Wednesday, August 31, 2005

4GW Part 2: The End of History

Last time, we talked about the general meaning of Fourth Generation Warfare and how the line between war and peace has been essentially removed. Probably because if, say, North Korea was to openly attack us we'd use all our power, and, if we had to, we'd nuke them. The Atomic Age kind of has the same effect firearms had on duels or samurai warfare. Arguably, Vietnam was the first 4GW war--a proxy battle between the two-superpowers, only this time there was no "front line" and the Media was the real battleground. A lot of people now suffer from VMS: Vietnam Movie Syndrome. They endure under the idea of what Vietnam was--not what it actually was, which is debatable, but the image of that war in the Media. So the talk in the language of Vietnam, they think about not repeating those mistakes, and they compare current images to those images. This is fundamentally flawed since Vietnam was at least an unconventional war, if not 4GW, that people fought and examined and analyzed with conventional war tools. If we can't win in Vietnam, we can't win the Cold War the Media screamed. But you need new metrics for new conflicts, and Francis Fukuyama was the guy with the ruler. He argued famously that America would win the Cold War and Democracy would flourish because democracy satisfied the human soul and the spread of technology would slowly usher in the End of History (think Star Trek's future Earth). He was just as right as he was shouted down. So, I was a little sad to see his attack on the Iraq War in the Grey Lady today. His general point seems to be that redneck nationalist and ideological zealots have banded together to push a war that wasn't inevitable. He doesn't really say what we should have done instead, but does make some assertions which I'm not sure if I can agree with. (If you say the troops have morale problems--are you reporting a morale problem or creating one?) But Fukuyama is a smart, smart, smart man; so I assume he's got his facts. Thing is Fukuyama is a Reaganite; heck, he signed onto the overly-feared PNAC. What's the divide? Well, if you ask me its that Fukuyama argued that freedom would just slowly take over on its own, and Bush says, no, people have to stand up for it. It's kind of the whole point of these 4GW posts. You see you can't "win" a 4th Generation War; in fact, in a world of WMD there is no build up or "imminent attack" just a mushroom cloud one day. Well, maybe that's a little dramatic, but how can you stop an international organization of spies and killers and such that don't care if you have nukes? Its like trying to fist fight a virus. The answer is democracy. As Fukuyama himself has pointed out, democracies rarely fight each other, and free people don't blow themselves up. If we want to win a war on terror we have to win a war on tyranny. Fukuyama, perhaps suffering from VMS, believes stability is the watch word. We just have to keep everything quiet and human nature will take us there. Stability got us 9/11, in my opinion (I'm not going even address the full-retreat Liberal view that we should have been rolling over even more). I think its weird to say its a bad move to fight the bad guys (yes, Saddam was a bad guy). Maybe how you fight them is up for debate, but I think after you lose 3,000 people--you need to think about getting aggressive.

[Ed. Note- Read genie junkie's other Fourth-Generation Warfare posts:

4GW Part 1: What is Peace?
4GW Part 2: The End of History
4GW Part 3: Losing Iraq, "non-war" war in home-front politics
4GW Part 4: Is There a There?
4GW Part 5: Pros and Neo-cons of Fighting 4GW]

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