Monday, August 07, 2006
Israel as 4GW Victory Machine
The Israelis are expert at 4th Generation Wars. This style of war, which focuses on changing the mental orientation of opponents, is normally dangerous for state powers. France lost 4G Wars in Vietnam and Algeria, while the United States was previously set back in Vietnam, Lebanon, and Somalia.
Yet the Israelis are the exception. With a patience often associated with non-state actors, the Jewish State destroyed the nationalist-secularist Palestine Liberation Organization. Exploiting internal divisions among the Palestinian population originally seen during the First Intifada in 1987, Jerusalem began increasing the moral, mental, and physical isolation of the PLO. The first major attack was the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993, a controversial move to delegitimize the PLO by removing its reason for being. Low intensity war (with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat repeatedly maneuvered into the role of the senseless aggressor) waged for more than a decade, with Israel ever working to isolate the PLO from its tools for power.
David's Patient Nation
Israeli Victory came on January 25, 2006, when Hamas (a spin-off of the technocratic-fundamentalist Muslim Brothers) trounced the PLO's main political party, Al-Fatah, in free Palestinian elections.
It appears that Israel is using a similar strategy to build victory in Lebanon. Israel recognizes that isolation leads to defeat, so she attempts to maximize her connectivity while minimizing the connectivity of her enemy, Hezbollah. In particular, Israel is attempting to maximize Hezbollah's physical disconnectivity. Israel's airstrikes against roads and bridges that lead to Syria are widely recognized, but attacks on infrastructure by themselves could not do much. There is no "systempunkt" -- the mythical list of physical infrastructure targets that can permanently destroy an enemy -- so Israel instead focuses on changing the long-term correlation of forces.
Behind the scene diplomacy by Israel and her lobbies forced the military expulsion of Syria from Lebanon. Indeed, Dawlat Israil is turning the security situation of Lebanon on its head, from a Hezbollah-friendly state in the Syrian orbit to a country that faces a French anti-Hezbollah invasion. That prospect was viewed by some as impossible when it was first floated last year, but momentum is building.
In summary, Israel is destroying Hezbollah just like she destroyed the PLO: patiently. Israel is excelling at dual-use attacks, not just degrading Hezbollah's firepower in the short-term but changing the facts on the ground that allow Hezbollah to thrive in the long-term.
It's very weird of you to try to spin Hamas's defeat of Fatah as an Israeli "victory" when Hamas are more hardline dedicated to the destruction of Israel than the PLO were.
If that's victory, then what wouldn't count?
Are Shi'ite death squads going after Sunnis in Baghdad now to be counted as a succesful part of the US take down of Sunni Iraq? Flu epidemic of 1919 as a winning German retaliation for WW1?
What are the criteria of something being legitimately credited to one side or the other? Is mere causal involvement sufficient, or do we have to suppose that Israeli strategists explicitly visualized and took steps intended to bring about that moment of PLO defeat by Hamas? Visualized how clearly?
Perhaps a more important question : is mere "destruction" sufficient to count as "winning"? If breaking stuff is enough to be victory, and there's no commensurate requirement to get the peace working, then we're all in the fast lane to Hell.
Personally, I think that Hezbollah will come out of this far stronger than when they went in. Political process tends to entangle terrorist groups in all sorts of responsibilities and concerns about their image with their home population. Israel just cut them free. Hezbollah can do what they like and the Lebanese will be rooting for them. Even the ones who were out on the streets in the Cedar Revolution last year.
What happened to winning on the moral level? Does severing the mere infrastructural, physical connections outweigh all those new moral connections Hezbollah just gained?
Anyway, rather than pontificate about that, I'd be more interested to see if we can come up with some kind of predictable event which we could both agree would count as evidence either for or against our different views.
Got any suggestions?
Posted by: phil jones | Monday, August 07, 2006
Regarding Fatah, remember isolation as the key to forcing defeat.
First, Israel has 2 nationalist-secularist (Egypt and Syria) and 2 more tribal (Jordan and Lebanon) states as neighbors. No states that neighbor Israel are run by the Muslim Brothers or a similar organization. It is better to have isolated enemies than connected enemies, and the replacement of Fatah by Hamas as governing power of Israel's local resistance has made Israeli's enemies more disconnected.
Second, and more importantly, consider Europe. While the Muslim World is composed mostly of powerless has-beens, good at little else than increasing their own brutality, nastiness, and horror, Europe is a formidable force for Israel. Jerusalem recognizes that the Nationalist government of South Africa fell not from a coalition of hostile African states and an internal opposition, but a coalition of hostile developed states and an internal opposition. The ANC was able to triumph because it was vaguely leftist and vaguely intellectual with a vaguely agreeable leader fighting a government that Europe vaguely disliked. The PLO under Arafat was dangerously close to this description. Happily for Israel, Hamas is much more disgusting for Europe than even a Jewish State. It's better to have an popular enemy than a unpopular enemy. Fatah's fall to Hamas has improved situations in this manner for Israel.
"Take down" and "take over" are useful concepts, but rarely should be seen in binary on-off totality. The correlation of forces is important, because rarely can you destroy an enemy but often you can change the environment of an enemy. Thus Shia death squads strongly deterioriate the correlation of forces for Sunni groups in Iraq, but whether this does or does not improve America's correlation of forces is seperate. Likewise, the Spanish flu harmed Germany's correlation of forces -- but also hurt those of every country everywhere. It doesn't do you good to hurt an enemy if you are hurt too -- especially if you are no longer antagonists!
(This also answers your question, "is mere "destruction" sufficient to count as 'winning"?' Replace "destruction" with "improve your correlation of forces," and you're probably right.)
Concern about Lebanese "rooting for" Hezbollah is substantively meaningless. It barely matters what Lebanese Christians or Lebanese Sunnis think about Hezbollah v. Israel -- is matters a lot what they think of Hezbollah v. Lebanese Catholics or Hezbollah v. Lebanese Sunnis. Tom Barnett wrote of America's public diplomacy: "it’s not about making ourselves seem nicer, but telling a better and far more inclusive story about where we’re trying to move the world"  In the same way, Israel's goal isn't to make Israel seem nicer, to be to show the Catholics and Sunnis that they are moving Lebanon away from Syria and towards France. Politics isn't based on niceness. It's based on interest.
If you're interested, check out my series, "Redefining the Gap"  and for an example of placing predictions to quantitative analysis. I've already built off it. 
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, August 07, 2006
Thinking a bit more about this :
[quote]France lost 4G Wars in Vietnam and Algeria, while the United States was previously set back in Vietnam, Lebanon, and Somalia.
Yet the Israelis are the exception.[/quote]
The real reason the Israelis are exceptional is that they're right in the middle of it. They can't run away like France or the US. They don't have the option of "not staying the course". The course runs right around their house.
Posted by: phil jones | Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Israel could run away. Paris abandoned departments of Metropolitan France in losing Algeria. Losing the struggle against the ANC meant soft ethnic cleansing against whites. Fortunately the Israelis haven't sunk to that level of despair.
On your earlier comment
"What are the criteria of something being legitimately credited to one side or the other? Is mere causal involvement sufficient, or do we have to suppose that Israeli strategists explicitly visualized and took steps intended to bring about that moment of PLO defeat by Hamas? Visualized how clearly?"
You're asking how to define social fingertip feeling  ... Good question...
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, August 08, 2006
"Israel could run away."
Posted by: phil jones | Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Or, rather, the Israelis could run away -- to the same places the white South Africans are running away -- the same place to which the Iranian government wishes they would run away -- Europe.
(See also the removal of whites from Kenya, Indians from Uganda, Russians from Turkmenistan, etc...)
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, August 08, 2006
I'd be interested to know how you define "soft ethnic cleansing".
I suspect that if the whites are running away from South Africa this is largely a matter of choice. They don't want to live in a country where they are no longer a dominant elite and have to accept a majority black culture.
But I don't have a lot of evidence here. Do you have any proof that there's something more sinister going on? I'm not hearing that S.A. has become Zimbabwe.
Posted by: phil jones | Tuesday, August 08, 2006
The new, more democratic (and in many ways, more free market) government of South Africa has promulgated a number of laws that have led to "voluntary" white flight from the country: from real estate laws that limit the internal physical mobility of her citizens (mostly affecting whites), to affirmative actions laws that limit the internal economic mobility of her citizens (again, mostly affecting whites).
Crime in South Africa, while high, is not "meaningfully" anti-white in the sense that Zimbabwe's hard ethnic cleansing is.
South Africa is a seam state, and significantly less nice than most members of the Old Care and New Core. Yet it's far and away better than the rest of Africa.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, August 09, 2006
This post is most notable for the depth of projection and revisionism for fit the needs of “4GW”. The patience you attribute to the state of Israel, a highly militarized state that has no concept of civilian control of the military, is overly generous. Looking at the civil-military relationship in Israel and one does not find anything similar in the democratized West. This is a military state more like Sparta than Athens and is not playing the waiting game. It’s not clear how Hamas’ election was actually a victory for Israel (except assuming ‘isolated’ & ‘disconnected’ are the only options in your binary model). Sure its nicer to have a bunch of people who can only prick you with irregular war than a larger enemy with bigger weapons systems. Wait, Hizbollah has bigger and advanced weapons systems (better than Iraq had against the US).
If they (Israel) were playing intelligently, they would have maneuvered another political party to prevent Hamas’ victory (a popular victory largely owed to their ability to clean the streets and actually provide for the people, a direct contrast to the Fatah).
Attacks on bridges portrayed as attacks on “physical connectivity” in the sense of networks is meaningful how against an enemy not based on territory. While you acknowledge infrastructure attacks have little meaning, you are mixing and mashing and fail to consider the complex political landscape of the Israelis pissing off the Christians and everyone else in the area and they charge through like a bull.
The application of 4GW as a “model” here escapes me. But maybe that’s because it is a theory without definition and is constantly changing and changed by whomever decides to wield it.
And France lost 4G wars in Algeria? This is simple colonial and irregular warfare and is nothing new. As Phil said, France had the option of abandoning (despite the tremendous importance of Algeria) but largely they LOST versus Algeria winning. An Israel can’t ‘run away’ for two reasons: geography and socially. In the dash to oversimplify and over-analyze, you forget to look at the construct and nature of the state. Who serves? Who presses for action and how the media enlisted to drum up support?
I do not support Hizbollah, Hamas, PLO, or, for that matter many of the Israeli responses. This 'game' of Israel will only continue to empower radicals. Despite your social theories on the Gap or the Core, extremists in any movement, political or religious, make up a small number. These actions polarize the middle ground and create binary options, destroying the granularity in stakes. I see your rational ending with one result: kill 'em all. This again, is a Clash argument.
Posted by: Matt | Wednesday, August 09, 2006
>> "Israel could run away."
> Where to?
For instance away from occupied territory to a place within their orginal borders from 1947?
Posted by: Kudos | Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Do you mean the borders the Arab League never recognized? The Arabs attacked Israel several hours before Israel declared independence. Plus, Hamas and others said they will never recognize Israel, so why should they withdrawl?
Posted by: Catholicgauze | Thursday, August 10, 2006
"Israel, a highly militarized state that has no concept of civilian control of the military"
Not sure what you mean by this. Can you be more specific?
"Sure its nicer to have a bunch of people who can only prick you with irregular war than a larger enemy with bigger weapons systems. Wait, Hizbollah has bigger and advanced weapons systems"
Not sure here either. Hamas and Fatah are Palestinian organizations, Hezbollah is a Lebanese one. Different populations, different fronts, so not sure how the existence of an enemy of a certain class on one front shows the failure of a later different strategy on another. (Sort of like criticizing the 1953 revolution in Iran because Communist China is a bigger threat.)
"If they (Israel) were playing intelligently, they would have maneuvered another political party to prevent Hamas’ victory"
The ability to manfacture political parties among opposing peoples is limited to any actors, and the emergence of a Zionist Palestinian party is a long-shot. Granted, the best result would be some sort of anti-Arabist, anti-Islamist party, but having to choose who to support, the Israelis wisely chose the more isolated option.
"Attacks on bridges portrayed as attacks on “physical connectivity” in the sense of networks is meaningful how against an enemy not based on territory."
As Hezbollah operates as a territorially political/military organization within Lebanon, the point is moot.
"While you acknowledge infrastructure attacks have little meaning, you are mixing and mashing and fail to consider the complex political landscape of the Israelis pissing off the Christians and everyone else in the area and they charge through like a bull."
A Christian descent into what John Robb calls "primary loyalties" would bring their allegience to Christian militia. Avoiding such a descent keeps it with the Lebanese government. In no case does it swing to Hezbollah.
"The application of 4GW as a “model” here escapes me."
4GW is warfare based on Orientation state, very similar to John Boyd's Moral Warfare. I described the 4GW model to Dr. Nexon in a previous thread , but the short version is that 4GW is that it aims at removing an enemy's desire to fight. Israel, as the target of 4GWs, aims to abort these movements before it can do so. With Fatah, it has succeeded (having replaced the potentially sympathetic -- a bit too close to Zionist in outlook --nationalist-secularist PLO with the more ugly Hamas).
"But maybe that’s because it is a theory without definition and is constantly changing and changed by whomever decides to wield it."
Like public diplomacy, haha?
(But seriously, those who live in glass houses....)
"This 'game' of Israel will only continue to empower radicals. Despite your social theories on the Gap or the Core, extremists in any movement, political or religious, make up a small number. These actions polarize the middle ground and create binary options, destroying the granularity in stakes. "
Leaving aside the dubious word "only," you're on to something. Yet remember that empowering radicals does work. Such a strategy succeeded brilliantly in this country against the SDS, for example.
"I see your rational ending with one result: kill 'em all."
Then take off your blinders ;-)
(Without a reason /why/ such as a 'rational' ending, I really can't comment further on that.)
"This again, is a Clash argument."
Good reply to Mike.
Good reply to Kudos.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, August 11, 2006
My statement about Israel being “a highly militarized state that has no concept of civilian control of the military” addresses foreign policy options available and not available to its leadership. Witness the handling of the crisis and Israeli’s calling for the PM’s resignation because of his lack of military experience. In the US, many decried the lack of military experience of our President and his Administration for arguably substantive reasons outside the scope of this rebuttal. In Israel, the defensive nature of the state that “you have no idea about” (as a former Israeli diplomatic officer, and friend, told me) unless you live there emphasizes the military response, something clearly seen the nature of their responses spanning decades.
My comment that “its nicer to have a bunch of people who can only prick you with irregular war than a larger enemy with bigger weapons systems. Wait, Hizbollah has bigger and advanced weapons systems” was directed at your reply to Phil:
“It is better to have isolated enemies than connected enemies, and the replacement of Fatah by Hamas as governing power of Israel's local resistance has made Israeli's enemies more disconnected.”
I wasn’t referring to your comment that there was a disconnect of Hiz by blowing the bridges, because that was just cutting supply lines and not a ‘disconnect’ in the Network sense.
Your rebuttal to the Israeli option of politically defeating Hamas was:
“The ability to manufacture political parties among opposing peoples is limited to any actors, and the emergence of a Zionist Palestinian party is a long-shot…”
This isn’t about manufacturing but enabling. The reality on the ground disconnects GOALS with METHODS. The “victory” of Hamas was not a victory over Israel unless perpetual war was desired. The best result was not an Anti, Anti party as you describe. Look again why Hamas won and won’t find the reason being their terror attacks but basic and fundamental desires of life.
To assume conflict in the region is exclusively based in religion is to play into the opponents propaganda. Christians will not align with Muslims? I hesitate to reference Robb’s “primary loyalties” as I don’t know it, but aligning anything exclusively on religion can be short sighted.
Again on the 4GW… removing the desire to fight? That’s not exclusive to 4GW but in war in general. What did the Irgun do? Since we’re in the area? They worked to make it costly for Britain to stay. That was immediately after 3GW was “born”. What did the American Colonists do? Make it expensive for the Brits to stay, before 2GW was “born”.
Sorry, but Public Diplomacy may be defined differently by different people, but it’s not a “Theory”, let alone a “Theory of Warfare” on which we are to build anticipatory models, countermeasures, etc. What, afterall, is a theory good for?
Your response to ‘empowering the radicals’ was unclear.
Posted by: Matt | Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Stating that Hezbollah is the successor to the PLO because of Israeli action does not follow, as Hezbollah is not a Palestinian organization. (Unless you are referring to Hezbollah as a consequence of the 1982 war?)
"Look again why Hamas won and won’t find the reason being their terror attacks but basic and fundamental desires of life. "
Just a basic and fundamental desire, not a unifying vision, a grand ideal, an overarching theme?
"Christians will not align with Muslims?"
I did not say this nor imply this. I was referring to fact that the sub-state actors that provide security in Lebanon are arrayed on sectarian lines. It may or may not be in Druze interests to support a Christian-Sunni government, as is the case now, but when that happens it is not because of a sudden sympathy among Druze for a Christian-Sunni public diplomacy campaign, but because of a broader correlation of interests.
"Again on the 4GW… removing the desire to fight? That’s not exclusive to 4GW but in war in general. What did the Irgun do? Since we’re in the area? They worked to make it costly for Britain to stay."
This is a confusion you could have avoided by following the link I provided. Desire and will are different. The British desired control over Palestine, but did not have the will to achieve this desire. Similarly the Germans desired control over Germany in 1945, but did not have the will to achieve this desire. Both the British and Germans were unable to translate their desire into reality.
4GW forces work by removing the desire of their enemy. The Vietnamese Communists, for instance, won because they convinced the American government that it was normatively /wrong/ to support South Vietnam. The RVN's position in 1975 was tenable with nothing more than American financial support, but successful Communist 4GW operations made America lose the desire to support her ally. Likewise, in central America the Sandinistas successfully turned the middle class against their government, removing the bourgeois's desire to oppose them.
It is 4GW's emphasis on desire instead of will that brings it closest to public diplomacy, as both focus on cognitive education.
"Make it expensive for the Brits to stay, before 2GW was “born”. "
I just quote this for emphasis. Again the difference. The American Revolution saw an indigenous force convince another that the costs of defending territory outweighed the probability * benefit of recovery. A 4GW, but contrast, would focus on convincing an imperial government that it is right and that support for its enemy should be removed on moral grounds (another way of looking at this is that tradition war seeks to minimize the probability of recovery, while 4GW seeks to turn the benefit of recovery negative.)
"Your response to ‘empowering the radicals’ was unclear."
Empowering radicals can be a reasonable strategy, from time to time, because it weakens the political center of your enemy. Federal operations against Students for a Democratic Society succeeded, for example, by empowering radical elements and thus destroying the ability of the SDS to rally neutrals to their grand vision.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, August 16, 2006
"Israel is excelling at dual-use attacks, not just degrading Hezbollah's firepower in the short-term but changing the facts on the ground that allow Hezbollah to thrive in the long-term."
WHile Hezbollah firepower/strength has been reduced, that might be just a short short term reduction.
I don't believe Israel has won this 4GW operation.Many messages ended up being sent:
"An Arab Force can stand up to and defeat or at least staelmate Israel".
This helps rally supporters to hezbollahs side. By support I mean money, volenteers, logistics, world soft power efforts to curb and contrain Israel etc.
The IDF may have also lost some confidience which will reduce the options that Israel possses (less bold actions may be considered as self-confidience is lower).
Posted by: purpleslog | Saturday, August 26, 2006
I agree that Hezbollah's reduced firepower is a temporary issue. There is every suggestion they will rearm to their pre-war strength, as will Israel.
The Hezbollah War was successful in further rolling back Arab National-Secularism. It was counterproductive at punishing Hezbollah for abducting Israelis.
Arabs saw in this war that Hezbollah is willing to fight and not lose, Israel is willing ot fight and not win, and Lebanon and Syria are too weak to do anything.
I wonder what the effect of the loss of the war in the context of war will have on the IDF. If it reduces their confidence in the magic of systempunkt/EBO/air-power, then that's a good thing.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, September 05, 2006