Friday, February 10, 2006
My review of Chet Richards' Neither Shall the Sword in three words? Buy this book.
I expect a number of posts to come out of Neither Shall the Sword, and this page will serve as an guide to them. While I won't give away the surprise ending on page 82, the most radical proposal in the book is for what Mark Safranski has called "free companies," or in Dr. Richard's words
An obvious solution for a grand strategy of rollback, and I believe the correct one, is to private the Sword/Leviathan function and put direct government resources into the more complex Sys Admin mission of construction, once Sword/Leviathan has done its job
Once again: buy this book.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Chet Richards on Formlessness and Orientation
Describing Chet Richards, Tom Barnett wrote:
Chet, whom I write about in BFA, is an intense fellow who lives and breathes national security like few people you'll meet. He's also more systematic in his thinking on the subject of military strategy than anyone I've ever heard speak, and I've heard a lot.
Dr. Richards recent accomplishment involve applying the logic of John Boyd to business and military strategy. His business-oriented website, Belisarius, was recently featured in a tdaxp article on 5GW, while Chet's military-oriented site Defense and the National Interest has long been on the tdaxp blogroll.
A noted author, Chet's books include Certain to Win: The Strategy of John Boyd Applied to Business and Neither Shall the Sword: Conflict in the Years Ahead.
As Dr. Richards has been kind enough to help tdaxp before, I asked his help when questions on Boydian logic on Liberal Education. So I asked him. Part of his answer surprised me.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
"Riding the Tiger: What You Really Do with OODA Loops," by Chester Richards, Belisarius, October 2002, http://www.belisarius.com/modern_business_strategy/richards/riding_the_tiger/tiger.htm.
"Chrome," by VNV Nation, Matter + Form, 12 April 2005, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007X9TTI/102-4292267-8637755?v=glance&n=5174 [buy the cd].
I won't say that between Sun Tzu, Musashi, and tdaxp, you shall learn everything you need to about 5GW.
But add VNV Nation's Matter + Form, and you probably will.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
"Full Spectrum Struggle Is Not MBA Struggle," by Dan, tdaxp, 8 May 2005, http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/05/08/full_spectrum_struggle_is_not_mba_struggle.html.
"QDR: China Tops Iraq, Osama?," by Noah Shachtman, Defense Tech, 23 January 2005, http://www.defensetech.org/archives/002110.html (from DNI),
"The Counterrevolution in Military Affairs ," by Ralph Peters, The Weekly Standard, 6 February 2006, http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/649qrsob.asp (from TPMB).
Months ago, I wrote:
Whether you are an army or a movement, you are attacked where you are weakest by someone else where they are strongest. They will exploit their advantage over you where they chose. Over and over again, this is how wars start. It's how battles start. It is how any conflict starts.
It's still true. Even if it means agreeing with the QDR and Rumsfeld. Even if it means disagreeing with Shactman and Peters
Friday, January 20, 2006
With the confirmation of a Samuel Alito being a sure-thing, Iran acting like a typical realist power, and "Science" magazines reading like science fiction, life is normal. Perhaps too normal.
But have no fear! When real blog politics is boring, we have imaginary blog politics!
Friday, January 13, 2006
"The Taxonomic Obsession: Profiling as a 4GW Tactic," by Myke Cole, On Point, 13 January 2005, http://www.uscav.com/uscavonpoint/Feature.aspx?id=149.
Myke Cole, who is, by the way, awesome, criticizes "profiling" in our global war on terrorism. He does so in the context of 4th Generation Warfare military theory, which has previously been discussed here at tdaxp. Among other other criticisms, Myke Cole argues that profiling will be ineffective because
- the enemy is too adaptable
- that the enemy's network structure is not easily profiled anyway...
- and that profiling is a unique Western "obsession."
The first two criticisms are besides the point, and the third is a reason to profile
Friday, November 04, 2005
"Civics Is Not Enough: Teaching Barbarics in K-12," by John Hibbing and Elizabeth Theiss-Morse, PS: Political Science and Politics, Vol. 29, No. 1. (Mar., 1996), pp. 57-62, http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=1049-0965%28199603%2929%3A1%3C57%3ACINETB%3E2.0.CO%3B2-U.
UN nation-building exercises drag on as atrophied imperial mandates. Parisian suburbs are "zones without law." Influential members of the nation-security community praise posts that warn without resiliency, State-building is nothing more than the creation of an empty suit."
A decade ago, two UNL professors warned that the moral legitimacy of democracy was under attack
But the striking finding to us was that, even setting aside [particular scandals and controversies], there was an undercurrent of intense disgust with intrinsic elements of democratic government, particularly democratic government in a technologically complex society of 270 million people, most of whom expect the government to do many things.
Although people, at least as represented by the individuals who participated in our survey and in our focus group, are effusive in praise for the concept of democracy as well as for the basic construction structure of the United States government, they recoil from what democracy looks like when seen in action and sometimes in inaction.. People love the rules of the game, but hate the game itself. Such a hatred of democratic procedures is obviously unhealthy and apparently springs from a patently unrealistic set of assumptions about the nature of democratic politics.
This is an important point. Democracy is safe from material attack. John Robb's systempunkten aside, guerrilla movements would not succeed in undermining democracy by knocking a few (or even a lot) of points of gross domestic product.
A much greater threat is the horror of people who see politics up-close in our super-empowered information-rich society, and hate it.
For instance, I recently analyzed the blog remarks of House Speaker Dennis Hastert on oil companies. One commentator wrote
Does the interest in your politician's manipulation of you as a people end in satisfaction that you think you have it figured? Or does it only end when you remove yourself from them and do something to negate their influence?
I think this reaction is pretty typical. People see political manipulation and the application of war theories to politics and want it to end. But barbarism never will end. Human struggle is universal. Politics is not civics -- it is barbarics.
And the reason for this is obvious: yet another failure of America's public schools
... we have never been taught what democratic processes look like; we have only been taught antiseptic constitutional principals.
students are not receiving a balanced picture: they are taught the civics but not the barbarics of democratic process.
Current efforts to rectify the situation by getting people to participate more won't work. It may even make the situation worse, as people become even more aware of the barbarism of civicism
Participation alone will do little to solve the problem
Hibbing and Theiss-Morse believe that the situation can be fixed by teaching "barbarics" to students from early ages
Would it not be preferable to let students know from an early age that preferences, whether based on racial groups or otherwise, will frequently lead members of society into conflict.
Making students aware of both civics and barbarics would not magically turn a negative public into a positive one, but it is an important step toward a public that appreciates the governing process
Despite the authors' warning of no magic solution, the problems of our public school system are deeper than they suggest. As I earlier wrote, children wish to struggle from early on (boys especially through kinetics, girls especially through gossiping), but the school system retards and perverts this. Teaching barbarism in the current sit-down-shut-up framework is a band-aide.
Worse, the civics-barbarics dichotomy is misleading. All politics is war by other means -- or more accurately, some other means. The friction of human struggle encompasses all attributes of life: counter-terrorism, literary criticism, humor, biology, aesthetics and pornographics, computer science, and others.
Human struggle is horizontal across all knowledge, because humans will eventually use any knowledge to win. Teaching that human struggle is something less than the hyper-internet we call reality just rearranges the blinders, and and adjusts our weak-point of democracy from one area to another.
Friday, October 28, 2005
"Welcome to my Blog," by Dennis Hastert, Speaker's Journal, 27 October 2005, http://www.speaker.gov/journal/051027_firstblog.shtml.
Speaker of the House Denny Hastert has a new blog. But that's not the news: an attack in three paragraphs from his first post is.
Speaking of the Hurricane season, renewed attention has been brought to the way we refine gasoline in this country. Today, energy companies started reporting their 3rd quarter earnings, and while Americans paying were record prices at the pump, energy companies were making record profits.
That's odd... a Republican leader attacking oil companies for making too much money? What's going on?
The Republican Party (blue) attacks Oil Companies (red) -- but why?
But this isn't a legislative attack -- which Hastert could launch, if he wanted to. He is using a blog, so it is an attempt to convert at least some members of the public. This just deepens the mystery -- why launch a pseudo-attack to get people mad at oil companies?
The Republican Party (blue) rallies the People (Dark Grey) Against Oil Companies (Red) -- the mystery deepens
Hmm... let's take a look at the remaining two paragraphs that mention oil companies:
This is America. And Republicans don’t believe in punishing success. But what are these oil companies doing to bring down the cost of oil and natural gas? They haven't built a refinery here in America since the 1970's. They've built refineries overseas, but nothing here at home.
We want some answers and you folks out there in the blogosphere do too. When are new refineries going to be built here in America? When is the Alaska pipeline deal going to be signed so we can get natural gas to consumers quicker? Conoco Phillips has reached an agreement with the state of Alaska on the pipeline. Exxon Mobil and BP need to do the same. These companies need to invest in America’s energy infrastructure and resources. Until they do, we're going to be asking some tough questions.
Ah ha! It becomes clear: Hastert is upset that new refinaries haven't been built, and the force stopping this is the environmentalists. Clever of the Speaker not to mention them by name -- learning is better remembered when the learner has to do some thinking himself. So like a teacher that makes his pupils think so they will remember the lesson better, Speaker Hastert is counting on the reader to figure out the enemy is the environmentalists:
The Republicans (Blue) launch a pseudo-attack on the Oil Companies (Red), while encouraging the People (Dark Grey) to be hostile to the Environmentalists (light grey)
Of course, the Republican-led attack on environmentalists is not unprovoked. The reason it is needed in the first place is that the Environmentalists have been hostile to the oil companies for years, preventing them from fully serving the people
The Republican-led attack on the oil companies forces the Environmentalists to fight a two-front war
This is very clever. The heart of war is reinforcing your strong points, not your weak points The oil companies already have little popularity, so instead of foolishly trying to bolster them directly, he transforms public hostility to oil companies into public hostility toward the enemy of the oil companies. Master strategists like Sun Tzu and John Boyd would be proud.
So what is the goal? What is the Republican/Oil Company "future worth creating" -- their "happy ending"? Simple: the neutralization of the environmentalists so both the oil companies and the Republican Party can fully interact with the People without that interference. Visually:
A Harmonious Internet
I have written about net attacks and counterattacks before. And also real-world internets, also called seas of friction.
"Economic Chaos and the Fragility of Democratic Transition in Former Communist Regimes," by Raymond M. Duch, The Journal of Politics, Vol. 57, No. 1. (Feb., 1995), pp. 121-158, http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-3816%28199502%2957%3A1%3C121%3AECATFO%3E2.0.CO%3B2-5.
"A Halt to Iraqi Oil Exports," by John Robb, Global Guerrillas, 23 October 2005, http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2005/10/journal_a_halt_.html (also at Strategy Unit).
Under the rubric of systempunkt, John Robb has been pushing the idea that successful guerrillas will go after the schwerpunkt (center of gravity) of Western countries and their allies: money.
The combination of a bad weather and a storm have halted all Iraqi oil exports. Guerrillas hit a systempunkt -- a pipeline gathering point for four fields -- of the northern Iraqi oil network today with four bombs. This has totally shut down production from northern Iraq and the repairs will likely take a month to accomplish. In parallel, bad weather has shut down loading at the Basra offshore oil terminal completely shutting down the only remaining export point for Iraqi oil. It is important to note that not all damage from system disruption occurs as a direct result of attacks. Much of it happens when a stressed system is confronted with additional system perturbations. This incident a classic example of this (so was Katrina on a stressed US oil system).
Not only is this bad strategy generally: wise leaders go after their enemies' weaknesses, not their strength, it is statistically unlikely to produce regime change (bold mine, italics the author's, footnotes removed for clarity):
In the early reform period, perceptions of a declining economy promoted support for both free markets and Democracy in the former Soviet Union. And while there is some evidence in Latin America supporting the association of economic crisis and coups d'etat, the recent wave of democratization in Latin America during a period of economic crisis challenges this economic determinism argument). Political experience of the 1980s indicates that, even in Latin American countries facing serious economic and political crises, citizen attachments to democracy institutions are not undermined by acute economic crisis. Also challenging conventional wisdom, Zimmerman in Sallfeld present European historical evidence for the 1930s suggesting that economic chaos had little direct or indirect effect on the survival of democratic regimes in that period. And while many students of Eastern and Central European democratization have argued that political and economic reforms are seriously threatened by the economic chaos that has accompanied the reform process, the reforms are proving resilient.
Certainly countries with corrupt governments that do not reform might see their public turn against them, but "systempunkt"-style attacks would not be the cause: pre-existing general government paralyze would be.
Global Guerrillaism is the application of 3G ideology to guerrilla wars. It is built to fail.
Monday, October 10, 2005
Jason, an online friend and one of the guys behind South Dakota Politics, has started a blogspirit blog to chronicle his research into the American Indian Movement. I found him when he linked to my article on 4GW and Mao, where he commented:
Thus the question, Can 4GW apply to the tactics used by AIM? AIM may have been trying to start a type of 4GW conflict, which uses civilians as "warriors." 4GW's purpose is to destroy the enemy's will, not his ability to fight. Proactive attacks and outrages are designed to create sympathy for the warriors.
He posts at a perfect time, as Younghusband tries to answer similar questions about the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Jason, welcome to Blogspirit and the 4GW blog community! Don't forget to cheak out ZenPundit, especially his articles on Thinking (I, II, III), Defense in the National Interest, Global Guerrillas, New Persuasion, Organic Warfare, Phatic Communion, or me on Christian 4GFaith (I, II, III), anti-Iraqis, Christian Conservatives, and Neocons, PISRR, the generations of war, and 5GW.
Plus, he loves Piled Higher & Deeper!
Long live aimlog, Thesis Writing in Progress!