Reactions to Bhutto

A young someone doesn’t recall (or forgets his reading of) the three decades of terrorism in Europe from the 1960’s to the 1980’s, or the impact of anarchists (the Islamic fundamentalists of the 1900’s +/-) on American politics. Instead, this friend of MountainRunner who has my respect, has clearly drunk too much of the 4GW Kool-Aid that all things are new and unique to our time.

thomaspmbarnett Another MountainRunner friend casts the destabilizing event as it should be: a political attack. Last I checked, Israel and Mexico were outside the gap, as is Russia, as well as others that have suffered politically motivated and destabilizing attacks.

By viewing this event as SOP, we might be inclined to write something like "blah blah blah" instead of a real analysis of the consequences. In our modern global environment, economic and physical insecurity provide a breeding ground for hate and isolationism that can easily travel outside the region on instant communication and transportation networks. We care what happened and must not dismiss the act as something it is not.

What will be the impact from her death? Nothing good, regardless how ruthless she was. Remember she had substantial public support and was one of two returning opposition leaders that were helping force change in Pakistan.

That said, I haven’t had the cycles to follow Pakistan closely enough to prognosticate what comes next, so I’ll punt this question to me over to Tom.

Update: another MR friend, Abu Muqawama has more immediate questions on his mind and a link to an interesting discussion.

Update II: Tom has his post up. There are other smart posts out there, see SWJ for a listing.

10 Replies to “Reactions to Bhutto”

  1. “A young someone doesn’t recall (or forgets his reading of) the three decades of terrorism in Europe from the 1960’s to the 1980’s, or the impact of anarchists (the Islamic fundamentalists of the 1900’s +/-) on American politics.MR,
    How so?
    I’m unaware of a period during the Marxist inusrgency in western Europe where it was expected that the leading opposition candidate would be murdered, nor where it was widely suspected the incumbent government LIHOP. Ditto the Anarchists who, whateve their charms, where not tolerated as useful idiots by either Republican or Democratic administrations.
    ” Instead, this friend of MountainRunner who has my respect, has clearly drunk too much of the 4GW Kool-Aid that all things are new and unique to our time.”
    I don’t mention 4GW in the post, nor do I even use the words “new” or “unique.” Heck, I’ve argued that 4GW is at least two thousand years old [1]!
    “By viewing this event as SOP, we might be inclined to write something like “blah blah blah” instead of a real analysis of the consequences.”
    Hehe. Can’t plead innocent to that one!
    My rhetorical point was mostly in contrast to Robert Patterson [2], who seems to view this as the end of contemporary civilization — an event of the magnitude of Sarejevo 1914. My point is that, like so much evil in the Gap, it’s not out of the range of normal variation.
    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/03/30/jesusism-paulism-introduction-the-revolution-of-early-christ.html
    [2] http://smartpei.typepad.com/robert_patersons_weblog/2007/12/bhutto-murdered.html

  2. My point is this: this is about violence and death and ideology that is not specific to Islamists or the Gap. Heads of state were targeted. The IRA reminded Thatcher they only needed to be lucky once, she needed to be lucky all the time. Italy, Greece, Hungry, etc. Take your pick and you’ll find attacks on leadership.Re 4GW, good to see your post on that, missed it. But it’s hard to say a Fourth Generation occurred prior to the second generation winding down. The theoritical basis of 4GW is similar to how you framed Gap’ian politics as overly new and unique. Ref back to first point above.
    To your point, the lack of capacity in the Gap promotes or permits greater abuses, but these are not, at their roots, unique to these countries or regions.
    The structural differences between Europe 1914 and Southwest Asia 2007 are so stark as to make any such comparison more like a Twister party than anything else.

  3. “an argument along the lines of “Country A has political violence. Country B has political violence. Therefore, Country A is equiavelent to Country B” is not my argument. The violence is not unique nor is the attribution. There is an ideology at work here that is not unique to a Muslim country. The point of my protest was not your overall response, but this:”Why is anyone surprised this happens in a Muslims country?”
    and the focus on the Gap. As I said in the initial post, similarly bad things happened (or continue to happen) in non-Gap countries. You’re using an overly broad brush that diminishes an otherwise interesting argument.
    To your point that “The generations of war are not emerging but are always present.” That, sir, is not generational and goes back to one of my points against 4GW: its sequencing. The whole framework of 4GW is problematic and should be dismissed and/or punted. This part of the conversation speaks to your drinking the Kool-Aid 😉
    Well, of course I’ll engage in the discussion, I’m still waiting for the snail mail invite you promised (which you’re probably hoping somebody from SoCal won’t RSVP yes to 😉 I need to keep the conversation going at least until I receive that.

  4. MR,”My point is this: this is about violence and death and ideology that is not specific to Islamists or the Gap. Heads of state were targeted. The IRA reminded Thatcher they only needed to be lucky once, she needed to be lucky all the time. Italy, Greece, Hungry, etc. Take your pick and you’ll find attacks on leadership.”
    Indeed, I’m making very nearly the same point over at tdaxp, on how war will always be with us. [1] Still, an argument along the lines of “Country A has political violence. Country B has political violence. Therefore, Country A is equiavelent to Country B” is poor, as there are quantitative and qualitative differences in those examples.
    “Re 4GW, good to see your post on that, missed it. But it’s hard to say a Fourth Generation occurred prior to the second generation winding down.”
    Why? The generations of war are not emerging but are always present. [2]
    “The theoritical basis of 4GW is similar to how you framed Gap’ian politics as overly new and unique. Ref back to first point above.”
    How so?
    “To your point, the lack of capacity in the Gap promotes or permits greater abuses, but these are not, at their roots, unique to these countries or regions.”
    True, but irrelevent. Categorization is useful to the extent it describes variations in frequencies of some traits. That human nature, or some other abuse-in-its-roots, is constant across all categories merely says that such a “root” is not a useful factor for analysis, and should be discarded from comparative discussions.
    “The structural differences between Europe 1914 and Southwest Asia 2007 are so stark as to make any such comparison more like a Twister party than anything else.”
    Agreed.
    (Still unclear how I “drunk too much of the 4GW Kool-Aid,” but I do appreciate the response. Recently some bloggers have preferred hit-and-runs… [3])
    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2007/12/19/world-peace.html#c1843129
    [2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2007/07/21/the-generations-of-war-not-emerging-but-always-present.html
    [3] http://shloky.com/?p=894

  5. “I’m still waiting for the snail mail invite you promised (which you’re probably hoping somebody from SoCal won’t RSVP yes to ;)”That a reference to me, lol?

  6. “The point of my protest was not your overall response, but this:”Why is anyone surprised this happens in a Muslims country?”
    and the focus on the Gap. As I said in the initial post, similarly bad things happened (or continue to happen) in non-Gap countries.”
    Such an objection ignores the reality that violence is quantitatively and qualitatively more horrible in the Gap than in the Core. Indeed, it’s like objecting to a post criticizing mass rape in the Gap by saying that this-or-what girl was raped in the Core.
    In some situations, comparing if some trait exists at all across categories may make sense. However, more frequently, comparing the frequency is a better method in examining a categorical system. That is what I am doing.
    “To your point that “The generations of war are not emerging but are always present.” That, sir, is not generational and goes back to one of my points against 4GW: its sequencing.”
    I assume you view sequencing as a fault of 4GW because William Lind originally described 4GW, and William Lind included sequencing. It is indeed problematic, which is why many thinkers (from bloggers to TX Hammes) either junk it or deprecate it.
    4GW is not Holy Writ. It is a description of the world. Parts that are absurd or unworkable, such as the sequencing, of course may be junked.
    “The whole framework of 4GW is problematic and should be dismissed and/or punted. “
    The whole framework? Do you have a point-by-point dismissal or punting of the framework in mind, or have you instead found one problem in one formulation, and from that wish to reject the entire analytical tool?
    Invites are currently on a frightfully large stack on the table instead, and at least two are going to southern california….

  7. Dan,“Such an objection ignores the reality that violence is quantitatively and qualitatively more horrible in the Gap than in the Core.”
    This was a political assisination, not a horrid / unspeakable act foreign to the Core. Your characterization is better applied to the first attempt on her life than the second successful attack if, as you do, judge by scale.
    “I assume you view sequencing as a fault of 4GW because William Lind originally described 4GW, and William Lind included sequencing. It is indeed problematic, which is why many thinkers (from bloggers to TX Hammes) either junk it or deprecate it.
    4GW is not Holy Writ. It is a description of the world. Parts that are absurd or unworkable, such as the sequencing, of course may be junked.”

    Yes, in part on Lind’s taxonomy, as well as the de facto taxonomy of all the other’s, including yourself, that accept and build upon it. The assumption of the title “Fifth Generation” of warfare is an explicit acceptance of the prior frameworks. Also, your analysis the dates the beginning of “4GW” to two hundred years ago is short by over two thousand years, putting the fourth generation before the first.
    I have talked to T.X. about the theory and seen his presentations and agree he distances himself from the taxonomy and from the 4GW title. You should re-read this post, on which you commented way back when (when you also said Rumsfeld had it right and won the war but lost the peace… a statement that didn’t connect the two as inseperable, arguably a ‘3GW’ failure in thinking?): The Misleading Theory of Fourth Generation Warfare (warning, it isn’t as clean of prose as it could be, but do read the comments).
    Also, not to just focus on Lind, but I’d also throw in those who strictly follow van Creveld’s selective and revisionist reading of world history would fail to see the problems of 4GW as well as realize workable solutions.
    Best and Happy New Year to you your new wife.
    M

  8. MR,This was a political assisination, not a horrid / unspeakable act foreign to the Core. Your characterization is better applied to the first attempt on her life than the second successful attack if, as you do, judge by scale.
    Again, the series of assassinations on Bhutto was qualitatively (apparent LIHOP cooperation from the central government) and quantitatively (spread of time, kill count, etc) different from similar political violence in the Core. If this is incorrect, how is it incorrect?
    The next paragraph is hard to understand, so I’ll go sentence by sentence”
    “Yes, in part on Lind’s taxonomy, as well as the de facto taxonomy of all the other’s, including yourself, that accept and build upon it.”
    There doesn’t seem to be a verb in the first sentence part of the sentence, so I do not understand. Could you rephrase?
    “The assumption of the title “Fifth Generation” of warfare is an explicit acceptance of the prior frameworks.”
    Why is “frameworks” plural? It would seem that the assumption of a 5GW is an explicit acceptance of a generational framework, in the same way that (say) maternal selection is a explicit acceptance of the evolution by natural selection framework.
    “Also, your analysis the dates the beginning of “4GW” to two hundred years ago is short by over two thousand years, putting the fourth generation before the first.”
    I’m not sure what the first part of the sentence means. Could you rephrase?
    I am unsure why you believe that 1GW is such a recentl innovation. Concentration of labor on the battlefield is an ancient invention, in western tradition going back to at least as far as Troy, and certainly before that. Indeed, chimpanzees engage in organized attacks on other troops that appear to be 1GW.
    “I have talked to T.X. about the theory and seen his presentations and agree he distances himself from the taxonomy and from the 4GW title.”
    I’m not sure what or who you are agreeing with (in this sentence).
    “You should re-read this post, on which you commented way back when”
    This is the second time you’ve asked me to read something I’ve already read. If you fear the text you write or admire is unclear, you should rephrase it to make it more clear.
    “(when you also said Rumsfeld had it right and won the war but lost the peace… a statement that didn’t connect the two as inseperable,”
    I assume you reject the scientific tenant of independent variables, because factors connect to each other inseperably?
    “arguably a ‘3GW’ failure in thinking?)”
    Could you rephrase?
    “Also, not to just focus on Lind, but I’d also throw in those who strictly follow van Creveld’s selective and revisionist reading of world history would fail to see the problems of 4GW as well as realize workable solutions.”
    Perhaps, but this is tangential, and does not support your criticism.
    “Best and Happy New Year to you your new wife.”
    (Many thanks. Happy New Year to your family and yourself as well)

  9. Dan,The response is meant to be read as that, a response. Sequence my reply with your comment and you’ll be a happy camper. For example:
    My sentance: “Yes, in part on Lind’s taxonomy, as well as the de facto taxonomy of all the other’s, including yourself, that accept and build upon it.”
    Was in response to your statement: I assume you view sequencing as a fault of 4GW because William Lind originally described 4GW, and William Lind included sequencing.
    My sentance: “I have talked to T.X. about the theory and seen his presentations and agree he distances himself from the taxonomy and from the 4GW title.” was in response to your statement: “It is indeed problematic, which is why many thinkers (from bloggers to TX Hammes) either junk it or deprecate it.”
    To clarify another sentance that confused you: “Also, your analysis the dates the beginning of “4GW” to two hundred years ago is short by over two thousand years, putting the fourth generation before the first.” should have read …your analysis that dates the beginning….”
    Your scientific approach fails in the context of conflict, which is a root-cause of our discussion. You retort that “I assume you reject the scientific tenant of independent variables, because factors connect to each other inseperably?” belies your methodology. War and peace are not two distinctly different creatures when you remove the romantic layers. The bounding you apply is understandable but misleading and distorting, but apparent in mainstream media analysis and political posturing throughout history.
    Perhaps I’ve asked you to re-read things I know you read because we’re going over the same ground.

  10. MR,Thank you for reply.
    I saw and understood the sequencing. It is the substance of the words that are difficult to understand. I ask again that you rephrase your words, if you mean them to be understood.
    It seems that when I am humble, and try to make sure what you mean before I speak, I’m not a “happy camper.” But when I assume your words should speak for themselves, I “completely misconstrue” [1] it’s meaning.
    As to the new points you raise…
    “Your scientific approach fails in the context of conflict, which is a root-cause of our discussion. ”
    Well, certainy it would fail as a practical pedagogy. If you actually want to be a warfighter, you should practice warfighting. It does not matter if warfighters can speak intelligibly about what they do, because they are not paid and trained to speak: they are paid and trained to do.
    But if you want to be able to describe warfighting, you need a sound an epistemological approach.
    (This divide is not unique to the practice of conflict v. the study of conflict, of course.)
    “You retort that “I assume you reject the scientific tenant of independent variables, because factors connect to each other inseperably?” belies your methodology”
    Thank you. What’s yours?
    “War and peace are not two distinctly different creatures when you remove the romantic layers.”
    Obviously.
    “The bounding you apply is understandable but misleading and distorting, but apparent in mainstream media analysis and political posturing throughout history.”
    Huh?
    “Perhaps I’ve asked you to re-read things I know you read because we’re going over the same ground”
    Perhaps, though I’m not sure how refusing to clarify points that are not being understood is a productive approach.
    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2007/12/31/categorization-and-the-nature-of-science.html#c1846010

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