On ISIS and Fourth Generation Warfare
As far back as 1989, Lind wrote about the potential for technology-driven Fourth Generation Warfare and presciently predicted the rise of groups like al-Qaida and ISIS. Lind says that Fourth Generation Warfare has three primary components:
- The loss of the state’s monopoly on war and on the first loyalty of its citizens and the rise of non-state entities that command people’s primary loyalty and that wage war. These entities may be gangs, religions, races and ethnic groups within races, localities, tribes, business enterprises, ideologies—the variety is almost limitless;
- A return to a world of cultures, not merely states, in conflict; and
- The manifestation of both developments—the decline of the state and the rise of alternate, often cultural, primary loyalties—not only “over there,” but in America itself.
What this means contra the comments of Senator Graham, is that the United States would be much better off pursuing a defensive rather than aggressive strategy in the “War on Terror.” In On War, Clausewitz argued for the superiority of defensive war. "So in order to state the relationship precisely, we must say that the defensive form of warfare is intrinsically stronger than the offensive. This is the point that we have been trying to make, for although it is implicit in the nature of the matter and experience has confirmed it again and again, it is at odds with prevalent opinion, which proves how ideas can be confused by superficial writers."
In short, any foreign policy strategy should seek to insulate America from sources of disorder. To quote Lind, "America’s grand strategy should seek to connect our country with as many centers and sources of order as possible, while isolating us from as many centers and sources of disorder as possible."
What the Iraq war accomplished was little more than the destruction of a state, which created a vacuum exploited by the purveyors of disorder. Such actions "as the war in Iraq," says Lind, "tend to isolate us from successful states and run counter to our interests."
So the key is some degree of military retrenchment, and creating rapid-hitting Special Forces that can strike quickly and lethally. But we also must separate ourselves from dependence on foreign oil and seal ourselves off to a greater degree from the sea of humanity now fleeing disorder. Lind says correctly that disorder will naturally produce hordes of refuges and immigrants. Nevertheless, "accepting refugees from centers of disorder imports disorder."
A corollary to reconsidering our interventionist foreign policy is taking moves domestically to secure the nation. In Defeating Jihad, foreign policy analyst Serge Trifkovic argues persuasively that Islam is incompatible with Western mores, folkways, and institutions. Trifkovic endorses greater domestic spying on Muslims and supervision of Islamic Centers using a variation of the McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950, denying security clearances to Muslims, and immigration policies that exclude all persons engaged in "Islamic activism."
Trifkovic's policy suggestions complement Lind's by separating the United States from growing global disorder by emphasizing defense rather than offense. "The victory," says Trifkovic, "will not come by conquering Mecca for Americans but by disengaging America from Mecca and by excluding Mecca from America. Eliminating the risk is impossible. Managing it wisely, resolutely, and permanently is something attainable."
Conservatives pondering the existential crisis the West faces should be looking to the likes of Lind and Trifkovic for answers. Though their analysis may be flawed around the edges, they avoid the foolish nihilism and moral relativism of the Left without succumbing to the mindless interventio