Small Wars Journal

Landpower Update

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 11:24am

Landpower Update: Addressing Unrestricted Warfare While Energizing Our Allies and the Masses

In Ukraine, Russia Reveals Its Mastery of Unrestricted Warfare

USAWC SSI's Steve Metz writes, "Russia is on the hunt again, determined to engulf another part of Ukraine and possibly more." He reviews synchronized economic actions, information actions and kinetic actions Russia is employing in Ukraine and compares those to unspecified US responses. The phrase “unrestricted warfare” first drew attention with the publication of a 1999 academic paper written by two Chinese colonels, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui.

Augmenting Our Influence: Alliance Revitalization and Partner Development

As the United States and its allies prepare to withdraw most of their military forces from Afghanistan and following the end of the war in Iraq, fundamental questions have arisen over the future of American Landpower. Among them are the role of allies and partners in terms of contributing to the safeguarding of shared global interests, the implications of the Pacific rebalancing for American alliances worldwide, and the role of Landpower in identifying, developing, and maintaining critical alliances, partnerships, and other relationships. To examine these and other questions, as well as to formulate potential solutions to the challenges facing U.S. national security in the coming decade, the U.S. Army War College gathered a panel of experts on alliances and partnerships for the 24th Annual Strategy Conference in Carlisle, PA. Conducted on April 9-11, 2013, the conference explored American Landpower implications associated with an evolving national security strategy. Chaired by the Strategic Studies Institute’s Dr. John R. Deni, the panel devoted to alliances and partnerships featured expert presentations based on the papers in this edited volume by Dr. Sean Kay, Dr. Carol Atkinson, and Dr. William Tow. Their analyses provided the U.S. Army and the U.S. Department of Defense with invaluable strategic assessments and insights.

Social Media Helping Destabilize World, Strategist Says at Army War College

Twitter, Facebook and other types of social media are contributing to global instability, said Robert D. Kaplan, chief geopolitical analyst for Stratfor -- a team of intelligence experts. The use of social media, he explained, has been shown to unite and rally demonstrators at a moment's notice, enabling them to focus their energies on toppling regimes in just a matter of days. An example would be the use of it during the so-called Arab Spring, which began in December 2010. Kaplan was keynote speaker at the 25th Annual Strategy Conference in Carlisle, Pa., sponsored by the Army War College, in partnership with the Joint Staff/J7.

We hope you will enjoy these insightful works and we look forward to your feedback thru Landpower.




Madhu (not verified)

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 1:40pm

</blockquote>"In 1983, the ABC television network broadcast a movie called The Day After about how a superpower nuclear exchange devastated the lives of typical Americans in two midwestern cities. The conflict began with a Russian troop buildup in Eastern Europe (which Moscow initially claimed to be a military exercise), and then gradually escalated to a point where both sides launched their nuclear missiles for fear of losing them in a preemptive attack. Coming as it did during a period of U.S.-Soviet tensions and controversy surrounding Reagan Administration nuclear policies, the broadcast attracted a huge audience of over 100 million viewers; it is still the highest rated made-for-television movie in U.S. history. Americans haven’t thought much about such scenarios since the Cold War ended, because the Soviet Union dissolved and the ideological rivalry between Washington and Moscow ceased. However, this year’s crisis over Ukraine is a reminder that Russia remains a nuclear superpower, and that the geopolitical sources of its security concerns have not vanished. In fact, Moscow may have greater reason for worrying today, because it has lost the buffer of allies that insulated it from Western attack during the Cold War, and now finds its capital only a few minutes from the eastern border of Ukraine by jet (less by missile). If you know the history of the region, then it is easy to see why Moscow might fear aggression." Forbes</blockquote>

Loren Thompson quoted on Pat Lang's blog:

I know unconventional and subconventional--or whatever--warfare is designed to occur beneath a nuclear threshold but given what has happened at the LOC between India and Pakistan what era are we entering as NATO abuts the Russian border?

Can anyone direct me to some academic articles along that line, discussing how this doctrine is conceived? May this area remain forever theoretical.

I will never agree with Robert Jones on some subjects but I am coming closer and closer to his point of view. It's weird, by walking a different path, I come to the same point. Interesting.

Madhu (not verified)

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 1:54pm

In reply to by Madhu (not verified)

<blockquote>Syria Gamers at USIP Jockey for 'Best Possible Peace'
Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The posturing of Syrian, regional and international players in the first USIP-Foreign Policy magazine PeaceGame played out not only in USIP's Great Hall and via webcast, but also on Twitter. More than 40 players took on roles from President Bashar al-Assad to the United Nations to Sunni Islamists.</blockquote>…

There was an absolutely hilarious response to this that I can't find now, like, "any Syrians or non-Americans invited to this shindig?"

Hey, I know people mean well but it all looks so bizarre and weirdly controlling from the outside. Like all your this COM and that COM. The world, divided up, ready to mess with....

Madhu (not verified)

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 1:50pm

<blockquote>Some critics in Congress and the Administration say that such a plan, meant to secretly influence a foreign government, should be legally deemed a "covert action," which by law would then require that the White House inform the intelligence committees on Capitol Hill. Some in Congress would undoubtedly raise objections to this secret use of publicly appropriated funds to promote democracy.

The proposal says part of the effort would be run through a foundation operated by Amar Abdulhamid, a Washington-based member of a Syrian umbrella opposition group known as the National Salvation Front (NSF). The Front includes the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organization that for decades supported the violent overthrow of the Syrian government, but now says it seeks peaceful, democratic reform. (In Syria, however, membership in the Brotherhood is still punishable by death.) Another member of the NSF is Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former high-ranking Syrian official and Assad family loyalist who recently went into exile after a political clash with the regime. Representatives of the National Salvation Front, including Abdulhamid, were accorded at least two meetings earlier this year at the White House, which described the sessions as exploratory. Since then, the National Salvation Front has said it intends to open an office in Washington in the near future.

"Democracy promotion" has been a focus of both Democratic and Republican administrations, but the Bush White House has been a particular booster since 9/11. Iran contra figure Elliott Abrams was put in charge of the effort at the National Security Council. Until recently, Elizabeth Cheney, daughter of the Vice President, oversaw such work at the State Department. <strong>In the past, the U.S. has used support for "democracy building" to topple unfriendly dictators, including Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic and Ukraine's Vladimir Kuchma.</strong> </blockquote>,8599,1571751,00.html

As an educational experiment, it would be interesting to take various articles in Landpower and "embed" them in varying narratives so that the same article can be read by students in different ways. It might help to build the empathy that is supposed to help understand how others' think.

Madhu (not verified)

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 1:49pm

<blockquote>Western media has focused obsessively on how far pro-Russian militiamen in east Ukraine obey orders from the Kremlin, but such attention obscures a more significant feature of the Ukrainian political landscape. Every election in Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 has shown that the country is almost equally divided between pro-Russians and pro-Westerners with each side capable of winning closely fought elections. Pretending that the revolt in east Ukraine is phony and stage-managed by Russia is dangerous self-deception.

Different though Ukraine is from Iraq and Afghanistan there are some ominous similarities in the Western involvement in all three countries. The most important of these common features is that each country is deeply divided and to pretend otherwise is to invite disaster. In 2001, most Afghans were glad to see the back of the Taliban, but the Taliban and the Pashtun community – some 42 per cent of the Afghan population – in which the Taliban are rooted could not be successfully disregarded or marginalised. Creating a government dominated by the old anti-Taliban Northern Alliance leaders automatically destabilised the country.</blockquote>…

You don't have to buy all of that to see that the situation is complicated on the ground and doesn't fit a simplistic narrative that cannot be divorced from our own meddling and interference (although dumping millions into a system in attempts to alter, fashion and shape it isn't the same as annexing territory. It's just thoughtless, borders on the immoral and destabilizing.)

Madhu (not verified)

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 1:48pm

<blockquote>USAWC SSI's Steve Metz writes, "Russia is on the hunt again, determined to engulf another part of Ukraine and possibly more." He reviews synchronized economic actions, information actions and kinetic actions Russia is employing in Ukraine and compares those to unspecified US responses.</blockquote>

Our--meaning the US, UK, EU, etc--attempts to bring the Ukraine into the Western 'camp' (why are we even thinking that way in 2014?) via a low grade proxy political war sure seems to have become problematic.

Crises = A plus B plus C plus D plus ?.

A = Unconventional warfare by Russia.

B, C, D and ? = ???