Full Spectrum Politics (Generations of Pre-Modern and Modern Politics)

Technology Solutions for a Full Spectrum Force: Agile Development,” by Tom Stautz, Armaments for Full Spectrum Warfare Conference & Exhibition, 25 June 2003, http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2003armaments/1130.ppt.

Colonel Stauz’s presentation for the Armaments for FSW define full spectrum dominance as

The ability of US forces, operating unilaterally or in combination with multinational and inter-agency partners, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the full range of military operations.

This can be reworked to define political full spectrum dominance as

The ability of forces, operating alone or with others, to defeat any collection of adversaries and define any issue across the full range of political operations

“Spectrum” is a reference to the color spectrum. Think of the different generations of politics like a color line, with earlier phases running into later ones

Five “colors” are shown here

  • Pre-Modern Politics (PMP)
  • First Generation of Modern Politics (1GP)
  • Second Generation of Modern Politics (2GP)
  • Third Generation of Modern Politics (3GP)
  • Fourth Generation of Modern Politics (4GP)

Pre-Modern Politics


PMP is sometimes not included because it is barely politics as we recognize it. Unlike modern politics it is not organized for a belief, ideology, party, or even candidate — there is no “point” to a PMP network other than the PMP network itself. PMP networks are familial networks, The only way to directly increase a familial network is to increase the number of children, though “permanent” alliances can be forged with other nets through marriages.

PMP networks are very steep, and appear to be timeless.

First Generation of Modern Politics


1GP is sometimes called the “mass line” or the “spoils system.” 1GP nets often triumphed over PMP nets because 1GP nets scale quickly. The head of the net takes resources (“spoils”) from the government to give to his subordinates, who in turn have their own spoiled subordinates, and so on.

1GP networks, sensing that the “vanquished” PMP nets may be biding their time, often attempt to destroy PGPS. This reached its most extreme form in Pol Pot’s Cambodia, where an immediate and explicit program of family disintegration was instituted. China and the Catholic Church used offspring restrictions to achieve the same goals less violently.

1GP networks are slightly less steep than PMP nets. While 1GP governments are ancient (Exodus clearly describes a ruling 1GP net built by Moses), 1GP nets with “political program” were introduced to the United State by Andrew Jackson.

Second Generation of Modern Politics


2GP is media based. Dramatically cutting the costs associated with a spoils system, 2GP nets use relatively inexpensive voters to talk to the people directly. In 2GP, the people are convinced they will get something out of the politician directly, instead of having to go through a corrupt intermediary.

2GP is both more and less steep than 1GP. It is less steep because the people are on the same level as each other, and there are fewer intermediaries between the politician and the people. But the politician is still as vital as ever. Think of 1GP as a mountain gradually descending into a valley, and 2GP of a mountain, a sheer cliff face, and the valley below.

Franklin Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” showed the power of 2GP in America.

Third Generation of Modern Politics

Because it’s based on maneuver, the chart is a bit confusing. Hold on


2GP required new technologies (media) to cut costs. 3GP uses no new technology. 2GP won because 2GP nets scale bigger, cheaper than 1GP networks. 3GP nets are much smaller. 3GP is a bridge between organization-based earlier earlier generations of politics and the ideological-networked Fourth Generation.

Small 3GP networks can beat big 2GP nets because 3GP organizations are fast. They “get inside the enemy’s decision loop,” paralyzing the opponent and making the enemy’s mistake compound on mistake. However, self-synchronization is vital in Third Generation Politics. Maneuver without coordination is “flip-flopping,” as Senator Kerry discovered to his memory.

The greatest practitioner of 3GP in American history is President Clinton.

Fourth Generation of Modern Politics


Exhaustively covered before. Much of tdaxp :: Doctrine is now dedicated to the concept.

Are any organizations now geared to politic Full Spectrum — to “outshine” in every “color”? What happens to successful FSP movements when they vanquish their enemies? Those are posts for other times…

Economic, Political, and Legal Reforms After 1989

I think you need to break down the chart…,” by Chirol, tdaxp, 6 May 2005, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/05/05/from_communism_to_war_and_peace.html.

Chirol made some helpful points on my first and second post-Fall of Communism charts, including

I think you need to break the chart down into the three phases Barnett lists for integration:

Political Change
Economic Change
Legal Change

And as he notes, they can come in different orders all based on which is best for the country at the time

Using my old categories of democracy, authoritarian growth, and stagnation a la North Korea, here we go again:


The diagram identifies the three main types of reforms — economic, political, and legal — as well as the three type of “end states” — communist stagnation, authoritarian growth, and liberal democracy. As before, the timeline begins in 1989 with the fall of world Communism

To start off, a state first decides whether to abandon Communist economics. Every nation but Cuba and North Korea abandon economic Communism. Both Cuba and the DPRK enter communist stagnation, and attempt to find other ways to aquire capital

For a post-Communist economy, the next decision is whether to reform politically. Russia, Serbia, and Poland both chose yes to this, and soon had open elections. Vietnam and Laos declines, keeping the one-party “Communist” state, while China violently demured. States that kept the one-party dictatorship entered the authoritarian growth stage, which continues to this day.

The last stage is whether to have substantive legal reform — the question of if a rule a law is established. Poland and Czechia chose yes, Russia and Serbia chose no. States that don’t quickly face organized attempts to remove the government. These can be convention armed warfare, seperatist movements, Islamic insurgencies, etc. If there is a war, the only known resolution is that the post-Communist regime must lose, and reenter the political reform stage (possibly under international occupation). Without an armed resistance, liberal networks will form which will overthrow the government in a “color revolution.”

I think the most controversial aspect of this chart would be it does not allow for legal reforms to come before political reforms. While some might argue that Chinese legal progress amounts to “importing rule-sets they could now create internally,” this is questionable. The important aspect of legal reform isn’t just better commercial laws — it is the rule of law. China has established a successful regime based on corruption and bribery horizontal control through side payments.

My chart is historical, not speculative. Every path has been completed by at least one state, while states not yet at an end-state can be seen to be on the path. Personally, I believe China will become a liberal democracy. But it’s closest analogue — Wilhelmine Germany — aborted its growth to launch a World War. Hopefully we will be more lucky this time.

The chart is available in Adobe Acrobat, JPEG, and OpenOffice.org 1.9 beta formats.