Yesterday, Mark of ZenPundit linked to a conference announcement for an upcoming (September 2007) get-together by the Combat Studies Instituteof the US Army on “Warfare in the Age of Non-State Actors: Implications for the U.S. Army.” I have to admit, it sounds exciting. The call for papers asks for a 300-word abstract. My thoughts:
Genetics and Warfare in the Age of Non-State Actors
For the past half century, social sciences generally and military studies in particular have belonged to the Standard Social Sciences Model (SSSM) of research. Under the SSSM, all of â€œhuman natureâ€ and all variations within human populations are the result of learning, socialization, and outside influence. The SSSM teaches that the keys to understanding an individual actor’s behavior, whether a soldier, a terrorist, or a politician, was his personal environment, group environment, and social environment.
Recently, the SSSM has come under renewed attack by researched who look at genetic factors of behavior. Taking a Environment-Genetic interaction view of human behavior instead of environmental determinism, these scientists have found evidence for human-universal and intergroup-variation resulting from genetic genetic-environmental interactions. An environmental-determinist perspective blinds us to true cause-and-effect, and may lead us to treat symptoms instead of diseases.
These findings have immediate findings for military studies, both from established findings and original research. Classic findings, such as the human-universal â€œmodulesâ€ for injustice-detection,injustice-avoidance, and injustice-punishment; inter-population-variations in the Dopamine Receptor D4 (7 Repeat) (â€œDRD4 7Râ€) allele associated with hyperactivity; and intra-population variations in predispositions for political beliefs and political obsessions are analyzed. Additionally, recent findings by the authors are presented. â€œPentagon’s New Mapâ€ theory is presented as an example of SSSM research, and original criticisms which may help harmonize it with genetic factors are presented. Likewise, an ongoing experiment with altruistic super-punishment is presented and its implications for dealing with â€œsuicide bombersâ€ are discussed.
All findings are tied back to the new world of non-state actors and American army intervention.
The SSSM cripples our attempts to understand how non-state actors operate and how to defeat or co-opt them. In the future, research and action must take into account the genetics of the populations it deals with just as much as scientists and practitioners worry about the populations’ environments
Any suggestions? Advice?