Saturday, August 25, 2007

Review of Brave New War #1

Brave New War by John Robb is packed full of same material and minimalist writing style (I approve) that may be found at his web site Global Guerrillas. Now the meat of the matter is available in one compact book. If you've followed his web writing, his book covers the salient points while avoiding beating his subject to death; for new comers to 4GW concepts, I suspect it adequately conveys both the complexity of physical networks and the relative simplicity involved in disrupted technological systems.

Before I write further concerning my review, a while back William S. Lind reviewed his book Brave New War and made an interesting, if somewhat flawed point:
I think John Robb’s Air Force Background may mislead him to an extent. Air Forces have long believed that the bombing of critical nodes in an enemy’s military, communications or economic systems can win wars; American air raids on German ball-bearing plants in World War II are a famous example. In reality, it seldom works because the enemy’s re-routing, redundancy and repair capabilities enable him to work around the destruction. Robb is right that such destruction can increase costs, but wartime psychology can absorb higher costs. War trumps peacetime balance-sheets.
Although true regarding World War II, a comparison with present day society is stretching things a bit. Disruptions are a major source of stress and lost revenue. If the power is off for a prolonged period of time, as it was for some people in Western Washington late last year, the population gets mean. Everything depends on infrastructure. Sixty+ years has brought many changes including psychological dependence on machines. Selfishness (for want of a better term) is the norm. Decadence does not breed loyalty or enable any kind of wartime psychology. The worst will come out. Although less dependent, Iraq is being crippled by problems with infrastructure. Western countries might collapse as well. The first few times the power is knocked out by Global Guerrillas, the population will curse the perpetrators. After 100 times, the government is blamed and looses legitimacy. Why should I pay taxes if the lights can't even be kept on?

Lind is without doubt responsible for an extraordinary intellectual achievement in identifying 4GW. Rarely are trends identified so quickly by contemporaries, but his grasp of contemporary western culture is limited. As seen in Importing More Fourth Generation War:
The root of the problem, as is usual in Fourth Generation war, is loyalty. As the Times story says, the Kurds, like virtually all refugees from other cultures, are "bound by a common language and ethnicity." Those bonds are stronger than formal American citizenship, and they provide a rich soil in which 4GW can grow. In America 's poisonous popular culture, the necessary seeds are quickly planted among young men by the same rock and rap music, video games and examples from the culturally disintegrated black community that have overwhelmed Hispanics and other immigrants. As always, the cultural Marxists fly cover over the whole diabolical mess, labeling any serious discussion of the problem "racism."
Without addressing particulars, like many (true and probably older) conservatives, he identifies supposed vectors without ever touching on the disease, namely decadence. In fact, I suspect few intuitively understand its affects. Music and video games are a product of the environment. Pop culture is a media commodity. White suburban kids buy most gangsta rap. Cultural Marxists, as identified by William S. Lind numerous times, would have no fertile soil in a non-decadent culture. Pop culture includes conservatives as it does everything else that may be packaged and sold. When civilization declines all boat are lowered with the tide. Some also manage to beach themselves.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Seven.25

25. This Modern Warrior Archetype fights with its head. The modern order may only be challenged or defended by employing knowledge regarding weak and strong points to avoid squandering resources. Speed is also essential. Monolithic bureaucracies cannot compete with small, determined groups in either attacking or defending community and civilization. Maximum Advantage is doomed. In addition, psychological vulnerabilities will be exploited by all sides. Understanding one’s self and motivations will allow one to resist (or ignore) the pressure. Don’t be a tool for anyone.

End of Part Eight
Moving on toward practical matters...

But first, a review of John Robbs’ Brave New War.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Seven.24

24. For some, strife is a rush that beats any drug. Willingly succumbing to the call of conflict, these sort will look for provocations. As allies, they may prove useful, but must be restrained. Many only recognize fear or respect. Fear may prove a useful short term tools, but its endless application will prove exhausting. Hatred will eventually destroy those employing direct intimidation as a means to an end. Everyone has to sleep sometime. Respect has far broader possibilities including dedication. For This Modern Warrior Archetype, nothing is more important than certainty produced by the loyalty of friends and comrades. One would not care to fight otherwise.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Seven.23

23. Among those able to discern trends and foresee likely events, there will always be those whom refuse to embrace their predictions. Unsurprisingly, one dedicated to preservation will not welcome its failure due to the stupidity of others. Rather than assign blame where it belongs, the impulse to “shoot the messenger” may override their perception of those choosing to readily adapt to the coming order. Psychologically, such types may see cause rather than consequence. Loyalty is a strong motivator. Honor may demand that everything may be done to defend the old order. A general desire for stability may also contribute toward resentment being directed at those with less vested interest in the current order. As such, these sort will not see the advantage of standing aside for The Fall, and contrary opinions will be met with negativity or even hostility by those trying to stop it. Unfortunately, no single constituent is to blame. Systemic collapse cannot be cause by any one factor. Reality is rarely so simplistic. Perhaps they may even soften the blow; if The Fall is the inevitable by-product of a broken system, then it cannot be stopped. A healthy civilization would not succumb to these pressure, because the underlying issues would not be present. The world moves on whether we like it or not. As a result, unfortunately, one must stand aside and let events convince many potential allies otherwise. Failure to do so, even if one only wallows in its destruction of the system while not actually doing anything to cause its demise, will only create more enemies. They will come around. Hopefully, their lessons will serve to make them stronger.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Seven.22

22. Psychological pressure may be applied both scientifically and artistically. Scientific methods tend to be surer, but are by their nature cruder. Artistic avenues may be subtle or blatantly obvious, and may even be regarded as pleasant or entertaining. The artist has a potential beyond mere scientific entreaties, but has less margin for error and failure. Systematic artistic formulae erodes its own appeal. Art grows stale with repeated use. Hence, the dedicated propagandist will employ a mix of scientific and artistic methods as a means for advocacy. Advertising is the most honest form of such enterprising techniques; the rest masquerade.