(FB 1549416707 Timestamp)
UNDERSTANDING 4GW – REALLY
by Trey Lindsey
The key to understanding 4GW is to not be too distracted by the mainstream definition that is reliant upon the blending of war and politics. Since politics is simply the science of gaining and holding power, war and politics have always gone hand in hand. Even Clausewitz understood this clearly and he recognized that two nationally levied armies in pitched combat were still conducting a political act.
Instead, focus on the civilian and asymmetric components without committing the sin of ignoring thousands of years of history. Civilians have been fighting states from the beginning of the human historical record, and it is a scientific certainty that no two armies or forces of exactly equal capability have ever encountered each other in battle. The common misnomer of asymmetric threats as being those of unequal combat power is ahistorical and, even worse, useless.
The only useful definition of an asymmetric threat is that of C.A. Primmerman, who in 2000 recognized that analyzing asymmetry on the battlefield is ultimately a mathematical formula and thus used a geometric projection to settle on a three-part definition of “(1) a weapon/tactic/strategy that an enemy could and would use against the United States, (2) a weapon/tactic/strategy that the United States would not employ, and (3) a weapon/tactic/strategy that, if not countered (and this not countered by systems currently in place), could have serious consequences.” This can be reduced down to an asymmetry in “willingness.”
Because willingness to conduct an action plays a central role in 4GW, ethics becomes a central component of understanding it. Likewise, because the action must satisfy the aforementioned criteria, the scientific method is critical to making the aforementioned assessment. Thus the only population that can emerge victorious in a 4GW environment on either side is one that is capable of processing and calculating both philosophical and scientific variables.