through Crisis Creation
• the adaptation of Christian liturgy to a non-Christian cultural background.
The process of formally and informally learning and internalizing the prevailing values, and accepted behavioural patterns of a culture. The term is sometimes used synonymously with socialization. Sport can play a major role in enculturation.
NWO Overman is the Eupraxsophy of Transhumanism
"Max More, Ph.D. goes deeper into the construct.
"The concept of eupraxophy encompasses within it humanism, transhumanism (including Extropianism), and possible a future posthumanism. Humanism is a eupraxophy or philosophy of life that rejects deities, faith, and worship, instead basing a view of values and meaningfulness on the nature and potentials of humans within a rational and scientific framework. Transhumanism is a class of philosophies that seek to guide us towards a posthuman condition.
Transhumanism shares many elements of humanism, including a respect for reason and science, a commitment to progress, and a valuing of human (or transhuman) existence in this life rather than in some supernatural "afterlife". Transhumanism differs from humanism in recognizing and anticipating the radical alterations in the nature and possibilities of our lives resulting from various sciences and technologies such as neuroscience and neuropharmacology, life extension, nanotechnology, artificial ultraintelligence, and space habitation, combined with a rational philosophy and value system.
Finally, Extropianism is the foremost version of transhumanism. While all transhumanists as such will agree on many overall goals, they may differ over the principles that will get us to a posthuman stage. The philosophy of Extropianism affirms the values of Boundless Expansion, Self-Transformation, Dynamic Optimism, and Intelligent Technology, and Spontaneous Order."
Restoring the Rule of Law
Asymmetric warfare is war between belligerents whose relative military power differs significantly, or whose strategy or tactics differ significantly.
"Asymmetric warfare" can describe a conflict in which the resources of two belligerents differ in essence and in the struggle, interact and attempt to exploit each other's characteristic weaknesses. Such struggles often involve strategies and tactics of unconventional warfare, the "weaker" combatants attempting to use strategy to offset deficiencies in quantity or quality. Such strategies may not necessarily be militarized. This is in contrast to symmetric warfare, where two powers have similar military power and resources and rely on tactics that are similar overall, differing only in details and execution.
The term is frequently used to describe what is also called "guerrilla warfare", "insurgency", "terrorism", "counterinsurgency", and "counterterrorism", essentially violent conflict between a formal military and an informal, poorly-equipped, but resilient opponent.
Definition and differencesThe popularity of the term dates from Andrew J.R. Mack's 1975 article "Why Big Nations Lose Small Wars" in World Politics, in which "asymmetric" referred simply to a significant disparity in power between opposing actors in a conflict. "Power," in this sense, is broadly understood to mean material power, such as a large army, sophisticated weapons, an advanced economy, and so on. Mack's analysis was largely ignored in its day, but the end of the Cold War sparked renewed interest among academics. By the late 1990s new research building on Mack's insights was beginning to mature, and after 2004, the U.S. military began once again to seriously consider the problems associated with asymmetric warfare.
Discussion since 2004 has been complicated by the tendency of academic and military communities to use the term in different ways, and by its close association with guerrilla warfare, insurgency, terrorism, counterinsurgency, and counterterrorism. Military authors tend to use the term "asymmetric" to refer to the indirect nature of the strategies many weak actors adopt, or even to the nature of the adversary itself (e.g. "asymmetric adversaries can be expected to...") rather than to the correlation of forces.
Academic authors tend to focus more on explaining the puzzle of weak actor victory in war: if "power," conventionally understood, conduces to victory in war, then how is the victory of the "weak" over the "strong" explained? Key explanations include (1) strategic interaction; (2) willingness of the weak to suffer more or bear higher costs; (3) external support of weak actors; (4) reluctance to escalate violence on the part of strong actors; (5) internal group dynamics and (6) inflated strong actor war aims. Asymmetric conflicts include both interstate and civil wars, and over the past two hundred years have generally been won by strong actors. Since 1950, however, weak actors have won a majority of all asymmetric conflicts.
Advancements in this type of warfare have been dramatically amplified with the evolution of advanced weaponry. The perpetual evolutionary arms race[dubious ] has made industrialized/more-developed countries incredibly advanced in comparison to less-developed nations. This has given those advanced countries huge advantages in asymmetric warfare.
Strategic basisIn most conventional warfare, the belligerents deploy forces of a similar type and the outcome can be predicted by the quantity of the opposing forces or by their quality, for example better command and control of their forces(c3). There are times where this is not true because the composition or strategy of the forces makes it impossible for either side to close in battle with the other. An example of this is the standoff between the continental land forces of the French army and the maritime forces of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. In the words of Admiral Jervis during the campaigns of 1801, "I do not say, my Lords, that the French will not come. I say only they will not come by sea", and a confrontation that Napoleon Bonaparte described as that between the elephant and the whale.
Tactical basisThe tactical success of asymmetric warfare is dependent on at least some of the following assumptions
- One side can have a technological advantage which outweighs the numerical advantage of the enemy; the decisive English Longbow at the Battle of Crécy is an example.
- Technological inferiority usually is cancelled by more vulnerable infrastructure which can be targeted with devastating results. Destruction of multiple electric lines, roads or water supply systems in highly populated areas could have devastating effects on economy and morale, while the weaker side may not have these structures at all.
- Training and tactics as well as technology can prove decisive and allow a smaller force to overcome a much larger one. For example, for several centuries the Greek hoplite's (heavy infantry) use of phalanx made them far superior to their enemies. The Battle of Thermopylae, which also involved good use of terrain, is a well known example.
- If the inferior power is in a position of self-defense; i.e., under attack or occupation, it may be possible to use unconventional tactics, such as hit-and-run and selective battles in which the superior power is weaker, as an effective means of harassment without violating the laws of war. Perhaps the classical historical examples of this doctrine may be found in the American Revolutionary War, movements in World War II, such as the French Resistance and Soviet and Yugoslav partisans. Against democratic aggressor nations, this strategy can be used to play on the electorate's patience with the conflict (as in the Vietnam War, and others since) provoking protests, and consequent disputes among elected legislators.
- If the inferior power is in an aggressive position, however, and/or turns to tactics prohibited by the laws of war (jus in bello), its success depends on the superior power's refraining from like tactics. For example, the law of land warfare prohibits the use of a flag of truce or clearly marked medical vehicles as cover for an attack or ambush, but an asymmetric combatant using this prohibited tactic to its advantage depends on the superior power's obedience to the corresponding law. Similarly, laws of warfare prohibit combatants from using civilian settlements, populations or facilities as military bases, but when an inferior power uses this tactic, it depends on the premise that the superior power will respect the law that the other is violating, and will not attack that civilian target, or if they do the propaganda advantage will outweigh the material loss. As seen in most conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries, this is highly unlikely as the propaganda advantage has always outweighed adherence to international law, especially by dominating sides of any conflict.
- As noted below, the Israel-Palestinian conflict is one recent example of asymmetric warfare. Mansdorf and Kedar outline how Islamist warfare uses asymmetric status to gain a tactical advantage against Israel. They refer to the "psychological" mechanisms used by forces such as Hezbollah and Hamas in being willing to exploit their own civilians as well as enemy civilians towards obtaining tactical gains, in part by using the media to influence the course of war.
Use of terrainTerrain can be used as a force multiplier by the smaller force and as a force inhibitor against the larger force. Such terrain is called difficult terrain.
The contour of the land is an aid to the army; sizing up opponents to determine victory, assessing dangers and distance. "Those who do battle without knowing these will lose." ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
The guerrillas must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea. ― Mao Zedong.A good example of this type of strategy is the Battle of Thermopylae, where the narrow terrain of a defile was used to funnel the Persian forces, who were numerically superior, to a point where they could not use their size as an advantage.
For a detailed description of the advantages for the weaker force in the use of built-up areas when engaging in asymmetric warfare, see the article on urban warfare.
War by proxyWhere asymmetric warfare is carried out (generally covertly) by allegedly non-governmental actors who are connected to or sympathetic to a particular nation's (the "state actor's") interest, it may be deemed war by proxy. This is typically done to give deniability to the state actor. The deniability can be important to keep the state actor from being tainted by the actions, to allow the state actor to negotiate in apparent good faith by claiming they are not responsible for the actions of parties who are merely sympathizers, or to avoid being accused of belligerent actions or war crimes. If proof emerges of the true extent of the state actor's involvement, this strategy can backfire; for example see Iran-contra and Philip Agee.
Asymmetric warfare and terrorismThere are two different viewpoints on the relationship between asymmetric warfare and terrorism. In the modern context, asymmetric warfare is increasingly considered a component of fourth generation warfare. When practiced outside the laws of war, it is often defined as terrorism, though rarely by its practitioners or their supporters.
The other view is that asymmetric warfare does not coincide with terrorism. For example, in an asymmetric conflict, the dominant side, normally as part of a propaganda campaign, can accuse the weaker side of being bandits, pillagers or terrorists. Others argue that asymmetric warfare is called "terrorism" by those wishing to exploit the negative connotations of the word and bring the political aims of the weaker opponents into question. The Iraqi insurgency is similarly labeled as terrorism by its opponents and resistance by its supporters. Similarly, the use of terror by the much lesser Mongol forces in the creation and control of the Mongol empire could be viewed as asymmetric warfare. The other is the use of state terrorism by the superior Nazi forces in the Balkans, in an attempt to suppress the resistance movement.
Representative list of asymmetric warsBelow is a representative list of interstate asymmetric wars fought between 1816 and 2011:
Franco-Spanish War, First Anglo-Burmese War, Second Russo-Persian War, War of the Cakes, First Anglo-Afghan War, Uruguayan Dispute, Austro-Sardinian War, First Schleswig-Holstein War, Second Anglo-Burmese War, Anglo-Persian War, Italo-Roman War, Two Sicilies, Franco-Mexican War, Second Schleswig-Holstein War, Anglo-Abyssinian War, Anglo-Egyptian War, Tonkin War, Franco-Siamese War, Second Italo-Ethiopian War, Second Boer War, Sino-Russian War, Tripolitanian War, Franco-Turkish War, Polish Revolution, Italo-Ethiopian War, some Israeli-Arab conflicts: the First and Second Intifada, and various conflicts with the Hezbollah, First Sino-Japanese War and Second Sino-Japanese War, German-Polish Confrontation of World War II, German-Danish Confrontation of World War II, German-Norwegian Confrontation of World War II, German-Belgian Confrontation of World War II, German-Dutch Confrontation of World War II, Italo-Greek Confrontation of World War II, German-Yugoslav Confrontation of World War II, Korean War, Himalayan War, Vietnam War, Second Sino-Vietnamese War, Soviet War in Afghanistan, Gulf War, War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, 2006 Lebanon War, 2011 Libyan civil war.
Examples of asymmetric warfare
The American Revolutionary War
From its initiation, the American Revolutionary War was, necessarily, a showcase for asymmetric techniques. In the 1920s, Harold Murdock of Boston attempted to solve the puzzle of the first shots fired on Lexington Green, and came to the suspicion that the few score militia men who gathered before sunrise to await the arrival of hundreds of well-prepared British soldiers were sent specifically to provoke an incident which could be used for propaganda purposes. The return of the British force to Boston following the search operations at Concord was subject to constant skirmishing, using partisan forces gathered from communities all along the route, making maximum use of the terrain (particularly trees and stone field walls) to overcome the limitations of their weapons- muskets with an effective range of only about 50–70 metres. Throughout the war, skirmishing tactics against British troops on the move continued to be a key factor in Rebel success; however, they may also have encouraged the occasional incidents, particularly in the later stages, where British troops used alleged surrender violations as a justification for killing large numbers of captives (e.g. Waxhaw and Groton Heights).
Another feature of the long march from Concord was the urban warfare technique of using buildings along the route as additional cover for snipers, which provoked the logical response from the British force — destruction of the buildings. When revolutionary forces forced their way into Norfolk, Virginia, and used waterfront buildings as cover for shots at British vessels out in the river, the response of destruction of those buildings was ingeniously used to the advantage of the rebels, who encouraged the spread of fire throughout the largely Loyalist town, and spread propaganda blaming it on the British. Shortly afterwards they destroyed the remaining houses, on the grounds that they might provide cover for British soldiers. On the subject of propaganda, it should be borne in mind that, contrary to the impression given in the popular American film The Patriot, British forces never adopted a popular response to partisan-style asymmetric warfare — retribution massacres of groups selected on a semi-random basis from the population at large.
The rebels also adopted a form of asymmetric sea warfare, by using small, fast vessels to avoid the Royal Navy, and capturing or sinking large numbers of merchant ships; however the British responded by issuing letters of marque permitting private armed vessels to undertake reciprocal attacks on enemy shipping. John Paul Jones became notorious in Britain for his expedition from France in the little sloop of war Ranger in April 1778, during which, in addition to his attacks on merchant shipping, he made two landings on British soil. The effect of these raids, particularly when coupled with his capture of the Royal Navy's HMS Drake — the first such success in British waters, but not Jones's last — was to force the British government to increase resources for coastal defence, and to create a climate of fear among the British public which was subsequently fed by press reports of his preparations for the 1779 Bonhomme Richard mission.
From 1776, the conflict turned increasingly into a proxy war on behalf of France, following a strategy proposed in the 1760s but initially resisted by the idealistic young King Louis XVI, who came to the throne at the age of 19 a few months before Lexington. France also encouraged proxy wars against the British in India, but ultimately drove itself to the brink of state bankruptcy by entering the war(s) directly, on several fronts throughout the world.
20th century asymmetric warfare
Second Boer WarAsymmetric warfare featured prominently during the Second Boer War. After an initial phase, which was fought by both sides as a conventional war, the British captured Johannesburg, the Boers' largest city, and captured the capitals of the two Boer Republics. The British then expected the Boers to accept peace as dictated by the victors in the traditional European way. However instead of capitulating, the Boers fought a protracted guerrilla war. Between twenty and thirty thousand Boer commandos were only defeated after the British brought to bear four hundred and fifty thousand troops, about ten times as many as were used in the conventional phase of the war. During this phase the British introduced internment in concentration camps for the Boer civilian population and also implemented a scorched earth policy. Later, the British began using blockhouses built within machine gun range of one another and flanked by barbed wire to slow the Boers' movement across the countryside and block paths to valuable targets. Such tactics eventually evolved into today's counter insurgency tactics.
The Boer commando raids deep into the Cape Colony, which were organized and commanded by Jan Smuts, resonated throughout the century as the British and others adopted and adapted the tactics used by the Boer commandos in later conflicts.
World War I
- Lawrence of Arabia and British support for the Arab uprising against the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans were the stronger power, the Arabs the weaker.
- Austria-Hungary vs. Serbia, August 1914. Austria-Hungary was the stronger power, Serbia the weaker.
- Germany vs. Belgium, August 1914. Germany was the stronger power, Belgium the weaker.
Between the World Wars
- Abd el-Krim led resistance in Morocco from 1920 to 1924 against French and Spanish colonial armies ten times as strong as the guerilla force, led by General Philippe Pétain.
- TIGR, the first anti-fascist national-defensive organization in Europe, fought against Benito Mussolini's regime in northeast Italy.
- Anglo-Irish War (War of Irish Independence) fought between the Irish Republican Army and the Black and Tans/Auxiliaries. Lloyd George (British Prime Minister at the time) attempted to persuade other nations that it was not a war by refusing to use the army and using the Black and Tans instead but the conflict was conducted as an asymmetric guerilla war and was registered as a war with the League of Nations by the Irish Free State.
World War II
- Winter War - Finland opposed an invasion by the Soviet Union
- Warsaw Uprising - Poland (Home Army, Armia Krajowa) rose up against the German occupation.
- Germany in Yugoslavia, 1941–45 (Germany vs. Tito's Partisans and Mihailovic's Chetniks).
- British Commandos and European coastal raids. German countermeasures and the notorious Commando Order
- Long Range Desert Group and the Special Air Service in Africa and later in Europe.
- South East Asian Theatre: Wingate, Chindits, Force 136, V Force
- Special Operations Executive (SOE)
- Office of Strategic Services (OSS)
- China Burma India Theatre: Merrill's Marauders and OSS Detachment 101
After World War II
- United States Military Assistance Command Studies and Observations Group (US MAC-V SOG) in Vietnam
- United States support of the Nicaraguan Contras
Cold WarThe end of World War II established the two most powerful victors, the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR, or just the Soviet Union) as the two dominant world superpowers.
Cold War examples of proxy wars
- See also proxy war
Israel/PalestiniansThe battle between the Israelis and some Palestinian organizations (such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad) is a classic case of asymmetric warfare. Israel has a powerful army, air force and navy, while the Palestinian organisations have no access to large-scale military equipment with which to conduct operations; instead, they utilize asymmetric tactics, such as: small gunfights, cross-border sniping, rocket attacks, and suicide bombing.
The Sri Lankan Civil War which raged on and off from 1983 to 2009, between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) saw large scale asymmetric warfare. The war started as an insurgency and progressed to a large scale conflict with the mixture of guerrilla and conventional warfare. The LTTE pioneered the use of suicide bombing and perfected it with the use of male/female suicide bombers both on and off battlefield; use of expansive filled boats for suicide attacks on military shipping; use of light aircraft targeting military installations.
IraqThe victory by the US-led coalition forces in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, demonstrated that training, tactics and technology can provide overwhelming victories in the field of battle during modern conventional warfare. After Saddam Hussein's regime was removed from power, the Iraq campaign moved into a different type of asymmetric warfare where the coalition's use of superior conventional warfare training, tactics and technology were of much less use against continued opposition from the various partisan groups operating inside Iraq.
- Civilian casualty ratio
- Fourth generation warfare
- Guerrilla warfare
- Irregular military
- List of guerrillas
- War on Terror
- Low intensity conflict
- Military use of children
- Partisan (military)
- Political Warfare
- Reagan Doctrine
- Resistance movement
- Unconventional warfare
- Unrestricted Warfare
- ^ Tomes, Robert (Spring 2004). "Relearning Counterinsurgency Warfare". Parameters (US Army War College).[dead link]
- ^ Stepanova, E (PDF). 2008 Terrorism in asymmetrical conflict: SIPRI Report 23. Oxford Univ. Press.
- ^ Zhao, et al. (2 October 2009). "Anomalously Slow Attrition Times for Asymmetric Populations with Internal Group Dynamics". Physical Review Letters 103, 148701 (2009) (APS).
- ^ Andidora, Ronald (2000). Iron Admirals: Naval Leadership in the Twentieth Century. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 3. ISBN 0-313-31266-4.
- ^ Nicolson, Adam (2005). Men of Honor: Trafalgar and the making of the English Hero. HarperCollins. p. 73. ISBN 0-00-719209-6.
- ^ Mansdorf, I.J. and Kedar, M. The Psychological Asymmetry of Islamist Warfare. Middle East Quarterly, 2008, 15(2), 37-44
- ^ Reshaping the military for asymmetric warfare Center for Defense Information
- ^ Asymmetric Warfare, the Evolution and Devolution of Terrorism Emergency Response & Research Institute
- ^ Cordesman, Anthony H (2006). Arab-Israeli military forces in an era of asymmetric wars. ISBN 978-0-275-99186-9.
- ^ Tourtellot, A.B. (August 1959). "Harold Murdock's "The Nineteenth of April 1775"". American Heritage Magazine 10 (5). Retrieved 2008-01-13.
- ^ Bicheno, Hugh (2003). Rebels & Redcoats. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-715625-1.
- ^ Chris Bray, The Media and GI Joe, in Reason (Feb 2002)
- ^ Oxford English Dictionary
- ^ Anonymous (Michael Scheuer), Imperial Hubris - Why the West is Losing the War on Terrorism, Washington DC, Brassey's (2004) ISBN 1-57488-849-8, Chap. 2
- ^ "Hamas claims responsibility for attack". 6 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- ^ McCarthy, Rory (1 January 2008). "Death toll in Arab-Israeli conflict fell in 2007". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-02-18.
- Compiled by Joan T. Phillips Bibliographer at Air University Library: A Bibliography of Asymmetric Warfare, August 2005.
- Asymmetric Warfare and the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) Debate sponsored by the Project on Defense Alternatives
- Arreguin-Toft, Ivan, How the Weak Win Wars: A Theory of Asymmetric Conflict, New York & Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005 ISBN 0-521-54869-1
- Barnett, Roger W., Asymmetrical Warfare: Today's Challenge to U.S. Military Power, Washington D.C., Brassey's, 2003 ISBN 1-57488-563-4
- Friedman, George, America's Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle between the United States and Its Enemies, London, Little, Brown, 2004 ISBN 0-316-72862-4
- Paul, T.V., Asymmetric Conflicts: War Initiation by Weaker Powers, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1994, ISBN 0-521-45115-5
- J. Schroefl, Political Asymmetries in the Era of Globalization, Peter Lang, 2007, ISBN 978-3-631-56820-0
- Kaplan, Robert D., Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos, New York, Vintage, 2003 ISBN 0-375-72627-6
- Merom, Gil, How Democracies Lose Small Wars, New York, Cambridge, 2003 ISBN 0-521-80403-5
- Metz, Steven and Douglas V. Johnson II, Asymmetry and U.S. Military Strategy: Definition, Background, and Strategic Concepts, Carlisle Barracks, Strategic Studies Institute/U.S. Army War College, 2001 ISBN 1-58487-041-9 
- J. Schroefl, S.M. Cox, T. Pankratz, Winning the Asymmetric War: Political, Social and Military Responses, Peter Lang, 2009, ISBN 978-3-631-57249-8
- Record, Jeffrey, Beating Goliath: Why Insurgencies Win, Washington D.C., Potomac Books, 2007, ISBN 978-1-59797-090-7
- Gagliano Giuseppe,Introduzione alla conflittualita' non convenzionale,New Press,2001
- Sobelman, Daniel, 'New Rules of the Game: Israel and Hizbollah after the Withdrawal from Lebanon, Tel-Aviv University, Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, 2004 [www.inss.org.il/upload/(FILE)1190276456.pdf]
- Sobelman, Daniel, 'Hizbollah—from Terror to Resistance: Towards a National Defence Strategy, in Clive Jones and Sergio Catignani (eds.), Israel and Hizbollah An Asymmetric Conflict in Historical and Comparative Perspective,Routledge, 2010 (pp. 49–66)
- Ivan Arreguin-Toft, "How the Weak Win Wars: A Theory of Asymmetric Conflict", International Security, Vol. 26, No. 1 (Summer 2001), pp. 93–128.
- J. Paul Dunne, et al., "Managing Asymmetric Conflict," Oxford Economic Papers, Vol. 58 (2006), pp. 183–208.
- Fowler, C. A. "Bert" (March, 2006). "Asymmetric Warfare: A Primer". IEEE Spectrum.
- Marcus Corbin Reshaping the Military for Asymmetric Warfare CDI website October 5, 2001.
- Vincent J. Goulding, Jr. Back to the Future with Asymmetric Warfare From Parameters, Winter 2000–01, pp. 21–30.
- Hemmer, Christopher (Autumn 2007). "Responding to a Nuclear Iran". Parameters (US Army).
- Andrew J.R. Mack, "Why Big Nations Lose Small Wars: The Politics of Asymmetric Conflict", World Politics, Vol. 27, No. 2 (January 1975), pp. 175–200.
- Montgomery C. Meigs Unorthodox Thoughts about Asymmetric Warfare (PDF)
- Richard Norton-Taylor Asymmetric Warfare: Military Planners Are Only Beginning to Grasp the Implications of September 11 for Future Deterrence Strategy, in The Guardian, October 3, 2001
- Michael Novak, "Asymmetrical Warfare" & Just War: A Moral Obligation in NRO, February 10, 2003
- Toni Pfanner, Asymmetrical warfare from the perspective of humanitarian law and humanitarian action, International Review of the Red Cross Vol. 87 No. 857 (March 2005), p. 149-174.
- Sullivan, Patricia. 2007. War Aims and War Outcomes: Why Powerful States Lose Limited Wars Journal of Conflict Resolution 51 (3):496-524.
- Jonathan B. Tucker Asymmetric Warfare, a 6 page analysis, Summer 1999.
- Asymmetry and other fables, Jane's Defence Weekly, 18 August 2006
- David Buffaloe 'Defining Asymmetric Warfare'  September 2006
- Gates Assails Pentagon on Resources for Battlefields Washington Post April 22, 2008
- Zhenyuan Zhao, Juan Camilo Bohorquez, Alex Dixon,and Neil F. Johnson "Anomalously Slow Attrition Times for Asymmetric Populations with Internal Group Dynamics", , Physical Review Letters 103, 148701 (2009), 2 October 2009
- Mandel, Robert. "Reassessing Victory in Warfare." Armed Forces & Society, Jul 2007; vol. 33: pp. 461–495. http://afs.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/33/4/461
- Mandel, Robert. "The Wartime Utility of Precision Versus Brute Force in Weaponry." Armed Forces & Society, Jan 2004; vol. 30: pp. 171–201. http://afs.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/30/2/171
While the surrounding villages die of hunger. “Come to the police state and we will care for you!”
By Henry Hazlitt
The Foundations of Morality could be seen as an additional chapter to Human Action, by Ludwig von Mises. Mises adopted a utilitarian stance on ethical issues, but Hazlitt wrote a detailed explanation of what Austrian economics implies about utilitarian ethics. Social cooperation under the division of labor is moral because it makes improvements in human welfare possible. Hazlitt ignored all of the false comparisons that mainstream economists of the mid-20th made between real imperfect markets and idealized views of government. Markets enable people to improve their lives, while never achieving perfection. The market process is progressive, and government regulation leads to stagnation and even decline. Moral rules work to minimize conflict and promote social cooperation. "The system of capitalism is a system of freedom, of justice, of productivity". Hazlitt understood Mises and knew how to bring his economics into discussions of natural rights, act utilitarianism, and rule utilitarianism.
Henry Hazlitt's "Foundations of Morality" is a book that presents a case for rule utilitarianism - the idea that the best way to judge whether an act is or is not moral is whether it follows a rule that, if followed by all, would lead to the greatest good for all. In other words, a rule utilitarian would judge whether or not it is good to pick up litter off the street, go over the speed limit, or loan money to friends, would be to ask whether, if everyone followed that rule, the greatest good for the greatest number would be achieved.
A logical, rational, and refreshingly unpretentious explanation of morality that doesn't fall victim to crass oversimplification, mysticism, or myopia, and which incorporates many of the best insights of previous moral philosophers while successfully debunking so many of the accompanying myths that don't stand up to analysis. It is so refreshing to read a book on ethics that actually takes the principles and logic of economics into account.
The Daily Bell
The Tenacity of the NihilistsBy Tibor Machan
In the book Reading Obama (Princeton, 2010), James T. Kloppenberg makes a case for how the kind of approach President Obama takes to public policy is now widely preferred, to put it paradoxically, on principle at the most prestigious universities. Obama's rejection of general principles, the kind of we find stated in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, is in sync with what has come to be mainstream philosophy in America.
Mind you, this is no novel insight about American intellectual life. Pragmatism is, after all, America's homegrown school of philosophy, one that on principle rejects the value of principled thinking! Now, pragmatism has several versions but the one that has become fashionable is the radical type that Paul Krugman uses to ridicule principled thinkers by calling them 'fundamentalists,' as if they were dogmatic, mindless and doctrinaire.
Principled thinkers, such as the American founders, are nothing like this. The principles they found valid for governing a free society were learned from extensive studies of history, by philosophical education and reflection and by reading a lot of others who embarked on inquiries about human affairs.
In a way those alleged fundamentalists whom at least the more vulgar type of pragmatists try to marginalize are like medical scientists. They learn about the criteria of good health and physical condition from their study of human life, a study that comes up with certain reasonably stable notions about what can be done to achieve and maintain good health. These notions are not Platonic forms, fixed in heaven forever and incapable of being modified and updated. But they aren't the infinitely flexible ones that are preferred by those who scoff at principled thinking. Engineers, farmers, gardeners, pharmacists and others who take the findings of the various sciences and translate and apply them to problem solving aren't doctrinaire or dogmatic for being guided by generalizations, principles that come out of those sciences and the experimentation that is part and parcel of them.
Indeed, all disciplines are comprised of more or less fundamental notions that come out of the studies being done in them and the practical implementation of the results of those studies. It is like a pyramid, with some very basic propositions that, to use a phrase the Cambridge philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein made prominent, "stand fast for us," as well as ones that are less and less well established and more subject to revisions.
Instead of denying that there are fundamentals in fields like political economy and political science, embracing a vast Heraclitian flux that leaves everything indeterminate, ambiguous and open to infinite interpretation, depending upon the personal preferences of those concerned with a discipline, a better, contextual approach is warranted. Even pragmatists tip their hats to this when they, for example, refuse to be flexible about the viciousness of rape or murder. They know that some things do stand fast for us, including the value of human life, maybe even of human liberty!
However, those spending reams of paper apologizing for Barack Obama's wobbly political economic decisions and policies act as if this abyss of pragmatically invented ideas could really guide public policy reasonably, productively. (Check out Sam Tanenhaus's "Will the Tea Get Cold?" in the March 8, 2012 issue of The New York Review of Books as a good example!) They ought to check with those who study and practice such fields as medicine, engineering, farming, or auto mechanics and see if anything could be dealt with successfully without general principles, with well founded theories in them. They would find that none of these vital areas of concern can bear fruit without principled thought. And thus they could also realize that neither can the discipline of political economy.
To put the matter bluntly, so called market fundamentalists − as Krugman likes to call people who hold that the best economic arrangements in societies should rely on the free choices of economic agents − are on solid footing; it is sheer laziness not to seek out firm economic principles and theories and proceed by mere intuition, by, literally, nothing at all. Such nihilism hasn't advanced any of the fields of study, research and reflection that human beings have relied upon to steer them toward a more and more successful way of living, including of organizing their communities.
And let us not kid ourselves: One reason the nihilist's stance is attractive is that it supports the policy of arbitrary governing, governing that need not give any account of itself, governing that is, ultimately, autocratic and a matter of pure will. Yes, there are some authentic pragmatists and even nihilists but mostly these positions give aid and comfort to corrupt leaders and their cheerleaders in the academy.