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  1. #41
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I'm looking at political warfare as practiced by other actors, not just the U.S. If part of PW is defense, perhaps counter UW in this case, then we need to understand the different strategies that may be employed against us. Sounds like you are focused on how the U.S. can employ it?
    I am not looking at it as practiced by anyone. I am looking at it from a generic point of view. How does what I have said makes it U.S. unique?
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  2. #42
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I'm looking at political warfare as practiced by other actors, not just the U.S. If part of PW is defense, perhaps counter UW in this case, then we need to understand the different strategies that may be employed against us. Sounds like you are focused on how the U.S. can employ it?
    I am pretty sure no one in the U.S.A. believes that Autocratic Systems are anything but oppressive governments where the population are downtrodden slaves who have no choice but to obey their overlords. In their minds there is no such thing as a popularly supported Dictator.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 04-24-2017 at 01:35 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    I am pretty sure no one in the U.S.A. believes that Autocratic Systems are anything but oppressive governments where the population are downtrodden slaves who have no choice but to obey their overlords. In their minds there is no such thing as a popularly supported Dictator.
    True in many cases, not all. However, that gets to my point about security forces being the COG versus a competitive idea or ideology. If the autocratic government is unpopular, then its center of gravity is arguably their control of their security forces. Severing the relationship is not sufficient, the opponent of the autocrat (whether internal or external to the country) still needs to generate a mass movement.

    KJU in DPRK is an extreme case, where many people seemly believe the rest of the world lives in the same condition and KJU is truly the anointed one. However, more information getting in via business contacts, balloons, DVDs, etc. may develop cracks that can be exploited. If messaging from outside via the U.S., China, or South Korea promises a degree of economic and safety status quo to the security forces then a regime change is possible, but it will still be an autocratic government, but maybe one willing to work with the rest of the world?

    Just throwing ideas out, the topic of PW fascinates me, and the Russians actually think we're quite good at it, even if we don't agree

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    Lt. Col.,

    A couple of questions:

    Firstly, are you conflating the terms "war" and "conflict"? The Cold War was a conflict that involved a series of violent wars and non-violent soft power, as well as violent and non-violent criminal activities.

    Secondly, what does victory over or defeat of an adversary look like? For instance, if Putin is overthrown, would a civil war be considered a victory? Was victory achieved in Iraq or Libya? Can containment or deterrent of a threat be considered a victory? Basically defeat can range from behavior modification to incarceration to physical destruction...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Azor View Post
    Lt. Col.,

    A couple of questions:

    Firstly, are you conflating the terms "war" and "conflict"? The Cold War was a conflict that involved a series of violent wars and non-violent soft power, as well as violent and non-violent criminal activities.

    Secondly, what does victory over or defeat of an adversary look like? For instance, if Putin is overthrown, would a civil war be considered a victory? Was victory achieved in Iraq or Libya? Can containment or deterrent of a threat be considered a victory? Basically defeat can range from behavior modification to incarceration to physical destruction...
    To your first point, yes I am conflating the two. I will have to clarify that later.

    To your second, I haven't gotten there yet. However, victory would look different in every situation. Take the Spanish Elections. Al Qaeda used violence (train bombings) for the political purpose of persuading Spain to remove its troops from Iraq. The government that was elected did so. That was victory. Since the point is to influence your adversary to do you will, victory could be as little as getting them to sign a favorable trade deal, or it could be as great as regime change.
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  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    True in many cases, not all. However, that gets to my point about security forces being the COG versus a competitive idea or ideology. If the autocratic government is unpopular, then its center of gravity is arguably their control of their security forces. Severing the relationship is not sufficient, the opponent of the autocrat (whether internal or external to the country) still needs to generate a mass movement.

    KJU in DPRK is an extreme case, where many people seemly believe the rest of the world lives in the same condition and KJU is truly the anointed one. However, more information getting in via business contacts, balloons, DVDs, etc. may develop cracks that can be exploited. If messaging from outside via the U.S., China, or South Korea promises a degree of economic and safety status quo to the security forces then a regime change is possible, but it will still be an autocratic government, but maybe one willing to work with the rest of the world?

    Just throwing ideas out, the topic of PW fascinates me, and the Russians actually think we're quite good at it, even if we don't agree
    I see your point, and will have to address it later. I am hesitant to use the security forces as a singular entity. Think about Turkey, or even Thailand. In both cases the military have been actively involved in supporting or attacking regimes. But also it was not necessarily the security force that had the last word. The general population either supported the military or attacked them. So I am not sure it is as simple as we like.

    I will throw out the next section, which covers supporting PCoG, and will definitely include security forces.
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  7. #47
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    Rough draft - second part of PCoG discussion.

    "Secondary Types. All Political Entities exist within a socio-cultural system. They are a part of that system, but not the only part. Other elements of that system interact with the Political Entity and can either support it or oppose it. The oft cited elements of national power – Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic (DIME) -- are just such elements and represent tools that one nation can use to influence another. But, like tracers, they go both ways.

    There are a myriad of supporting, or secondary types. The easiest way to think of these secondary types is through the metaphor of a man standing on a stool. The man is the primary PCoG. If I can influence him directly, I win. If I can’t, then I must look for another way. The secondary types are the legs of the stool. If I can cut deeply enough into one or more of those legs, I might be able to make the man unsteady, thus influencing the man just as if I had done it directly. Although there are probably dozens of secondary types, this paper only addresses a few.

    Economic System/Support. Humans are economic animals. The complex social systems we build depend on economic activity. The people who make up every polity depend on the economic system to provide them with the opportunity to obtain the goods and services they need to survive and thrive. Even in the most independent of systems, the people still look to the political entity to provide the framework for a dependable economic system.

    Security Forces. Security forces provide the basis of power for all political entities. In the case of a State, these are often the military and/or other security and intelligence agencies. In States, and lessor polities, these can also include private contractors or mercenaries, or militias made up of irregular forces.

    Vassals or Key Supporters. These are individuals who provide the political leadership critical financial, military, or political support. In an Ideological System, these will include the actual leadership.

    Ethnicity. Outside of family, ethnicity is probably the strongest physiological bond humans experience. It is often a critical part of how one defines themselves. It most likely defines what language a person speaks, what type of food the person grew-up eating, what region of the world the person lives, and potentially what religion they believe in as well as a plethora of cultural icons, common myths and fables, and historical stories. It provides an instant connection with others of the same ethnicity.

    Religion. Religions provide not just a set of guiding moral principals, but also a sense of purpose. Religious leaders often are well respected in the community and are looked upon to provide guidance in difficult times.

    Political Ideology. There are many political ideologies. Sometimes these are pure political theories, like Democracy or Anarchy. Sometimes they are a combination of political and economic theory, like Communism, Monarchy, and Socialism. On occasion, the political ideology and the Political System align, as in Democracy, but this is usually not the case. In most cases, the political ideology acts as a framework that bolsters and justifies the Political System. As such, while attacks against a political ideology will be useful, they are unlikely to be dispositive.

    Individual Human Rights. Historically speaking, this is a new concept that is primarily a 17th Century Western invention. This is the idea that each person is a coequal with all other people when it comes to certain aspects of human life. These aspects are usually referred to as rights or freedoms, and include freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom to choose one’s own path in life.

    National myths and Icons. Although often overlooked, a people are also bound by their common myths and Icons. In America, the Icon of Uncle Sam looms large in patriotic symbolism, as do stories of the founding fathers. These icons and stories can be used to support a political leader, or to attack them."
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

    Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
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  8. #48
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Did political warfare exist before the modern nation-state? During feudalism, tribalism, or the ancient Roman/Greek era(s), were there forms of warfare that existed that don't now, or vice versa?

    Realism obviously has a major influence in today's political-military thinking. Even self-professed true believers, whether communist or Islamist or fascist, are met with cynicism about their motives and their actions re-framed in the realist prism, which is a framework for nation-state conflict. But even fascism at its ideological core believed in warfare (and violence generally) as more than just diplomacy by other means- it was a purifying force for the individual and the nation. The state was the tool for war, not war a tool for the state.

    A related question: when machines drive supply convoys, refuel unmanned aircraft, and perform increasingly more complex combat tasks, what happens to warfare? And when there are vast social changes - such as the displacement of factory workers, truck drivers, servers, and warehousing people - what happens to the political system? In some countries, the military forms a portion of the state's social welfare program, keeping the restless employed and off the street. Is that our future?
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    Following a review and with the agreement of the original RFI author I have moved twelve posts - which do not sit here well - to the thread devoted to Russian Disinformation plus.

    So if the exchange seems to stop and start check that thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...=25056&page=23
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    Did political warfare exist before the modern nation-state? During feudalism, tribalism, or the ancient Roman/Greek era(s), were there forms of warfare that existed that don't now, or vice versa?

    Realism obviously has a major influence in today's political-military thinking. Even self-professed true believers, whether communist or Islamist or fascist, are met with cynicism about their motives and their actions re-framed in the realist prism, which is a framework for nation-state conflict. But even fascism at its ideological core believed in warfare (and violence generally) as more than just diplomacy by other means- it was a purifying force for the individual and the nation. The state was the tool for war, not war a tool for the state.
    Realism is useful as far as it goes. But as Clausewitz points out, you must have the passion of the people to complete the Triad of the Government, the Military, and the People. Realism would discount the passion of the people. Besides, the average person does not fight and die for realism.

    Realism cannot explain humanitarian interventions, which date back at least as far as Oliver Cromwell and his military expedition to help the Huguenots in France. Only emotion, and the belief in a ideology (Protestantism) can cause people to go to a foriegn country, in which they have no rational interest, and fight a war.

    In as far as I describe the Ideological Systems, it is to identify a COG. I believe that we have failed to identify the proper COG in groups like ISIS. We fight ISIS like it was any other Autocratic System, but it is not. It's true power does not emanate from al Baghdadi. It emanates from the dream of the Caliphate. At least that is my theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    A related question: when machines drive supply convoys, refuel unmanned aircraft, and perform increasingly more complex combat tasks, what happens to warfare? And when there are vast social changes - such as the displacement of factory workers, truck drivers, servers, and warehousing people - what happens to the political system? In some countries, the military forms a portion of the state's social welfare program, keeping the restless employed and off the street. Is that our future?
    This is a very interesting question, and well beyond me. I have seen strings of it in various places, including Rosa Brooks "How everything became war and the Military became everything." Somewhere out there is a paper (or book) that theorized that the middle class was created to fight wars (not far from the truth, at least in the case of Germany), and that, once robots take over the fighting, there will be no need for the middle class and they will be eliminated by the rich/elite.

    In any case, I am not really in a good position to answer at this time.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 04-25-2017 at 11:57 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    To your first point, yes I am conflating the two. I will have to clarify that later.

    To your second, I haven't gotten there yet. However, victory would look different in every situation. Take the Spanish Elections. Al Qaeda used violence (train bombings) for the political purpose of persuading Spain to remove its troops from Iraq. The government that was elected did so. That was victory. Since the point is to influence your adversary to do you will, victory could be as little as getting them to sign a favorable trade deal, or it could be as great as regime change.
    I prefer the term "conflict" to "war", in this case. When I'm enjoying a UFC match and it turns into a bloody slugfest, I refer to it as a "war" and not a "conflict". Terms such as "economic warfare" and "lawfare" make sense, but for instance, the "Arab-Israeli Conflict" encompasses a number of wars, terrorist acts, police actions and non-violent struggles.

    Indeed, the Spanish response to the Al Qaeda attack was absolutely craven, and contrasted to the French reaction to Daesh's attacks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Azor View Post
    Indeed, the Spanish response to the Al Qaeda attack was absolutely craven, and contrasted to the French reaction to Daesh's attacks.
    But the point is, they got what they wanted. They wanted the Spanish out of Iraq and they got it. They did not have to invade Spain. They did not have to do anything other than the bombing. It is one of the best examples of Terrorism succeeding. Plus, it would only work in a Democratic System. It was the population who capitulated and voted for the party who promised to get Spain out of Iraq. It is a perfect example of what I am talking about.
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    Pardon the interruption, but I posted this link many moons ago, but it is worth resurfacing. I highly recommend watching Occupied on Netflix if you have not done so already. It is germane to the topic on this thread.

    https://www.netflix.com/title/80092654

    Then there was this article in SWJ a couple years back.

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...russian-non-li

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Pardon the interruption, but I posted this link many moons ago, but it is worth resurfacing. I highly recommend watching Occupied on Netflix if you have not done so already. It is germane to the topic on this thread.

    https://www.netflix.com/title/80092654

    Then there was this article in SWJ a couple years back.

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...russian-non-li
    Thanks for the article. I disagree with parts, especially the belief that these campaigns should be run by State, but it is very relevant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Following a review and with the agreement of the original RFI author I have moved twelve posts - which do not sit here well - to the thread devoted to Russian Disinformation plus.

    So if the exchange seems to stop and start check that thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...=25056&page=23
    Then this is an interesting comment simply because if I read the RFI and the resulting comments on "political warfare"...then the current Russian cyber and info warfare BEING used to both support and drive "political warfare" is suddenly what "not political warfare" AS it has "emerged out of a political system which has it's on belief system that is driving that "political war"....

    Makes no sense does it not to totally ignore a major component?

    If in fact we together with Mirco Trend have actually been able to track this Russian state sponsored hacking group and it is a group and it is state sponsored then in fact this element is definitely "political warfare"....

    Read the full report and then tell me seriously this is not a central element of "political warfare" by any definition that one wants to give "political warfare"...even by SWC standards.

    https://documents.trendmicro.com/ass...pawn-storm.pdf

    Taken from the very first paragraph of the RFI if I am correct.....

    I'd like to start a discussion on the sophistication of warfare; I don't mean the development of new technologies (essentially the spear and the rifle are the same weapon insofar they occupy the same space and serve the same purpose), but instead the expanding comprehensiveness of what's considered "warfare" - and, as a subset of that, the emergence of legal norms of what defines acceptable and unacceptable forms of warfare. If war is essentially a political act, then the sophistication of warfare follows the sophistication of political systems. War, in essence, reflects the political system from which it emerges.

    THEN when we are actually confronted as a political system ie "the West" by a true form of "political warfare" that we can see....feel..touch and observe in real time......we do again exactly what...ignore it?

    I could go back and link to a "political warfare article from "War on the Rocks" written in 2014 and the USA SOF White Paper on the same topic titled "Support to Political Warfare" which surprisingly while listed in Google is not available...which now Google cannot find the quoted page.

    Political warfare is the logical application of Clausewitz's doctrine in time of peace. In broadest definition, political warfare is the employment of all the means at a nation's command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives. Such operations are both overt and covert. They range from such overt actions as political alliances, economic measures (as ERP—the Marshall Plan), and "white" propaganda to such covert operations as clandestine support of "friendly" foreign elements, "black" psychological warfare and even encouragement of underground resistance in hostile states.
    If we are actually honest then "political warfare" has been with us since the first time humans formed any form of a "government"....what has changed are the abilities to employ it.

    So when we have a living breathing actual form of it being shoved into our faces every day by Russia then suddenly those elements of "political warfare" are suddenly not part and parcel of political warfare?

    BTW the way ...in this discussion I would like to see an accepted common definition that varies from the standard form...if it in fact varies from the above posted definition....which I do not think it has.
    Last edited by OUTLAW 09; 04-26-2017 at 05:37 AM.

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    If one noticed yesterday the large number of links went to hacked Russian emails of main/key political players actually practicing political warfare you would have been able to "see and understand" the mindset of those using political warfare...now one can see the "political system" in action employing political warfare...AND or one of the first solid articles on the use of Russian transnational gangs a true key element in Russian political warfare...

    We have never really had that opportunity until years later when someone dies and we get access to their achieves.....

    Recently we are being flooded with countless articles on this topic and other topics...deeply researched...well mostly researched...talking and writing but absolutely no research on the how to stop it.

    Heck we cannot even get the current US WH to honestly admit they profited by active Russian influence operations and now we are going to stand up and stop it....

    Until we can get away from nothing, but research articles and not to more ...this is way forward or this is one way of doing it...it is a waste of time..effort..and paper...

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    If I go back to the list of RFI subsets....money is missing....why do I include that...the core Russian soft power lays within their use of money both legal and illegal in obtaining their political warfare goals....

    While it is not such a major issue in the West...other than trying to figure out how to launder it....it is not used really as a "weaponized system" used in political warfare.

    The West tends to use money in the form of financial based organizations...IMF...WorldBank....WTO etc.....to achieve it's goals...

    The Russian Laundromat Exposed

    https://www.occrp.org/en/laundromat/

    Three years ago, OCCRP exposed the “Russian Laundromat” - an immense financial fraud scheme that enabled vast sums to be pumped out of Russia. The money was laundered and moved into Europe and beyond through bribery and a clever exploitation of the Moldovan legal system.
    Recently, OCCRP and Novaya Gazeta obtained detailed banking records for more than 120 accounts that made up the Laundromat. We shared the data with dozens of reporters from around the world who tracked down the money locally. The results are "The Russian Laundromat Exposed" - a new project which reveals far more about how the scheme worked and where the money went. The stories below explain how more than $20.8 billion was taken out of Russia and laundered, who got the money, and why some of the world’s largest banks failed to shut the scheme down.
    We have seen that Russian money flow being used to finance their info and cyber warfare globally...as it cannot be traced back to Russia and or a single Russian bank.....

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    This is exactly why the US cannot and is not capable of responding to Russian political warfare and countering Russian cyber and information warfare....

    "The world is moving too fast for the institutions we created in the 20th century." - General Jones

    That is why social media and IT security companies are in fact leading the pushback...not the US government or it's agencies...and that includes DoD/DoS...as they are not tied to the 20th century structures....

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    Outlaw, when I get to a real computer and can type I want to respond to some comments you made earlier on Kirkullen.

    Right now I want to go back to a point I believe Bill C made, that using the term "Political Warfare" is imprecise and confusing. The obvious alternative is "Political Conflict" but that seems too weak. Does anyone have another suggestion.
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    I wouldn't worry about the confusion, don't define it, but describe it. The description will morph over time as its character changes. Army SF did more harm than good when it narrowly "defined" UW along organizational lines (underground, auxiliary, guerrilla force), which is basically nothing more than another weapon system to coerce. Political warfare is complex and many facets, that is just the way it is. If you do define it you'll have to limit your discussion to the narrow definition you applied to it. I know that is the army way, but then again the army is still trying to figure out how to use military force to achieve political objectives (different than political warfare) in the 21st Century.

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