Regular readers of GlobalDashboard know that we’re big fans of fourth generation warfare theorists William Lind and John Robb. Both writers have warned persistently that 4GW isn’t just something that happens “over there”, in Anbar or Helmand. It’s “over here”, too, whether “here” is low-intensity war in Mexico (see the Economist on Mexico’s drugs conflict a couple of weeks ago), or proliferating use of 4GW tactics by home-grown insurgents in the UK.
Lind, reviewing John Robb’s new book, summarises the latter’s conclusions approvingly:
Robb correctly finds the antidote to 4GW not in Soviet-style state structures such as the Department of Homeland Security but in de-centralization. What Robb calls “dynamic decentralized resilience” means that, in concrete terms, security is again to be found close to home. Local police departments, local sources of energy such as roof top solar arrays – I would add local farms that use sustainable agricultural practices – are the key to dealing with system perturbations. To the extent we depend on large, globalist, centralized networks we are insecure.
John Robb, though, thinks that as the use of 4GW tactics “over here” proliferates, things will develop much further:
Members of the middle class will (take) matters into their own hands by forming suburban collectives to share the costs of security — as they do now with education – and shore up delivery of critical services. These “armored suburbs” will deploy and maintain backup generators and communications links; they will be patrolled by civilian police auxiliaries that have received corporate training and boost their own state-of-the-art emergency response systems.
And in case you thought the idea of decentralised local energy and food independence was only for survivalists in Michigan: we have news for you.