,

Marc

Hacksaw
07-30-2009, 07:01 PM
I must first apologize for the ill-disciplined effort at levity at the beginning of the thread... it didn't contribute, but Gian is a good friend and the opportunity was one I couldn't resist...

BW... I'd respond in a thoughtful way, just still trying to digest... I can say - I think its one of the more helpful approaches I've heard discussed, I hope you/it are gaining traction in FLA...

As for the bumper stickers, and their potential harm... maybe I'm too optimistic, except in rare cases, I do see the community using these as a point of departure for discussion as opposed to absolutes... As someone else noted time will tell, but...

I too grew up in an Army with a rich tradition of small wars... and despite the fact that I attended the Army's "premier" school for developing military planners... I was never once asked to think about something beyond force on force until 2002 - that's 15 years... as Sec Gates says when discussing the 2010 budget -- this isn't a IW budget, it just gets IW a seat at the table -- if the nouveau COIN/COINistas provide for a small wars seat at the table -- its worth the risk

and I know that doesn't mean what he thinks that means:D

William F. Owen
07-30-2009, 07:03 PM
Shalom Marc, :)

All fascinating - genuinely - but what correct me if I am wrong, but you are talking about these technologies, enabling behaviours. They are instruments. Radio changed warfare. It cannot change war. Same is true of I.P. technology.
None of them "created ideas." Protestants challenged the hegemony of the Roman Catholics, not the printing press.

Much the same is true of the observation that the motor car and the aeroplane symbolised, and inspired, Fascism but did not create it.

William F. Owen
07-30-2009, 07:22 PM
I too grew up in an Army with a rich tradition of small wars... and despite the fact that I attended the Army's "premier" school for developing military planners... I was never once asked to think about something beyond force on force until 2002 - that's 15 years... as Sec Gates says when discussing the 2010 budget -- this isn't a IW budget, it just gets IW a seat at the table -- if the nouveau COIN/COINistas provide for a small wars seat at the table -- its worth the risk


You allude to a very interesting distinction here. I have always believed that the exclusion of "Small Wars" from military thought, training, equipment and doctrine, to be profoundly stupid.
I submit that the best way to prevent that is to nurture an "All Wars" approach.

This is why the Soap box, with the "Read Clausewitz" and "War is War" bumper stickers comes zooming out, ( much to Tom's annoyance! ) every time I sense the vibrations of those who see "COIN" as being something not grounded in War and Warfare. Small Wars and Irregular Warfare are not just about "COIN," and believing any warfare against an Irregular enemy is COIN and can be addressed by the "new thinking" that comes with that belief, may set you on the road to disaster.

So quote my more JEPY friends, "Love Small Wars. Love Irregular Warfare. Not so sure about the COIN, Darling."

marct
07-30-2009, 07:25 PM
Shalom Marc, :)

Right back at you :)....

All fascinating - genuinely - but what correct me if I am wrong, but you are talking about these technologies, enabling behaviours. They are instruments. Radio changed warfare. It cannot change war. Same is true of I.P. technology.
None of them "created ideas." Protestants challenged the hegemony of the Roman Catholics, not the printing press.

You're quite correct that i am talking about these technologies enabling behaviours. Actually, i would go further and say that they changed the selection criteria (both positive and negative) for certain behaviours. Where I suspect we disagree is on the nature of causality. I view "causality" in an inductive format, i.e. by changing the frequency distribution of a particular behaviour, that technology has "caused" that behaviour to change. The social understandings at the time of those changes are the "ideas" which, since they are embedded in the change themselves, are "created" by that change. I know, it sounds post-moderninst, but it actually isn't :wry:.

I agree that it was the protestants that challenged the Catholic hegemony in Europe. However, let me note that it had been challenged earlier by "reform" movements internally (e.g. the Fraticelli (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraticelli), etc.), and by groups that just plain out rejected their hegemony either spiritual (e.g. the Cathars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathars)) or temporal (e.g. the Stedingers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stedingen)). The Protestants, as a collection of groups, certainly weren't the first but they were successful and, IMHO, one of the main reasons why they were successful was because of the spread of the printing press.

Cheers,

Marc

William F. Owen
07-30-2009, 07:33 PM
Where I suspect we disagree is on the nature of causality. I view "causality" in an inductive format, i.e. by changing the frequency distribution of a particular behaviour, that technology has "caused" that behaviour to change.

OK, I can dig that, so the people make choices and act based on the information to hand. More information, more action. Makes sense, but how true is it today relatively?

A Few books to 1,000's of Books is a very great change - even with literacy at below 1%. No Radio to radio, is a big change, but less profound than books. Same for telephones. Has the Internet really changed human behaviour and politics in a decisive and profound way, as seen with books? - and books only really took off once literacy took hold.

Having said all that, my thinking has been profoundly and usefully effected by SWJ. I actually think 18 months here equates to 5 years on intense study in terms of getting from where I was to where I am, but I may be emotively overstating the case! :wry:

Gian P Gentile
07-30-2009, 08:06 PM
I must first apologize for the ill-disciplined effort at levity at the beginning of the thread... it didn't contribute, but Gian is a good friend and the opportunity was one I couldn't resist...

Hack, I didn't take it that way at all; but dude, Lincoln Hall, even Schmedlap knows that History is in Thayer! In fact if you go to Schmed's cool post on the Wanat thread you will see me tacking my 95 theses on the door where Patton used to walk through to ride his horse (a bit of creative license here, allow me).

Of course I read it and provided encouragement along with some comments; but as Jonathan highlights in his acknowledgment section he received much help from our old Sams Obe Won, Professor Roger Spiller.

And by the way, if any of the council members want to read a classic of war history and literature, read Roger Spiller's 2005 "An Instinct for War." Nothing less than brilliant it is.

little g

Hacksaw
07-30-2009, 08:17 PM
Just thought they had moved History to the high-end neighborhood:D As I said earlier, just an attempt at levity, I'm incoregible (SIC, I think)...

marct
07-30-2009, 08:26 PM
OK, I can dig that, so the people make choices and act based on the information to hand. More information, more action. Makes sense, but how true is it today relatively?

It's really interesting - at least to me ;) - how we react to changes in information systems. Let me pull that apart, 'cause otherwise I'll be using way too much academic shorthand....

Basically, I view information as a "difference that makes a difference" (Gregory Bateson's influence there....). All information is perceived via some form of sensory processing, which is inherently a communications loop - raw input comes from somewhere "out there", gets processed, decoded, processed against existing "meaning templates" for "difference" (amongst other things) and then stored/referenced against linguistic taxonomies. Where the technologies come into play, and where I see them as having a significant causal effect, is in the coding / decoding area, storage, and secondary communication.

A Few books to 1,000's of Books is a very great change - even with literacy at below 1%. No Radio to radio, is a big change, but less profound than books. Same for telephones. Has the Internet really changed human behaviour and politics in a decisive and profound way, as seen with books? - and books only really took off once literacy took hold.

Hmmm, let's think about this for a bit. When we look at early "literate" societies, say pre-1400, one of the things that becomes pretty clear is that the requirements for encoding / decoding (readin' and writin' in this case :D), were originally really, REALLY, complex. It took about a decade to teach someone how to read and write in cuneiform, Egyptian hieroglyphics, traditional Chinese pictograms, etc. One of the effects of this, and it was probably partly due to the fact that most writing systems were developed in "temples", was that "writing" was viewed as "sacred" - consider the Hebrew alphabet for one example.

Even later on, say during the first centuiry ce or so, most "writing" was mean to be spoken (this, BTW, has been forgotten by a lot of people; BTW, Harris' Ancient Literacy (http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Literacy-British-Museum-William/dp/0674033817/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248979993&sr=1-1) is great for a systematic analysis of this situation after the development of alphabetic writing). Books didn't really take off until after the development of the Gutenburg press which allowed for the cheap, rapid production of large print runs. Literacy, at least in the sense we now use the term, didn't really take off until roughly the same time, but not because of books - it was because of broadsheets (sort of a 16th century version of the tabloid press). The two, books and literacy, didn't really tie together at the level of general, popular culture, until the development of both cheap books and cheap education systems.

I don't know if it's possible to quantify differences in levels of effect of mass publications and the radio. One point I'll note is that the process of decoding radio is much simpler that learning to read - a point well know to and used by the Taliban. You don't need a cheap education system in order to deploy radio while still communicating with large numbers of people. Afterall, providing people with cheap transitor radios is a lot less expensive than setting up an education system!

One other key difference between the two is that with radio, there really isn't much of a storage mechanism beyong, say, recorders. The "messages" are immediate, and it is really quite challenging to go back and critically examine those messages at a later date; something that is simple with books. This means that whatever group controls the broadcasting "centre" can control the message.

Has the 'net changed the nature of politics? I don't know - I could argue both sides of the question. Honestly, i don't think we have enough data yet to say that it has or hasn't. Let me toss out a few exemplars in the afirmative.

Are you familiar with the United Breaks Guitars case (story (http://www.davecarrollmusic.com/story/united-breaks-guitars), 1st video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo), follow up (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_X-Qoh__mw))? The use of 'net 2.0 technologies forced a major corporation to give in to a single person. In another example, less well know and not covered on CNN ;), Rogers cablevision decided that they were not going to carry WPBS from Watertown NY in Ottawa any longer (http://www.cbc.ca/arts/tv/story/2009/07/17/ottawa-pbs-rogers-cable-members-funding.html). A facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=129996611631) was setup to oppose this decision, which they took without consultation. Rogers has, as a result of that and other efforts, now reversed themselves (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2009/07/30/ottawa-watertown-pbs-rogers.html).

Where I see the 'net effecting our politics is in the realm of temporal immediacy. Basically, I suspect that the frequency distribution of indiviual efforts and collective action is conditioning our political actors (corporations, politicians, etc.) to react quickly to popular groundswells and embarassment. That's at a minimun.

I think that we could also look at how is has and is changing the geographical scope of warfare. For example, fairly cheap and sophisticated use of 'net 2.0 technologies enhance the probability of homegrown terrorism both by indoctrination (those interpretive templates i was mentioning earlier) and by providing do it yourself methodologies. Are these having a political effect? Yup - we can see it in the creation of DHS and in recent suggestions that Americans should be taught to spy on each other (http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/07/29/us-terrorism-homeland-security-napolitano072909.html).

Having said all that, my thinking has been profoundly and usefully effected by SWJ. I actually think 18 months here equates to 5 years on intense study in terms of getting from where I was to where I am, but I may be emotively overstating the case! :wry:

LOL - definitely!!!!!

Bob's World
07-30-2009, 10:06 PM
Changes in the rate and availability of information drive changes in governance, often through violent uprisings of a newly empowered populace.

The invention of the printing press sparked in information age that led to the Renaissance (growth of art and science), the Age of Discovery (western colonization of the world), and the Reformation (Radical Christianity used as ideology to overthrow the Holy Roman Empire's chokehold on Europe). Powerful stuff when the government loses control of information.

The invention of electronic communications contributed to the demise of the British Empire and as cell phones and internet communications democratize information even more is serving to empower populaces to rise up to challenge similar governments that draw their sovereignty more from external sources than they do from the populace of the region.

Washington can draw lessons from what happens when sovereignty is attempted to be exerted from Rome or London in the face of a populace empowered by new tools of information and avoid their fate, or it can ignore those lessons and share in their fate.

Never underestimate the attractive force of freedom on man to motivate him to take on the greatest challenge, or the empowering effect of information, both to make him aware that better options exist and to facilitate his ability to organize his Resistence movement to achieve it.

This is why I believe that the number one priority of the US's GWOT efforts (or deterrence of irregular threats efforts) is to understand and address or avoid such perceptions of inappropriate US legitimacy over the governance of others. Track a "foreign fighter" back to his home and you will likely find just such perceptions.

This is the challenge of our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as it is very difficult indeed to avoid such perceptions when one begins by taking down the existing government and replacing it with another. Sustained efforts to increase the effectiveness of those same governments only serves to increase the perception of US legitimacy over them. This not only makes them more susceptible to insurgency themselves, but the US more susceptible to attack from these insurgent forces who are apt to believe that phase one to any successful insurgency at home must be to break the source of this inappropriate external legitimacy.

A bit of a quandary, but to understand it is the first step in addressing it.

Entropy
07-30-2009, 11:20 PM
BW,

I'd like to hear more about this deterrence of irregular threats. What kind of threats are you talking about specificially?

Taiko
07-30-2009, 11:24 PM
If our current campaign is primarily about deterrence (this is what militaries do in times of peace); and it is not really GWOT, then what is it? The concept that I am playing with is to shift it from a campaign focused (in name) on countering terrorism to one focused on Deterrence of Irregular Threats.It also allows for a much more positive narrative that our allies and own non-DOD agencies can much more readily get on board with.

Sounds good in theory:

1. How do you deter an individual or group of individuals with no fixed address?

2. How do you deter an individual or group of individual who a) are not afraid to die b) prefer the consequence/cost, and in some cases the reward of death, over inaction?

I've been having a look at this subject area for some time now and concur with David that this is very worthy of a thread of its own.

Where I suspect we disagree is on the nature of causality. I view "causality" in an inductive format, i.e. by changing the frequency distribution of a particular behaviour, that technology has "caused" that behaviour to change. The social understandings at the time of those changes are the "ideas" which, since they are embedded in the change themselves, are "created" by that change. I know, it sounds post-moderninst, but it actually isn't

I view causality deductively within the framework of power, in this case political power. Your ontological framework of preferencing behaviour is problematic in the sense that it is conditioned by the presence, or lack there of, of power, or the aspiration for power. Power, more specifically political power is the independent variable and behaviour is the dependent variable. All the technological innovations you have cited and the 'change in behaviour' they have created are examples of human's attempting to control the minds and actions of other humans, they are examples of aspirations for power. In short the exercise of power (the why) that has been a ongoing condition of human nature's struggle for power and, it will continue, despite the advances in technology (the how). You are correct in highlighting the variations in how this struggle for power takes place, but it does not change the struggle for power. There is no neo-marxist or liberal condition which will see technology as the route to the perfection of man and the end of history. The theoretical position itself, the belief that it will change behaviour, is an exercise in power! Rather than a linear progression of history there is an enduring cyclical quality based on the struggle for power at the domestic and international level. Hence, war, the use of violence, is the continuation of politics by other means. To draw on a poker analogy: I'll see your Alex Wendt and raise you one Hans Morgenthau :D

goesh
07-31-2009, 12:09 AM
this section is turning me into a hippy again and I'm going to have to start wearing my ju-ju in order to attempt to evey try to keep up...

marct
07-31-2009, 01:19 AM
Hi Taiko,

I view causality deductively within the framework of power, in this case political power.

And which framework would that be, since there are several that use that term?

Your ontological framework of preferencing behaviour is problematic in the sense that it is conditioned by the presence, or lack there of, of power, or the aspiration for power. Power, more specifically political power is the independent variable and behaviour is the dependent variable.

Behaviour is empirical - you can see it; "power" isn't, it has to be inferred. Also, at least as far as research methods are concerned, even within a nomonological-deductive framework in the social sciences, you can always exchange the dependant ind independant variables. A strict deductive methodology that doesn't allow that is usually called a theology :D.

All the technological innovations you have cited and the 'change in behaviour' they have created are examples of human's attempting to control the minds and actions of other humans, they are examples of aspirations for power.

That is certainly one interpretation, but it isn't the only one. I'm begining to suspect either a Marxian or Foucauldian framework, with a touch of Nietzsche.

In short the exercise of power (the why) that has been a ongoing condition of human nature's struggle for power and, it will continue, despite the advances in technology (the how).

Personally, I think you are confusing the potentiality for power (however that may be defined) with the socio-technical conditions that allow for or inhibit the practice of power. You might want to take a look at Stewart Clegg's Frameworks of Power (http://www.amazon.com/Frameworks-Power-Stewart-R-Clegg/dp/0803981619/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_5).

You are correct in highlighting the variations in how this struggle for power takes place, but it does not change the struggle for power. There is no neo-marxist or liberal condition which will see technology as the route to the perfection of man and the end of history.

That sounds like one of your axiomatix assumptions. As to the teleological implications, I don't subscribe those implications - I'm more along the lines of a neo-Darwinian that a Teilhard de Chardin.

The theoretical position itself, the belief that it will change behaviour, is an exercise in power!

Sounds like another axiomatic assumption - did you want an "Amen, Brother" after it :D?

More seriously, anyone who doesn't think that changes in technology will cause (in the inductive sense I described earlier) changes in behaviour needs to seriously rethink their position. Is that an "exercise in power"? Maybe... what is your definition of power?

Rather than a linear progression of history there is an enduring cyclical quality based on the struggle for power at the domestic and international level. Hence, war, the use of violence, is the continuation of politics by other means.

Neitzsche meets CvC, with Foucault hosting the lovefest!

To draw on a poker analogy: I'll see your Alex Wendt and raise you one Hans Morgenthau :D

I'll see your Morgenthau and raise you a Dilthey :cool:.

Cheers,

Marc

slapout9
07-31-2009, 01:27 AM
Here is my theory..... we haven't done COIN since the Civil War and that is the only way it can be done...the failing government fights back against the rebelling forces and either wins or gets overthrown. What the US does a lot of is to use COIN TTP's in what I was taught in Law Enforcement as Karpman's triangle.

The triangle has an attacker...a victum....and a rescuer. The US often plays the role of rescuer with all the dangers that it involves including having the victim turn against you.:eek:
Apply this triangle consistently in the daily news and you will see it is the source of many if not all US problems.

Randy if you have time (being the psychologist and all) perhaps you could expand upon the triangle for SWC especially since you have an LE back round.

Ken White
07-31-2009, 01:36 AM
had a Tu-tu? :D

Taiko
07-31-2009, 02:51 AM
And which framework would that be, since there are several that use that term?

1. Power is an individual's capacity to act, but above all to influence the actions or feelings of other individuals.

2. Power is the capacity of a political unit to impose its will on other units.


Behaviour is empirical - you can see it; "power" isn't, it has to be inferred.

Power is empirical, it can be measured by the number of the barrel of guns being pointed at me, or the votes cast in a ballet box. It can be measured by the resources, including technological, a individual or state brings to bear in order to impose its will on another individual or political unit to change their behaviour. This can be measured when the will to resist ceases: they stop shooting at me and blowing stuff up, or accept the vote as valid and prepare for the next election cycle. If this was not the case then the balance of power would be a hollow phrase indeed. The material sources of power are easily measured, the ideational sources of power less so.

Also, at least as far as research methods are concerned, even within a nomonological-deductive framework in the social sciences, you can always exchange the dependant ind independant variables. A strict deductive methodology that doesn't allow that is usually called a theology :D.

Far from being a theology, a deductive approach can build a phenomenological abstraction which can provide a superior generalization of the cause and effect of the phenomenon being studied. I'll take one CvC for a bus load of Jominis or Bulows any day of the week.

Personally, I think you are confusing the potentiality for power (however that may be defined) with the socio-technical conditions that allow for or inhibit the practice of power.

Not at all. I am speaking truth to power. I am pointing out that your theoretical proposition is itself an exercise in power. The mask of ontology and methodology can only hide an ideology for so long :D


Sounds like another axiomatic assumption - did you want an "Amen, Brother" after it :D?

More seriously, anyone who doesn't think that changes in technology will cause (in the inductive sense I described earlier) changes in behaviour needs to seriously rethink their position.

Hello pot meet the kettle. This statement is a tautology based on a teleological assumption arrived at via induction. You have identified the effect, now lets finish the proposition by identifying the cause, the struggle for power.

I'll see your Dilthey and raise you an Aron :D

marct
07-31-2009, 03:37 AM
Power is an individual's capacity to act, but above all to influence the actions of feelings of other individuals.

Power is the capacity of a political unit to impose its will on other units.

Oi vey! Talk about a mishmosh! Three different definitions without significatory distinctions? Definitely Foucault mixed with Neitzsche!

Power is empirical it can be measured by the barrel of a gun or the ballet box.

Ridiculous. Those are merely indicators of potential actions (behaviours) and the socio-cultural acceptance of such indicators. If these were indicators of empirical power, then the US would not exist (the Brits had more guns and there was never a vote in the fullest sense in the thirteen colonies for succession).

It can be measured by the resources a individual or state brings to bear in order to impose its will on another individual or political unit. If this was not the case then the balance of power would be a hollow phrase indeed.

If it was the case, then the Taliban would not be operational any more. And "balance of power" is an empty phrase unless you have a better definition of power.

Far from being a theology, a deductive approach can be a phenomenological abstraction which will can provide a superior generalization of the cause and effect of the phenomenon being studied. I'll take one CvC for a bus load of Jomini's any day of the week.

Most theologies are phenomenological abstractions. The generalization might be "superior", then again it may not be. If you look at the history of science, one thing that is pretty clear is that rigid, deductive models that metastesize into theologies are always overthrown by inductive models (check out Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions (http://www.amazon.com/Structure-Scientific-Revolutions-Thomas-Kuhn/dp/1443255386/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1249006555&sr=1-1)).

Not at all. I am speaking truth to power.

Always good to see people spouting theological truisms, especially when they are taken from theologies that would disagree totally with what you have said so far - I doubt the Quakers would agree with your definitions of power :D.

I am pointing out that your theoretical proposition is itself an exercise in power. The mask of ontology and methodology can only hide an ideology for so long :D

All theoretical models are, loosely speaking, exercises in power. As yto your second statement, right back at ya ;).

More seriously, anyone who doesn't think that changes in technology will cause (in the inductive sense I described earlier) changes in behaviour needs to seriously rethink their position.



You know, I think you need a dictionary! Check out exactly what teleology means:

[QUOTE]Teleology (Greek (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_%28language%29): telos: end, purpose) is the philosophical (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy) study of design and purpose (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purpose). A teleological school of thought is one that holds all things to be designed for or directed toward a final result, that there is an inherent purpose or final cause for all that exists.
Source (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleology)

What, pray tell, do you see in my statement either implying a metaphysical "purpose" or "design", or a direction to a final result? You, on t'other hand along with many others in the Realist School of IR, automatically assume a telelogical position by asserting the "struggle for power" as both a cause and an end.

The danger with such a position is that you already know the cause - "now lets finish the proposition by identifying the cause, the struggle for power". That is a theological position.

Taiko
07-31-2009, 04:43 AM
Oi vey! Talk about a mishmosh! Three different definitions without significatory distinctions? Definitely Foucault mixed with Neitzsche!

Hardly a mishmosh, more a accurate explanation of reality, rather than a normative descriptive exercise that bleeds the concept of all meaning. You are way off base with Foucault and Neitzschel. I am not a naval gazer, try Machiavelli instead, I'm more interested in praxis.


Ridiculous. Those are merely indicators of potential actions (behaviours) and the socio-cultural acceptance of such indicators. If these were indicators of empirical power, then the US would not exist (the Brits had more guns and there was never a vote in the fullest sense in the thirteen colonies for succession).

One of the problems with an inductive approach. Mistaking specifics for a generalisation. I stand by my statement that the casting of a vote is a direct measurement of power in a democracy. I'll take your point that the amount of force a person/political unit brings to bear in order to impose their will is an indirect measurement of power.



If it was the case, then the Taliban would not be operational any more. And "balance of power" is an empty phrase unless you have a better definition of power.

Ever heard of an organisation called ISI and A'Q? Apparently they have very deep pockets. A fascinating study of how to measure power via the resources an individual or political unit brings to bear in imposing their will. Quite a practical one as well, if this was not the case in reality, then was the attempts by the US to cut off funding to A'Q merely an aberration of my imagination? Or am I being too subjective in accounting for reality in objectively determining the cause as being the struggle for power?

Balance of power is a correct phrase to explain the reality of the role of power in domestic and international politics



Most theologies are phenomenological abstractions. The generalization might be "superior", then again it may not be. If you look at the history of science, one thing that is pretty clear is that rigid, deductive models that metastesize into theologies are always overthrown by inductive models (check out Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions (http://www.amazon.com/Structure-Scientific-Revolutions-Thomas-Kuhn/dp/1443255386/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1249006555&sr=1-1)).

Always? So far you have presented a normative argument that bears very little resemblance to reality and confused specifics for generalisations.

Always good to see people spouting theological truisms, especially when they are taken from theologies that would disagree totally with what you have said so far - I doubt the Quakers would agree with your definitions of power :D.

Don't you mean what you disagree with what I have said so far? Quakers are not trying to impose their ideology on other people.


What, pray tell, do you see in my statement either implying a metaphysical "purpose" or "design", or a direction to a final result? You, on t'other hand along with many others in the Realist School of IR, automatically assume a telelogical position by asserting the "struggle for power" as both a cause and an end.The danger with such a position is that you already know the cause - "now lets finish the proposition by identifying the cause, the struggle for power". That is a theological position.

Hardly. The roads to human power and knowledge lie close together and are nearly the same; nevertheless on account of perniciousness and inveterate habit of dwelling on abstractions, it is safer to begin and raise the sciences from those foundations which have relation to practice, and let the active part be as the seal which prints and determines the contemplative counterpart (Novum Organum). I don't assume I prove via fact that in reality the struggle for power is the cause. I do not arrive at that statement by applying a tautology based on a teleological assumption arrived at via induction. The struggle of power is the cause the ends of that struggle is the imposition of an individual or political units will over another individual or political unit. Considering that is the reality of what you are doing right now, how can you conflate those two distinction as being the same? Just because reality does not conform to your theory does not mean that reality is false, just may be, your theory is false. You should reread Kuhn. I'll save you the trouble of rebutting this statement by rebutting your next statement. Are you making an objective statement that all reality is subjective?

goesh
07-31-2009, 01:57 PM
"All the technological innovations you have cited and the 'change in behaviour' they have created are examples of human's attempting to control the minds and actions of other humans, they are examples of aspirations for power. In short the exercise of power (the why) that has been a ongoing condition of human nature's struggle for power and, it will continue, despite the advances in technology (the how)." ((Taiko))

It seems some fundamentals of physics are being ignored in this general discussion of animate and inanimate matter, the sentient and non-sentient, that all matter is energy and vibratory and each exerts an influence upon the other. Physicists have no problem thinking in 4 dimensions but we tend to stay in 3 and pay homeage to our Judeo-Christian heritage admirably, where man (mind) is the center and reigns supreme at all times, rather God-like. Life is just not that static and predictable. In the bush in W. Africa there were a few guys that wore ju-jus for protection from knife attacks. I met one and scoffed at him. He took off his ju-ju and told me to cut his arm, very lightly with my knife, I put a small cut on the inside of his forearm, he held the ju-ju in his hand and told me to try again and with the same general force I did and he was not cut the second time- reminded me of the principle of an antibiotic. All this really means is while some folks extrapolate this out to the Nth degree of probabilitiy/rationality and accountability in 3 dimensional thinking, others generate X amount of matter and thought interactions that create, grow, stagnate and decline (4) , equally. That's my tangent for the day.

rborum
07-31-2009, 02:01 PM
Consistent with Gumz' concern about not pigeonholing conflicts.....

"Looking at irregular warfare as being one kind of conflict and conventional warfare as a discreet kind of warfare is an outdated concept," said Defense Secretary Robert Gates. "Conflict in the future will slide up and down a scale, both in scope and in lethality."

Might a Hoffman-esque Hybrid framework be replacing the "IW" brand?

Bob's World
07-31-2009, 02:33 PM
Consistent with Gumz' concern about not pigeonholing conflicts.....

"Looking at irregular warfare as being one kind of conflict and conventional warfare as a discreet kind of warfare is an outdated concept," said Defense Secretary Robert Gates. "Conflict in the future will slide up and down a scale, both in scope and in lethality."

Might a Hoffman-esque Hybrid framework be replacing the "IW" brand?

All war is, and always has been "hybrid" under the definitions proposed by Mr. Hoffman and his ilk. Simiarly we have always needed to be prepared to deal with a wide range of conflicts that fall across a broad range of lethality as indicated by Secretary Gates.

To me, the only form of war that could be described as "hybrid" is a true Civil War; as it combines aspects of State vs State conflict with aspects of Populace vs State Conflict. These two types of war while similar on their face or to the rifleman in the frontlines; are extremely different in their strategic construct. Understanding these differences helps shape effective policies, strategies, campagin plans, operations, tactics, etc for a true success.

To say that state actors will also employ para-military elements, or enlist the support of other states, tribes, clubs or individuals who they think might help their cause is as old as warfare itself.

This goes to an earlier position I have made on here. We conducted Cold War operations (VERY irregular in the history of man) for so long we came to see that model as the norm, or "regular": We have been struggling to name everything since as some type of "irregular", be it 4GW, hybrid, Global insurgency, etc. i.e. "current warfare is only irregular if the Cold War was 'regular'"

I understand exactly what Secretary Gates means when he makes statements like that; but I also disagree with the line of logic that the "experts" have been handing him. It shouldn't bug me, but it does.

William F. Owen
07-31-2009, 02:34 PM
"Looking at irregular warfare as being one kind of conflict and conventional warfare as a discreet kind of warfare is an outdated concept," said Defense Secretary Robert Gates. "Conflict in the future will slide up and down a scale, both in scope and in lethality."
When in the entire history of warfare, were there ever discrete forms of warfare? It's not "outdated." Such a time never existed!
Might a Hoffman-esque Hybrid framework be replacing the "IW" brand?
Likewise, Hybrid warfare has always existed. Frank Hoffman is using Hybrid as a way of forcing people to think. It's like putting training wheels on a kid's bike for folks not comfortable with being outside the box they created - and as such is useful, if limited to that purpose.

Bob's World
07-31-2009, 02:40 PM
Oh, and for those who would like me to begin a thread to further explore the concept of employing "Deterrence of Irregular Threats" as a new and more effective focus for the "Son of GWOT," I will gladly do so, but am busy tuning that same concept up to set on the SOCOM J5's desk and to inject into the QDR.

marct
07-31-2009, 02:43 PM
Hi Bob's World,

To me, the only form of war that could be described as "hybrid" is a true Civil War; as it combines aspects of State vs State conflict with aspects of Populace vs State Conflict. These two types of war while similar on their face or to the rifleman in the frontlines; are extremely different in their strategic construct. Understanding these differences helps shape effective policies, strategies, campagin plans, operations, tactics, etc for a true success.

How would you define a "true" civil war? Would you hold that it requires a state framework, or would a non-state framework work as well. I'm asking because in some ways a large part of the conflct in Afghanistan can be described as a Pashtun civil war analogically quite similar to the English civil war.

Cheers,

Marc

Bob's World
07-31-2009, 02:50 PM
Hi Bob's World,



How would you define a "true" civil war? Would you hold that it requires a state framework, or would a non-state framework work as well. I'm asking because in some ways a large part of the conflct in Afghanistan can be described as a Pashtun civil war analogically quite similar to the English civil war.

Cheers,

Marc

Because one segment of the populace broke off and formed a new state and engaged on state on state conflict; but with the underlying unescapable fact that both separate states once were one, and success for the north was to make them one once again.

Perhaps Vietnam as well, as it too was one state broken into two, that fought as two states while also having that same inescapable fact that it was once one. In that regard, come to think of it, the South in Vietnam was much like the South in America. They fought to remain separate, while the north fought to preserve the union.

marct
07-31-2009, 03:00 PM
Hi Bob's World,

Because one segment of the populace broke off and formed a new state and engaged on state on state conflict; but with the underlying unescapable fact that both separate states once were one, and success for the north was to make them one once again.

I get the impression that you would consider a contiguous geographic area as a requirement as well. Actually, that issue was why I used the English Civil War as an example - both sides had state constructs although different, but neither side had a fully contiguous land area; somewhat similar to Afghanistan right now.

Perhaps Vietnam as well, as it too was one state broken into two, that fought as two states while also having that same inescapable fact that it was once one. In that regard, come to think of it, the South in Vietnam was much like the South in America. They fought to remain separate, while the north fought to preserve the union.

So would you then view a true civil war only as one in which the goal of one side is the breakup of a larger state into successor states? How would you characterize a civil war where the breakup of the larger state is not a desired end state? Or one where the geographic boundaries of a state are not recognized by one party in the fight?

William F. Owen
07-31-2009, 03:08 PM
Actually, that issue was why I used the English Civil War as an example - both sides had state constructs although different, but neither side had a fully contiguous land area; somewhat similar to Afghanistan right now.....

So would you then view a true civil war only as one in which the goal of one side is the breakup of a larger state into successor states?

...but the English Civil was nothing to do with the autonomy or the creation separate states. It was an entirely to do with the absolute authority of the king. It was a war about the type of government.

There are as many causes of civil wars as there are any other type of war or even "insurgencies." What is more, attempting to differentiate these things gets us no further forward.

Entropy
07-31-2009, 03:21 PM
What about East Pakistan?

Bob's World
07-31-2009, 03:21 PM
So given Marc and WILF's points, I would say that the "English Civil War" belongs in that HUGE pile of historic misnomers.

More accurately, it was a revolutionary insurgency.
(I classify insurgencies into three broad categories: Separatist, Revolutionary, and Resistence)

I Iraq we had all three types of insurgency going on at once; in Afghanistan we have at least two; and anyplace that the US goes there will be causation (though it may not manifest into actual conflict) for a resistence insurgency. How we act can temper the effects of that causation, but only our departure can remove the causation.

marct
07-31-2009, 03:24 PM
Hi Wilf,

...but the English Civil was nothing to do with the autonomy or the creation separate states. It was an entirely to do with the absolute authority of the king. It was a war about the type of government.

I agree, it was over the type of government which, I would argue, is what is going on in Afghanistan right now. The Taliban want one type of government, NATO wants another type and many individual people and groups want still another type. Personally, I don't think that a civil war requires the creation of separate successor states - I view that as a sub-set of civil wars.

There are as many causes of civil wars as there are any other type of war or even "insurgencies." What is more, attempting to differentiate these things gets us no further forward.

I agree as to the multiplicity of causes, but I'll disagree with you on whether or not that gets thing further forward ;). If the desired end state of one group is to create a successor state, then we can pretty much predict what components of their strategy will be (generally defensive militarily, although a TKO strike is a definite option; a long war with an emphasis on diplomatic recognition; etc.). The same holds true for a war about forms of governance, although the general strategy would be somewhat different and include a much greater degree of education / indoctrination (IO, PR, etc.) and much less reliance on diplomancy.

Bob's World
07-31-2009, 03:32 PM
I really don't think much about Civil Wars, so I pulled this from Wikipedia:

"A civil war is a war between organized groups within a single nation state[1], or, less commonly, between two nations created from a formerly-united nation state[2]"

Given this, I stand by my position that the Eglish example was an insurgency, as one player was the state, correct?

So if it breaks into two states, and they fight: Civil War
If two organized groups within the state fight each other: Civil War
If an organized group fights the sitting power to either change it, break away from it, or remove it as in iligitimate outsider: Insurgency.

Mr. Webster may differ, but that's how I see it.

marct
07-31-2009, 03:33 PM
Hi Bob's World,

So given Marc and WILF's points, I would say that the "English Civil War" belongs in that HUGE pile of historic misnomers.

More accurately, it was a revolutionary insurgency.
(I classify insurgencies into three broad categories: Separatist, Revolutionary, and Resistence)

Ahh, okay, I can live with that type of differentiation. Personally, I would call your first two types "civil wars", but that's a case of using a different signifier for similar concepts - a moot point.

marct
07-31-2009, 03:39 PM
I really don't think much about Civil Wars, so I pulled this from Wikipedia:

"A civil war is a war between organized groups within a single nation state[1], or, less commonly, between two nations created from a formerly-united nation state[2]"

Given this, I stand by my position that the Eglish example was an insurgency, as one player was the state, correct?

Not quite, they were both "the state". It hinged on a question of the source of legitimacy - the divine right of the King or the actions of a rump parliament.

So if it breaks into two states, and they fight: Civil War
If two organized groups within the state fight each other: Civil War
If an organized group fights the sitting power to either change it, break away from it, or remove it as in iligitimate outsider: Insurgency.

Then by those definitions, the English Civil War was a civil war of the second type (two organized groups). Both sides had roughly equal legal legitimacy (or illegitimacy - take your pick).

William F. Owen
07-31-2009, 03:54 PM
Given this, I stand by my position that the English example was an insurgency, as one player was the state, correct?

How so? According to the King, the Parliament rebelled against him. According to the Parliament, he exceeded his authority and sought power he was not entitled to.

Given that, who is the insurgent?

....and what about La Violencia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Violencia)?

Bob's World
07-31-2009, 04:03 PM
How so? According to the King, the Parliament rebelled against him. According to the Parliament, he exceeded his authority and sought power he was not entitled to.

Given that, who is the insurgent?

....and what about La Violencia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Violencia)?

So, if the two organized groups are within the government it is "civil" war. I can certainly buy into that.

I'm not sure what to call it when the two organized groups are outside the government and battling each other, but not the government; not very "civil"; but perhaps more than a feud...

William F. Owen
07-31-2009, 04:11 PM
I'm not sure what to call it when the two organized groups are outside the government and battling each other, but not the government; not very "civil"; but perhaps more than a feud...
You may be right, but....
Sunni Miltia v Shia Militia? Tutsi v Hutu? Pashutn v anybody? Anyone still want to call these things "insurgencies?"

marct
07-31-2009, 04:39 PM
I'm not sure what to call it when the two organized groups are outside the government and battling each other, but not the government; not very "civil"; but perhaps more than a feud...

I suspect that that would depend on the form of government :wry:. I've been trying to think of examples and the ones that pop to mind are gang fights, clan feuds (e.g. Scots-English border raids) and, occasionally, outright "wars" (in the Holy Roman Empire). On the whole, I am really hesitant to use the post-Westphalian state as the basis for any general model of conflict.

Bob's World
07-31-2009, 05:21 PM
I suspect that that would depend on the form of government :wry:. I've been trying to think of examples and the ones that pop to mind are gang fights, clan feuds (e.g. Scots-English border raids) and, occasionally, outright "wars" (in the Holy Roman Empire). On the whole, I am really hesitant to use the post-Westphalian state as the basis for any general model of conflict.


Marc,

Are you suggesting that somehow the Western post-Westphalian view is not the only version of what "right" looks like? or that every state that either fails or refuses to adopt such a construct is not a "Failed state" demanding immediate fixing??? :)


I probably do use modern western words, but hey, here I am. But I don't see how this would not apply equally well to Kingdoms, or looser confederated empires like the one led by Genghis Khan, etc. A Sovereign of some nature equating to a state.

William F. Owen
07-31-2009, 05:27 PM
Whoah there! You do not have to be a state to conduct warfare. Why is this held to be important?
You merely have to have a collective policy that you wish to advocate by violence. That's it.

marct
07-31-2009, 05:39 PM
Hi Bob,

Are you suggesting that somehow the Western post-Westphalian view is not the only version of what "right" looks like? or that every state that either fails or refuses to adopt such a construct is not a "Failed state" demanding immediate fixing??? :)

Yup :D!

I probably do use modern western words, but hey, here I am. But I don't see how this would not apply equally well to Kingdoms, or looser confederated empires like the one led by Genghis Khan, etc. A Sovereign of some nature equating to a state.

I suspect it would apply to many kingdoms and some confederacy "empires" (although I suspect that would only be true if they had a history of a "Royal [Noble] Tribe"). I don't think it would really apply to the Iroquois Confederacy, merchantile "empires" such as Venice, most pastoralist groups, or many other social forms we've had in our history.

Even in situations where the "sovereign" is incarnate, we have some problems with it (e.g. Machiavelli's distinction between the first amongst equals of the west and the Eastern despot). Things, to my mind, get trickier still when we bare dealing with discarnate sovereigns such as a God or Goddess (e.g. the Sumerian city states), a Constitution, etc. In that case, the "sovereign" can't "speak" for "themselves, but rely upon a group of people who constantly interpret the "will" of the "sovereign" - often in mutually contradictory ways ;).

Honestly, I don't know what terminology would work best for our current situations :wry:. I'm leery of using the post-Westphalian terminology because it assumes too many things that, IMO, just aren't present.

goesh
08-03-2009, 05:16 PM
(wrong thread/wrong post)