4GW’s Peaceful Evolution (Yushchenko as 4GWarrior)

Mark at Zenpundit linked to my better posts on 4GW. This post is an attempt to explore the evolutio of Fourth Generation War and how it may be fought today. The post is based on The Sling and the Stone, as well as a blog article I can no longer find. Basically, I’m thinking out loud.

4GW way invented by Mao. Roughly it had three stages

  1. Terrorize the Government
  2. Contest Land
  3. Seize the Government

Different parts of the country may be in different stages at the same time. This continues until victory. It may be shown as


It worked. The Communists won.

This is not a perfect diagram. It is possible to enter 4GWS3, fail, go back to 4GWS2, and try again. But the chart gives a good idea of the stages involved.

The Vietnam Wars were also 4GW. Ho’s contribution was to add a new component — a political effort against the distant enemy. He directy targeted the politics of his enemy’s homelands. He told the Left that his cause was just (“They are brutally fighting poor revolutionaries!”), and the right that his opponents were not anti-Left enough (“They are corrupt and take money meant for anti-Revolutionary activities!”).


It worked. The Communists won.

Ortega’s Sandinistas in Nicaragua were the next to try 4GW. And again, they changed it. The swapped the final conquest for coalition politics. This allowed them to take Nicaragua with little conventional fighting. That they lied to their coalition partners and kept power for themselves is irrelevent.


It worked. The Communists won.

Now comes the greatest departure. The Sandinistas jettisoned 4GWS3. The Infifada Palestinians would ignore 4GWS1. The first Palestinian uprising saw neither final battles nor government terrorizing. It saw contest land (stone throwing teens keeping Israeli Defense Forces out of refugee camps) and political efforts against distant enemies (propoganda aimed at world opinion and the Israeli Left). It took decades less time than Mao’s or Ho’s version, and years less than Ortega’s, but it worked. This refinement, which Colonel Hammes still calls 4GW, looks like


The Israelis lost, but the fighters did not win. The hard-won land was given to Yasser Arafat’s corrupt regime which proved worse than the Israelis. No peace treaty was signed and progress was lost. But the Infitida drove the Israelis out of the West Bank.

Perhaps a victory could have been won if there was true coalition politics, instead of a spontaneous movement and then Arafat. Perhaps if the political effort and coalition forming had preceeded the Intifadah it might have been successful. It would have looked like:


This last graphic describes Ukraine’s Orange Revolution.

First, a foreign enemy was politically attacked while coalitions were formed. Year’s of criticism against Yelstin’s and Putin’s Russia delegitimized Kuchma’s Ukraine’s main sponsor. These attacks occured in Ukrainian and Western media. Hand-in-hand with this, would-be revolutionists formed common bonds. Alliances were formed between regime elements like Yushchenko, antiregimists like Yulia Tymoshenko, and most other Ukrainian-language organizations.

Both efforts manifested themselves in Leonid Kuchma’s choice of Victor Yanukovich as his successor. Successful political efforts to weaken Kuchma meant he had to rely more on Russia and the Russian-speaking east. However, successful efforts to weaken Russia meant this support was observed skeptically by the Ukrainian people.

The last stage was contested terrority. Kiev and other cities were contested as Palestinian refugee camps were. Popular on-the-ground organizations prevented the police from doing their job. At one point during the Orange Revolution Yushchenko appealed to his followers to let the President enter his own capital building. The country was never conquered, but the capital was fully contested by an unconventional force.

Also like the Palestinian Intifada, the Orange Revolution was short. Indeed, its successful use of coalition building (not to mention the absense of an Arafat equivalent) allowed the revolutionists to peacefully acquire their land more fully and quicker than the Palestinians were able.

The success of popular regime tranformation in Ukraine, George, and Kyrgyzstan shows that the formula can be repeated. .

I may be wrong. How?