< meta name="DC.Date.Valid.End" content="20050825"> Amendment Nine: Timely, Relevant

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Timely, Relevant

and well put. In a 2/22/2006 post Matt at Mountain Runner has an excellent post critiquing 4GW theory.

There is no crisis of legitimacy in the state system. Roles of states are changing, as they always have. The power of Diasporas is increasing. The value of inter-related commerce and societal pressures increases. But none of these are properly addressed by 4GW, but in fact, improperly attributed. States are losing their autonomy (although Putin's Russia is fight that trend) willingly. As states evolve, voluntarily ceding autonomy, as in the European Union today, as in the states of the US federal project a century and a half ago (read about Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, Jackson to see how tenuous our "State" was and how it doesn't fit in the 4GW theory). States did not magically appear in the present image and will continue to evolve.

The theory of Fourth Generation Warfare fails when applied to reality and as a theory itself. It fails to prescribe, predict, describe, or explain behavior. Its explanations of relationships and ideas do not connect when exposed to historical realities. Ultimately, the analysis of past and present conflicts with this theory is of little value.

Fourth Generation Warfare is based on a false reading of history and a faulty understanding of the nature of conflict. The role of economic, ideological, and political ideas and efforts have always co-mingled with military might. The quantity of each would vary as required, resorting to military might as an extension of politics if necessary. At best, 4GW reminds us public diplomacy is more important than ever because of the need to interact at alternative levels. That is the best 4GW can contribute.

I'm most interested the "faulty understanding of the nature of conflict". From what I can tell, this is based on Boydian principles which could be incomplete. Go read the whole thing. There are some good comments in there by Wiggins, Dan @ Tdaxp, and the author of the post, Matt. My own philosophy of science ramblings can be ignored, or enjoyed, at your leisure.