Should 4GW/5GW Theorist Be Against the State?

Commenter “Mark” Writes at TDAXP:

I would have thought everyone’s interest in 4GW and 5GW would lead to the inevitable conclusion that the nation-state is obsolete and harmful, and is at the beginning of a painful death. One should welcome such events. What do you think will happen when Hillary or Obama (!) is president, there is world-wide deflation and a lost war? How much support for a dysfunctional, tax-grubbing, corrupt system will there be then? And who, if they are decent human beings, would support it?

I am not anti-state. I do not want the US destroyed.

The international state system (system between states) and the USA intra-state system are the best options for me and mine to achieve security, liberty, opportunity and enrichment. Does it need improvements? Sure.

What are the alternatives? An earth patchworked with micro-domains of authority? Hey, is that what John Robb sees coming?

Anyways, the System of the US creates the rules-sets that are best for security, liberty, opportunity and enrichment. The System of the World (the state system) is flawed and has much room for improvement: gap shrinking, less tolerance for totalitarian regimes, etc.

If you can describe to me a better alternative and suggest how to maybe get there, and I will listen. If it makes sense to me, I will support it or at least try to improve upon the idea.

4GW and 5GW are means, not goals.

Some global actors may want to use 4GW or 5GW (along with other tactics) to destroy the state system (or at least benefit themselves) and replace it with something else (unless they are post-modern anarchist, others may want to strengthen it. I think the various 5GW theory bloggers are in agreement on certain things but also disagree on others. Some seem to be liberal, some conservative. I don’t sense that any are hard left or hard right, or are anarchists.

I am interested in 4GW because that is what is being practiced by the enemies of my country and those opposed to the state system. The US is slowly getting better at it. I don’t think 4GW is full expanded or figured out yet.

I am interested in 5GW because:

  1. I am interested in context of the world as it is, as it is becoming, and as it might be
  2. I am interested in what the the next-next thing will be
  3. I am looking for a way to counter opposing 4GW actors with something other then just more 4GW.
  4. Hey, maybe I can be super-empowered too.

Right now, I define 5GW as:

5GW is secret deliberative manipulation of actors, networks, states or any 2GW/3GW/4GW forces to achieve a goal or set of goals across a combination of socio, economic, and political domains while attempting to avoid or minimize the retaliatory offensive or defensive actions/reactions of 2GW, 3GW and 4GW powered actors, networks and/or states.

There is nothing inherent in that definition as being anti-state.

Updated: I corrected some late night blogging grammar/spelling mistakes and added the rule-sets link.

[Cross Posted to Dreaming 5GW]

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5 Responses

  1. 4GW and 5GW are nightmares that we are trying to defend against, rather than desired outcomes. In fact, while some 4GW (or global guerrilla/market-state) thinkers are libertarian (or conventionally liberal like myself), it’s no surprise that the father of 4GW is a paleoconservative who seeks to avoid state destruction through isolation. No matter what our ideological affiliations, the one commonality in this rather diverse community is that we seek to defend the modern nation-state from non-state competitors.

  2. 4GW and 5GW are nightmares that we are trying to defend against, rather than desired outcomes.

    I believe this is wrong, or at least the implications of that phrasing are wrong. Nightmares are not manageable; furthermore, to see the “nightmare” as a nightmare is to be trapped within it. Also, you are severely shortchanging 5GW.

    it’s no surprise that the father of 4GW is a paleoconservative who seeks to avoid state destruction through isolation.

    I left a meaty comment at the D5GW post which you might like — perhaps in the final aside to that comment.

  3. I read your full comment—I have some agreements and disagreements.

    I do agree that it’s limiting to see 4GW in general as purely anti-state, as there are ways a state could certainly employ it. Max G. Manwaring has a new monograph where he talks about something suspiciously similar to 4GW being employed by Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela. However, the historical record seems to indicate that its application has mainly been by non-state forces against the state. This is less because 4GW is inherently anti-state then the fact that it more tactically sound for non-state forces to employ it against states. Based on the events of the last twenty years, we should expect 4GW to mainly a non-state to state threat, with rare (and important!) exceptions.

    I do stand by my earlier comment, but not the phrasing. It was in response to the commenter who expressed glee at state destruction via 4GW and wanted to witness the end of the “system.” In any case, I do believe both modes of XGW are ultimately managable (and in time we will be able to turn the tables), but defense against them will comprise a large point of it. And right now it looks very much like a “nightmare” because the country is largely unprepared to cope with either mode of conflict.

    You’re right though, that as an emerging field 5GW cannot be pegged as anti-state in any meaningful way.

  4. A.E.:

    “I do agree that it’s limiting to see 4GW in general as purely anti-state, as there are ways a state could certainly employ it”

    I think the book “Unrestricted Warfare” shows possibilities for state-run 4GW. It is also a source of 5GW ideas (at least for me).

    “Max G. Manwaring has a new monograph where he talks about something suspiciously similar to 4GW being employed by Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela.”

    Do you have a link? Please share!

    Also, I think most 4GW has been by non-states so far because 1) They have the incentive…they can’t fight strong 2GW 3GW forces head-on, 2) Smaller organizations (and I am assuming a non-state actor is smaller then a state) can learn adapt/change faster.

    Hugo C. is a smart guy I think alot of state 4GW ideas will come from him.

    “And right now it looks very much like a “nightmare” because the country is largely unprepared to cope with either mode of conflict.”

    Agreed. The state needs to educate and prepare it citizens for the way the world has become..

  5. PurpleSlog,

    You can read it here. Take it with a grain of salt though, because Chavez’s capabilities are at a bit of a low ebb right now.

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