Tag Archives: doee

5GW + Shrinking the Gap: The Money/Fantasy Machine

Mountainrunner’s review of Brave New War was greeted thusly by John Robb:

Knew it was going to happen. Oh well. To tell you the truth, I kinda expected more push-back to an outsider like me from the “conference crowd” guarding the walls around the counter-terrorism money/fantasy machine in Washinton. This guy is the only one to do so publicly.

Respondingly publicly, MR wrote:

I don’t know that I am trying to protect the “money/fantasy machine”, mostly because I don’t know what he means (a little help?). However, it does sound bad and I would probably agree the “money/fantasy machine” needs to be whacked based on name alone. Whatever it is, my issue with the book pivots on his failure to include and factor in purposes and support systems into the analysis of his guerrillas. Insight into these two not insignificant data sets can’t be dismissed or ignored, but that is just what BNW does.

At the time, I noted this was a humorous way to turn the other cheek. However, MR is wrong. The “money/fantasy machine” is a vital part of shrinking the Gap.


Earlier, Curtis commented on Tom Barnett’s view of 5GW:

he resolution to the Barnettian paradox is not something Barnett himself has offered: a true 5GW approach. Although he speaks in the language of co-optation, he uses the term when addressing inter-national relations; e.g., that Iran can be co-opted. Barnett does not descend to the street level although he does support improving the lives of the persons on the street; [Tom Barnett] has yet to formulate a clear plan for co-opting the many individuals of which nations and corporations are comprised. For the most part, he seems to assume that nation-states and corporations, if they only do the right things, will be received as benevolent dictators — or, scratch that term, as benevolent superempowered entities.

He may be half right. Many people seek saviors of one sort or another; many are happy to delegate responsibility for the things they themselves cannot touch or do not have the time or motivation to fix themselves — or do not understand, themselves. The crux of the Barnettian paradox involves the manner and method of assigning these delegations so that the general man-on-the-street can rest easily knowing his prosperous future is assured. Even within the Core, much doubt about this process of delegation exists; various superempowerments within and without the Core threaten to upset faith in the systems of the Core.

For his theory of 5GW, Barnett needs to reduce the footprint of his preferred superempowered entities, and this will require a re-think about how they operate — in fact, perhaps also about who they are.

In an unrelated post, Mountainrunner himself says much the same thing:

To this end, when operating in conflict/post-conflict environments were the host state needs to be rebuilt, certain tools are missing from our tooklit that demonstrates our commitment to the mission to the host, facilitates capacity building, and deepens host nation commitment, and capability, to the mission, and perhaps most importantly, enlists the locals into their own success.

Both posts can be summarized like this: America needs to subvert her own population, to enlist Americans, to shrink the Gap. Most thinkers are stuck in a low-G paradigm, so obvious solutions are for “everyone to pitch in” (0GW), “organize everyone to shrink the gap” (1GW), write harshly-worded letters (4GW), etc.

However, a 5GW solution is wiser. If shrinking the Gap is a public policy option, it could be rejected. Shrinking the Gap is a long-term process, and should be insulated from politics as much as possible. We have a model of how to proceed.

The Global War Against Communism was a successful, multigenerational effort by the United States to defeat the Communist world, to spinter the Soviet Union’s support, and ultimately to turn the USSR’s constuent republics against themselves. This was done by institutionalizing the war, building up a military-industria complex for the leviathian … what John Robb describes as a “money/fantasy machine” and Tom Barnett decries a generation after the Cold-War ended.

Think about that.

The anti-Communist 5GW that was built up at the beginning of the Cold War is still functioning in spite of widespread recognition that is has been obsoleted by its own success.

The anti-Disconnectedness 5GW that must be built up at the beginning of this Long War must be similarly durable. Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, globalists and internationalists, they come-and-go. They’re electoral defeats and victories are as rational as which town is hit by which tornado, which Senator uses an anti-asian slur that was current among North African Jews a lifetime ago, and other quirks of fate. Shrinking the Gap is too important to be left to chance.

Rather than decy a “money/fantasy machine” we need to build our own.

We need to build a Military-Industrial-Systems Administration-Complex.

We need a Virtual Department of Everything Else.

We need to Shrink the Gap.

Is the SysAdmin Constitutional?

Volokh, E. (2007). The marines, the coast guard, and the constitution. The Volokh Conspiracy. January 28, 2007. Available online: http://volokh.com/posts/1170035957.shtml.

Eugene Volokh ponders the question: is United States Marine Corp is constitutional, as it appears to be an Army administred under the Constitutionally more generous terms given to the Navy?

The tougher conceptual question is whether the Marines can constitutionally be considered part of the constitutionally specified Navy (whether or not they are part of a federal agency labeled the Navy), or must be seen as falling under the constitutional head of “Armies.” In either event they’d be constitutional, but if they are treated under the head of “Armies,” then they’d have to be funded using appropriations that are for no longer than two years; if they are treated under the head of “Navy,” they can be funded under unlimited-length appropriations. Recall that the relevant Congressional powers are:

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy.

I don’t know the answer, but I thought I’d flag the question (recognizing that it is of little practical importance, especially these days).

Dr. Volokh then gives speculated on why the Army should be on a shorter lease than the Navy:

My (somewhat vague) recollection is that the constitutional distinction between armies and the navy stems from the fact that Englishmen of the time — including the American variety — saw land-based forces as much more dangerous to domestic liberty than sea-based forces, and sea-based forces as much more important to day-to-day national defense. That’s also why there was lots of concern about a standing army, but not about a standing navy. Modern Marines are in this respect at least potentially more like “armies” than like the “navy”; that’s why the question I pose is theoretically nontrivial.

Is Barnett’s Leviathan an updated version of the Department of the Navy (the few, high-tech, can only be deployed offshore and abroad) while his SysAdmin just an updated version of the Department of the Army (the many, the low tech, deployable at home and abroad). If an Office of Systems Administration is created, would it have to be funded for no more than two years at a time?

5GW and Ruleset Automation

In a recent post, Tom Barnett synthesizes Coming Anarchy RevG, ZenPundit, and myself on the subject of 5th Generation War. (It’s a timely subject, as Curtis has just launched a blog dedicated to 5GW!) Tom’s post is very kind, and he uses one of my thoughts as a basis for winning, and preventing, 5GWs:

But say we get the SysAdmin up and running, are we entering the realm of 5th Generation Warfare?

I would say yes.

The key phrase from Dan’s analysis that clicked it for me is that once you’re observed doing your thing in 5GW, the gig is up, and that follows nicely with my NASCAR scenario (BTW, Art Cebrowski and I were going to set up a research project on this concept at the Naval War College, but our dual “falls” prevented that–his from disease, mine from whatever it was that got me fired).

But the natural counter to that (much like relying on authoritarian govs in the Gap as the natural counter to 4GW–although it’s a long-time loser strategy) is the notion that you win by extreme transparency: you democratize “observe” for the world, for nations, for individuals.

Here is where the coming wave of ubiquitous sensing shoved through a SOA-enabled IT world gets really interesting (today it’s my MySpace, but tomorrow it’s AllSpace!).

Development-in-a-Box really gets you into 5GW because it alters the observed reality–pre-emptively–in a sort of bribe-the-proles mode that steals the thunder of the 4GW warrior of today in the same way that social welfare nets and trade unions stifled the rise of socialism in Europe.

So, in effect, DiB helps move the Core from the Horatio Alger phase of lecturing the Gap (just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try all over again!) to the seriously seductive phase of active recruitment.

..

And that’s why it seems only natural to me that we marry that Chinese model to something better like DiB, turning it from simple raw-material market-capture to serious jump-starting toward emerging market status (remember those hedge funds getting interested in Africa).

So a SysAdmin-DiB approach that strategically allies us with China and hits them where they ain’t (yet strong) would see Core “bribe” Africa pre-emptively with connectivity-leading-to-development (and yes, ultimately pluralism in politics), and perhaps focus with some equal effort on SEAsia and Latin America.

Development-in-a-Box (Steve’s strategy plus Tom’s vision) is how we work the Gap-to-Core journey.

That, to me, is what’s so revolutionary about the SysAdmin-DoEE-AtoZ-DiB toolkit: it says to the world that America’s getting into the business of marketing its own catch-up strategy WRT globalization, instead of leaving that model’s enunciation to either the radical left or right of the Gap (as we did with Marxism, Leninism, fascism, Stalinism, Maoism, Pol Pot-ism, and so on and so on).

Development-in-a-Box is part of the work of Enterra Solutions, Barnett’s (and Steve DeAngelis‘s employer) — a firm that focuses on ruleset automation and other business process services. I general I agree, but as one movie demonstrates, ruleset automation — and thus Development-in-a-Box — has its limitations…

Prosecutor: We’re in luck, then. The Marine Corps Guide for Sentry Duty, NAVY BASE Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I assume we’ll find the term code red and its definition in this book, am I correct?

Witness: No sir.

Prosecutor: No? Corporal Howard, I’m a marine. Is their no book, no manual or pamphlet, no set of orders or regulations that let me know that, as a marine, one of my duties is to perform code reds?

Witness: No sir. No books, sir.

Prosecutor: No further questions.

Defense Attorney: Corporal, would you turn to the page in this book that says where the enlisted men’s mess hall is?

Witness: Lt. Kaffee, that’s not in the book, sir.

Defense Attorney: I don’t understand, how did you know where the enlisted men’s mess hall was if it’s not in this book?

Witness: I guess I just followed the crowd at chow time, sir.

Defense Attorney: No more questions.

The Long War will not be won by just explicit rulests or implicit rulesets, just horizontal controls or vertical controls. And one is not more important than the other. Both Automated Rulesets (like what Enterra sells) and Internal Rulesets (what people quietly believe) are important. Relying on automated rulesets to the exclusion of intuition destroys “fingertip-feeling” and forces us to make “rational” but sub-optimal decisions. Yet relying on intuition alone would prevent scientific investigations into dangerous types of people and how best to handle them.

What is needed for the Gap is not automated rulesets nor implicit rulesets, but functional ones. Throughout the Arab World, Sharia [Islamic Law] may be a better alternative than what now exists because of its market-orientation. In China, letting the current corrupt growth continue while internal elites import WTO rulesets is probably the best course. In North Korea we should Kill Kim, of course, while at home federalism and states right are the essence of Americanism.

As the founder of the greatest capitalist revolution in human history once remarked, “No matter if it is a white cat or a black cat; as long as it can catch mice, it is a good cat..”