Herland Report: The American Militia Movement: Is fourth-generational warfare coming to the developed world? Quite possibly, especially when you consider the spectre of failed states in the West. Many Western states are not quite as stable as they are made out to be.
The United States, for its part, is in what some have described as a “Cold Civil War,” with many futurists agreeing that the potential for outward civil war is greater than you’d like to think. And the United States government does not have a solid track record of being able to defeat guerilla insurgencies.
Unlike Europe, the United States has a homegrown American militia movement that is heavily armed and, to varying degrees, ready for battle.
The most direct way of discussing the Fourth Generation warfare (4GW) is to say that it describes any war between a state actor and a non-state actor. This is also known as asymmetrical warfare, and blurs the lines between combatants and civilians.
This is in part what made the Bush-era “war on terror” so difficult and complicated: The war was against a set of ideas rather than a nation or even an extra-national army, writes historian Sam Jacobs at Ammo in this second article on the topic of American Militia. Jacobs has an affinity for the individual and the common man against centralized forms of power and elites, whether they be in the government or the private sector. Read article one in this series here.
The non-state actors tend to be highly decentralized. One faction can stop fighting as another 10 crop up in its place. Funding and source of manpower and material comes from a wide array of sources spread out over nearly the entire globe. This necessarily makes 4GW long and drawn out over years or perhaps even decades. The psychological warfare, propaganda and lawfare aspects are an integral part of the conflict.
The red state / blue state divide is very real, but it also exists within states as well as between them. In the event that a cleavage between the two political and cultural halves of America started, this divide would become increasingly unstable within the states themselves.
The American Militia Movement: The genesis of 4GW lies in the Cold War and the post-colonial era. Insurgent groups and counter-insurgency groups vied for power, often times with state actors operating behind the scenes and in the background. Sometimes the goal was to establish a new state or reestablish a defunct one. However, many times the only goal was to delegitimize the existing state and create a power vacuum.
Places such as Laos, Myanmar, Iran, Guatemala, Vietnam, the Congo, Cuba, East Timor, Korea, Poland, and Afghanistan were all pieces in the global chessboard of the Cold War as various insurgency and counter-insurgency groups backed by the Soviets, the Americans, and/or the Chinese fought one another or fought against occupying forces.
Is fourth-generational warfare coming to the developed world? Quite possibly, especially when you consider the spectre of failed states in the West.
- Militia Groups in America: The Domestic Viet Cong.
- Gun Control and Racism: The History of Oppression in America through Gun Control
- The 9/11 Attacks: Understanding the Fall-Out from America’s Secret War
- The Prison-Industrial Complex: The Rise of Private Prisons in the US
- The Militia Militarization of the U.S. Police Force.
Many Western states are not quite as stable as they are made out to be. Sweden and France in particular have extensive problems with No Go Zones. Other parts of Europe want to secede, such as Catalonia in Spain, and are being violently suppressed from doing so.
Elsewhere around the world, previously first-world countries like South Africa are deteriorating in the span of a generation due to government mismanagement.
How might such a 4GW scenario play out in the West?
In the United States, the federal system of government can play a key role. For example, while the prospect of a gun ban causing the peasants to pick up their pitchforks and torches is unlikely, a scenario where states simply refuse to enforce the law is far closer to the realm of possibility.
Consider that this is already starting under the Trump Administration – cities and states are refusing to comply with the President’s directives on federal immigration law. Flipping the script, it’s worth wondering just how much state and federal compliance a federal ban on AR-15s, a high tax on ammunition, or a call for widespread registration would generate.
The American Militia Movement: This could happen one of two ways: Leftist states like California and Massachusetts balk at a new federal law, or more conservative and libertarian states like Arizona and New Hampshire refuse compliance. It’s worth noting that states themselves are not monoliths.
California is largely still a conservative state outside of Los Angeles and the Bay Area, while several municipalities in deep blue Massachusetts went for Trump. On the other hand, Arizona has blue enclaves like Flagstaff and New Hampshire’s cities vote almost identically to Boston.
Unlike Europe, the United States has a homegrown militia movement that is heavily armed and, to varying degrees, ready for battle. When the AR-15 is talked about as a “weapon of war on our streets,” it is frequently mentioned in the same breath how an insurrection in the United States would never stand a chance against the modern weapons of war wielded by the federal government.
This would be news to the Viet Cong. People who make such statements are unaware of the dynamics of 4GW.
While the political aspects are very real, so are the demographic ones. In particular, there is the spectre of the Scotch-Irish in Appalachia. These are a people with hundreds of years of long skepticism (and often outright hostility) toward the federal government.
It’s also, geographically speaking, a very difficult place to conquer. Eric Rudolph evaded the feds for five years in the mountains of North Carolina, despite being on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List.
This segment of American society has a significant connection to both the police force and the military. Simple suggestions that local police, SWAT teams or even the military will be quick to crush such a rebellion are ill-informed on two counts.
First, the aforementioned one: In many cases, the military and police who are being sent out are going to be friends, family and intimates of the Hillbilly Viet Cong. What’s more, due to the extensive military experience in this area, many of the foot soldiers of an anti-government rebellion centered in Appalachia would not only just be trained, but also battle-tested. Divided loyalties always play a role in 4GW, and the United States will be no exception.
The weapons of war are leveled in 4GW. There is air war by drones, but also the role of computer hacking, kidnapping and other unsavory activities. The point of 4GW, from the perspective of the underdog, is less about “winning” in some quick and dramatic fashion, and more about dragging out the conflict as long as possible, causing the dominant power to lose through blood loss and death by 1,000 cuts.
Consider the Vietnam Conflict: Between the end of the French occupation of Vietnam in 1954, through the Fall of Saigon when U.S. forces abandoned the city to the Viet Cong, the American Vietnam War lasted approximately 20 years.
And that doesn’t count the seven bloody years of French occupation post-WW2, when French colonial forces lost approximately 100,000 troops attempting to put down the guerilla movement in Indochina.
Finally, there’s the U.S. government’s track record in 4GW. The United States does not have a solid track record of being able to defeat guerilla insurgencies. From the Filipino Insurrection in the late 19th century to the current Afghan insurgency – the United States military can make inroads against 4GW actors, but it’s never really able to seal the deal.
No discussion of 4GW in the United States would be complete without touching on the militia movement, something specific to the U.S. While Europe has a history of factions in the military who oppose the government (the French Secret Army Organization is the most famous of these), it does not, to nearly the same extent as the United States, have men actively training in the woods getting ready for civilizational collapse or 4GW.
The American Militia Movement: The militia movement began in the early 1980s, when it was known as the Posse Comitatus movement. It exploded (no pun intended) after the attack on the Oklahoma City Federal Building and the showdown at Ruby Ridge. By the mid-1990s, the militia movement had a presence in all 50 states and was comprised of approximately 60,000 people.
Note that the militia movement is no longer limited to the political right. Left-wing organizations have begun openly training with arms since the election of Donald Trump as President in 2016. In any kind of 4GW scenario in the United States, it’s likely that these two strains of the militia movement would come into conflict with each other, as well as the United States government.
And don’t forget about the narcissism of small differences that tends to plague fringe political movements – the most bitter enemies in a 4GW conflict in the United States will likely be competing factions of left- and right-wing political movements.
The American Militia Movement: Also check out these topics at CNN or FOX News. Other sources may be New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post or from the British angle, BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph or Financial Times.
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