The Fourth-Generation War

For most people, the term “4GW” will conjure visions of a new and improved data service for their mobile devices. For members of the military and intelligence community, 4GW means something entirely different: Fourth-Generation Warfare, a form of warfare where the lines between civilians and combatants, political and military goals, and even the weapons to be used in fighting the war are blurred. Smudged to the point where even identifying the warring parties is difficult. To understand the 4GW, look no further than last month’s attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany. Instead of using a bomb, gun, or even a knife, the attacker used a commercial truck. The attacker was from Tunisia, a country with no clear grievances against the Germans. He was an adherent of Islam (natch). Given the attack was directed against innocent bystanders at a Christmas market, we assume—but don’t know—that it was motivated by a religious goal. But to what end? We can have no idea. And why Germany, the country that had provided succor to the man and his family as refugees? Was the attack part of a broader strategy to complete the Islamization of Germany? All of Europe? Or was it to force the Europeans to withdraw from the Middle East—even though the European footprint in the Middle East is barely visible compared to the US and Russia? Perhaps it was just a target of convenience—in which case, what’s the point(s) the attacker was trying to make? And who, exactly, is the enemy the “West” is fighting against? Is it ISIS, which took credit for the attack? We think that’s right, but really can’t know. Maybe the ISIS spokesperson was just being opportunistic in taking credit for an act of an individual who had become overly emotional as a result of indoctrination by a radical mullah? Who does Germany retaliate against? They could lob missiles into ISIS strongholds, but as those strongholds are not citadels, but rather cities populated by innocents—captives even—how effective can that be? Alternatively, whom does Germany negotiate with to bring an end to the hostilities? I could go on, but I think the point is clear: 4GW warfare is so distributed—between weapons, tactics, cultures, places, ideologies, and leadership—that dealing with it requires an entirely different approach. Trying to get a handle on how one counters such an amorphous enemy, because it is…

Source: ZeroHedge

The Fourth-Generation War

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