GLOBAL GUERILLAS DEBATEDDan of tdaxp:"Under the rubric of systempunkt, John Robb has been pushing the idea that successful guerrillas will go after the schwerpunkt (center of gravity) of Western countries and their allies: money...Not only is this bad strategy generally: wise leaders go after their enemies' weaknesses, not their strength, it is statistically unlikely to produce regime change
....Certainly countries with corrupt governments that do not reform might see their public turn against them, but "systempunkt"-style attacks would not be the cause: pre-existing general government paralyze would be.
Global Guerrillaism is the application of 3G ideology to guerrilla wars
. It is built to fail"Phil Jones:"GG *is* 4GW (I don't think Robb wants to call it a different generation) but it isn't just anyone's 4GW theory, it is a specific flavour of analysis.
What seems to be the crucial (distinguishing) elements of Robb's GG theory are :
- there are many groups, who don't need to share strategic objectives to share tactical co-operation. (Interestingly, this is how Richard Stallman once described his relationship with the Open Source movement. Different strategic objectives but tactical co-operation.)
- the groups don't need explicit connections but can communicate and co-ordinate "stimergically" ie. tapes broadcast on arabic TV, stories of decapitation in the media inspire other groups to try the same tactic.
- the groups are shifting their patterns of attack from symbolic targets or "killing a lot of people" to systems disruption.
I don't think Robb's name "Global Guerilllas" is particularly felicitatious, but I think I see where it's coming from. I suspect "global" is meant to imply that we should see this as a universal phenomenon in that it's popping up everywhere (in US cities and China as well as Baghdad); and that the reach of guerrillas can be global (eg. bombings from Bali to London, taking out a pipeline affects the world oil price.)
The question of whether there are "common" motivations does indeed depend on how narrowly you define a motivation. But I think Robb's intuition is that motivations and strategic objectives are "more diverse than you probably imagine" (particularly if you naively imagine that the Iraq insurgency (for example) is nothing but a few unreconstructed Saddamists and a few Al-Qaeda infiltrators. Or conversely, a heroic anti-imperialist mass movement.)
For a long time it's been hard to get much acknowledgement about the roles that either a) good old fashioned "crime", or b) sectarian gangs, are playing in Iraq. It's not that they're not acknowledged, but that they weren't taken seriously in strategic planning.
"Wow, Phil's recap of global guerrillas as a 4GW movement is very, very well executed. It's so good, I don't want to see it squandered in a comments section"John has finished his long-awaited book so we can expect this debate to intensify very soon.