- On the contrary – the international community’s insistence that government leaders adhere to some basic level of anti-corruption standards is because terrorism is less likely to be a course of action undertaken. It’s not that “they” do differently than “we” would like; corruption is not a part of any culture’s mores, it’s pretty well established in every culture that stealing from one’s people never turns out well. What? Have you ever been anywhere in the world? Across the non-Western world, ‘wheel greasing’ in some shape mor formed is not just tolerated by accepted.
- I’m also pretty convinced that the “moral high ground” offers as much tactical advantage as the physical terrain’s high ground. Yeah, perhaps, but not if you bring your own high ground from home…
- Remember, when some Afghan cop steals $ 2.00, he’s taken someone’s wages for a day. And the Karzai family steal millions. You’re wrong, Simon, we’re not trying to ‘inflict’ our culture on them, as you so incorrectly phrased it, we’re trying to keep them from stealing every dollar the West sends them. Then stop sending money and do something useful instead – the same thing would happen in the US, UK and Europe if all of a sudden somebody began handing out great dollops of cash.
Do these people just not ‘get it’? You cannot go to someone else’s country, say we’re going to make everything better but you’re going to have to do things our way from now on? Isn’t that what we are (apparently) fighting the Taliban to prevent. Haven’t we gone to war over this very principle? In fact, it would not be unfair to say that a goodly lot of the wars we have engaged in have been in opposition to someone throwing their weught around and trying to enforce ‘their’ ways on someone else…?
COIN doctrine tells us a successful campaign needs to address the core issues behind the insurgency, ultimately giving the insurgents some or all of what they want but under controlled conditions.
1GW: the mercenaries
Early 16th century to late 18th century.
Powerful monarchies, supported by increasingly efficient state bureaucracies, field “hybrid” armies of elite professional troops, mercenary contingents and transnational military specialists (such as siege engineers and artillerymen). In the 18th century, hybrid armies evolve into more homogeneous forces of cavalry, artillery, and infantry regiments of the line, recruited from the aristocracy and the rural poor within a state’s territory. These forces owe allegiance to the sovereign, not society.
2GW: the conscripts
1790s to 1970s.
Nation-states fight each other with large armies of conscripted citizen soldiers. The nation becomes synonymous with the army – “the people-in-arms”, as Clausewitz described it. Universal conscription is a rite of passage for generations of young Europeans, who are animated to serve by patriotism, national and racial identity, and warrior myths. The apogee of the nation-in-arms occurs in the two world wars of the 20th century, when nations mobilize all their resources – human and material – for total war.
3GW: the volunteers
1980s to early 21st century.
Armies become all volunteer and professional forces of career soldiers who are relatively well-educated and highly trained. These forces recruit people from ethic minorities, immigrant groups, decaying industrial cities and hardscrabble rural regions. These people enlist because they see the army as a route to advancement and acceptance in society, not out of patriotism. Meanwhile, the scions of the wealthy elite and the prosperous middle class shun military service.
4GW: the champions
Emerging in the early 21st century.
Armies become caste-based – an increasingly distinct and detached element within society. They comprise highly skilled “champions”, specialists in esoteric skills such as counterinsurgency, special operations, and cyber-war, who owe primary allegiance to their castes and combat leaders. The distinction between armies and civilian agencies blurs. The state outsources military responsibilities to private military companies. These also safeguard the interests of powerful corporations and wealthy elites.
Peter, in a week, has probably applied more real intellectual effort to the GW construct than did the originator! I really like it although I would offer that his 4GW is actually 5GW with 1GW being the Braveheart style, every tribesman for himself, hope-it-all-works-out-on-the-day form of warfare that kept the trade alive for millenia before it all got organised.
In terms of applying the generational model across history and societies, it DOES work if you apply to individual societies/cultures instead of taking a global macro approach e.g. while the Romans make have been at 3GW, many of their adversaries may only have be 1 GW. The model works even better if you remove the time frame from under each heading.
The Judge Dredd approach to COIN
So it’s out. The super-uber COIN strategy for Afghanistan. If you blinked, you may have missed it. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much – kinda like finding you’ve fallen asleep in the car (as a passenger!) and missed Hamilton…we’re going to fortify the urban areas where the insurgents AREN’T, and only engage selectively in the rural areas where the insurgants ARE. I have visions of Afghanistan becoming a real word escapee from 2000AD: a few isolated Mega-Cities surrounded by the feral hordes of the Cursed Earth. Sylvester Stallone has already filmed in both locations: with some clever editing of Rambo 3 and Judge Dredd, we could have the movie out for Christmas…
…John Dredd or Judge Rambo?