Politics of asymmetric conflict

In this article from Andrew Mack dated 1975, the manner in which political questions impinge on the conduct of wars in the modern age (I hate writing modern to describe the current paradigm, I would prefer it be called the chaotic age or something else that doesn’t play into the propaganda of the Liberal tradition.) I found the article as a cited resource in the Trahison des Professeurs article. The article is fascinating and well worth a read, and it makes some very good observations, even if it fails to take into account the full ramifications of them.

One of the more interesting observations is one which was also made by Moldbug concerning the ubiquitous nature of “National Liberation Fronts”

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For Mack, what has occurred is that the conflicts being of such little relevance for the cosmopolitan power centers of the major nations (France , USA, UK)  it fails to form a unifying event which ensures the full attention, resources and adherence to the war aims and victory of the nation. For the US military and the Red State of America, every war must be the war on Nazism, and the concept that the Blue State could be utterly aimed at making them lose come what may is inconceivable. What Mack failed to realize is that the Nazis and the Japanese were harbingers of order, and were not State Department clients. Moldbug has a lot to say on this here:

“If Algeria and Vietnam were truly growing up and following their own destinies, you might think the former would be ruled by a Dey and the latter by emperors and mandarins. You’d certainly be surprised to find that they both had an organization called the “National Liberation Front.”

And finally, perhaps the subtlest aspect of dependency is power dependency. To whom did this rash of fresh presidents, congresses and liberation fronts owe its existence? Where, exactly, did Macmillan’s Wind of Change blow from? For that matter, who cares about all these people now? Why does a vast river of cash still flow from European and American taxpayers to these weird, camo-bedecked, mirrorshaded thugs?

Well, one theory is that the brave liberation fronts seized power through their own military prowess. Or the unquenchable anger of the people at foreign domination, which could no longer be repressed. Or the fiery will of the workers, which blazed out once too often. Or the shining light of education, which brought the dream of democracy to our little brown brothers. Or… I’m afraid Professor Frankfort has taught us much on this subject.”

But why has Mack and the rest of the Red State been so blind to this? Mainly because his gaze is directed outwards, and not inwards. The assumption that the state behind you is cohesive and of the understanding that you are trying to protect It, and make the world safe for it, is an assumption which is tragically false.

Mack’s article is riddled with assumptions which don’t hold up to scrutiny, but which it is understandable he would make given the model he is working from. So for example when he asserts that “resistance to the Nazis in occupied Europe was very often led by Communists for whom surrender meant extermination” it has to be asked – is this really the case? or is he working erroneously on the premise that friend –enemy cleavage and rational decisions to fight when placed in zero-sum situations explain  what is going on with the National Liberation Fronts? Do people and groups form into fighting forces spontaneously? Or do they do so at the organisation of external organizers or natural elite?

The reliance on the friend/enemy distinction explanation of grouping and war cohesion leads Mack to claim that:

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But, as we can see from Moldbug, this divisiveness is the key, as it shows a rift in society which is created by democracy, the very same democracy that the likes of Mack defend and spread. The American Red State is like a hero from Greek tragedy working assiduously for its own destruction, nothing it can do short of ending the very thing it is fighting for will save it.

So we can see that fundamentally, the Red States failure to understand warfare in the post World War 2 era is a result of a failure of modelling. The assumption is always that the state is a single entity with a single will and a unified goal. So when the author refers to the US funding of French efforts to contain the Vietnamese problems, he is making a grave error. What he should do is refer to the US military and Red State funding, which is not on the same page as the Blue State centered around the education and media establishments (or maybe it is, but the Red State hasn’t a clue of what the ramifications of their Liberalism are.)

So, having failed to view the conflict with the correct model, Mack makes the assumption that the war being drawn out creates the conflict domestically, as opposed to seeing that the exact opposite is the case– the war is drawn out because of the conflict that already exists, but just gets worse with something now visible for the Blue State to get the heckles up over. The leaders of all of these Liberation Fronts tend to have a very clear common factor which is missed by Mack, and that is their western education.

So, having missed this significance of this connection, and the fact that Democracy ingrains a left wing which wishes nothing more than to fundamentally destroy the nation they operate within, he then fails to grasp that the media within the western nation is also acting against the non-leftist aspects of society; the people’s opinions are made by the media and not reported by it in a neutral fashion.

On a final note, Mack get very, very close the truth of the matter when he considers why it is that Portugal which was by far the weakest of the colonial nations had such a better record of being able to control their colonies before the Spinola coup, also known as the Carnation Revolution. Yes, a revolution named after flowers…we have we seen that before. Wikipedia tells me, although I guessed the details correctly before I started reading, that the coup was lead by communist and socialist elements, and in my jaded and cynical  position, I am presuming the US state department and CIA was all over it, but that piece of research will need to be done another day. All that we need to note is that the functioning government that kept the empire together was replaced by a quisling democracy that assumed its position as a member of the international community, as well as the dismemberment of the colonies and the ethnic cleanings of Portuguese back to Portugal.

Some added dark humour is provided by Wikipedia by the following section

“After the Carnation Revolution in 1974 and the fall of the incumbent Portuguese authoritarian regime, almost all the Portugal-ruled territories outside Europe became independent. Several historians have described the stubbornness of the regime as a lack of sensibility to the “winds of change”.”

“Winds of change” like “progress” and “Germany and England are a nation of immigrants” are examples of power telling you what it is doing and making it clear you better go along or face the consequences.

Portugal has been thoroughly pounded by the international community.