Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Suggested Wisdom II

Friend D of Swapping Cows for Beans discusses, explores and criticizes 4GW framework.

"The scientific/biological analogy and the topic of Popper/Historicism brings up the point of war as an art or science. If specific definitions of words like generation, or species, are to be introduced to describe phenomenon, then I would think that there would be some methodological rigour in how you gather that information. Dialectics doesn't cut it for me. It would have to be along the lines of the scientific method."

Catholicgauze "gets" Hezbollah beyond popular convention.

"They will not try to take over the country by force, too messy. Instead they will use the political process to keep Hezbollah armed and in charge of their microstate while they try to bring Lebanon itself in line with Hezbollah's goals."

Via Sklok Vaidya this blog, Self-Sustaining Community, that seeks to carry John Robbs recommendations regarding a decentralized approach to the "Long War."

"We've all read the BNW and have some ideas about how we can affect security in our own back yards. Let's start sharing those ideas in this blog."

The Strategist summarizes a study released by the British army regarding the near 40 year long conflict with Northern Ireland.

"There is no magic formula that guarantees success. Organizations, methods and systems developed in one conflict can be exported to other theatres, but must be adapted to local conditions."

Good stuff


strategist said...

Soob - thanks for the link.

Baron D. said...

Thanks for the link. You chose one of the paragraphs in the critique I thought was particularly weak in its argument haha (in that I didn't explain the strengths of the scientific method over the dialectic, nor the likenesses and differences between the two, something I may return to in another post).

The idea from that post actually came from one of your recent 5gw posts about Lind. I needed to go back and visit the framework of how the primary 4gw theorists came to their conclusions and, eventually, see if those same frameworks transferred over, or predicted, a 5GW. I had actually started re-reading Van Creveld's 'Transformation of War', then I came to the conclusion that Van Creveld is less a framework for predicting generations of war, then a description of the nature of war itself, in this case known as the fourth generation by Hammes/Lind et. al. So, for the moment, I've decided to skip Van Creveld and go straight to the other early theorist like Hammes [1] who has a different methodological approach to the generations of warfare (though I may make a post outlining why I skipped Van Creveld).

Eventually I hope to make it all the way to the current 5gw theorists and their framework, especially TDAXP's idea of using the OODA loop for modelling the generations (and the systems/iterative approach which is similar in nature to the dialectic).

Super-Long Footnote

1. Like I blathered on in that email I think Hammes may be correct with the bioterrorism aspect of 5gw and I think I can explain where he might have got that thought. Hammes definition of 4gw from Sling and the Stone is: "It uses all available networks- political, economic, social, and military - to convince the enemy's political decision makers that their strategic goals are either unachieveable or too costly for the perceived benefit ... 4gw makes use of society's networks to carry on its fight." So that is Hammes thesis of 4gw: summed up as Netwar (obviously extrapolating from the theories of Ronfeldt and Arquilla). Hammes antithesis would consist of ideas or technology that would expose the internal contradictions, incompleteness, and unsatisfactory nature of the networks/netwar. In this case: viruses and bioterrorism because it exploits the small world problem of networks. I'm of course, not talking just of creating epidemics but also of targeting the clustered networks within each of the domains that Hammes talks about. An example, that I've made before, is releasing a highly potent strain of influenza within the tight packed room of a trading floor, something that would disrupt an economic network to some degree. Of course, it's early days, and the ideas that exploit the network aspect of 4gw will probably be more devasting.

Dan tdaxp said...

RE: the need to make the generations of war approach more rigurous... I agree.

subadei said...


I'm looking forward to cross-blogospheric conversations regarding this and many other subjects.

I chose that bit because it demonstrated both cynicism and depth. I honestly hadn't looked so deep though now that you mention it...
I see zero prediction of 5GW via Lind. Hammes touches upon 5GW (quite in agreement with our previous correspondence) via bioterror, yet leaves a void to be filled as 5GW travels well beyond the kinetic (IMO) and into (and through) pervasive ideology.

Imagine beyond the Super Empowered Individual to the Super Empowered Ideology.


More rigorous but (and this seems dichotomous) less constricting.