Thought for the Day

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." - Confucius

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The American disconnect in Moro Mindanao

A description of US Special Forces in Basilan, Robert Kaplan's early work on the GWOT is reprised (Imperial Grunts) and commentary on Maria Ressa's recent article on Mindanao.  And there is some interesting history (circa. 1921 and 1935) as well.

The American disconnect in Moro Mindanao

'Nationalists will argue about the bad things the Americans had brought on the Philippines...but there are people whose experiences with the US have not always been that negative'
Patricio N. Abinales
Published 10:19 PM, Feb 26, 2015
Updated 10:19 PM, Feb 26, 2015
If you read Maria Ressa’s exceptional analysis of the United States’ involvement in the War on Terror in Moro Mindanaocarefully, you will find a fascinating disconnect between what she wrote and what others, especially pundits, evaluate from their Manila and American West Coast perches.
Of the latter, there is nothing good coming out of American presence in the South, with the Mamapasano massacre as just one of the many consequences of unhampered American military assistance to the Armed Forces in the Philippines in Mindanao’s war zones.
Ressa’s piece, however, suggests this relationship, admittedly secret and hidden from the prying eyes of journalists and NGO activists, has also had a positive effect not only on mutual military ties, but also on achieving some stability in these war zones. While Mamapasano was brutal and ought to be criticized passionately, it also is an exception to what has been happening down south.
Consider, for example, what Filipino-American cooperation has done to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). When Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani formed it in 1991, this kidnapping-enterprise-masquerading-as-Islamist-freedom-fighter was able to attract as many as 2,000 followers, mainly because of the revenues coming from their hostage racket.
Janjalani was killed in 1998. When the United States decided to work with the AFP in Muslim Mindanao, especially after the kidnapping of an American missionary couple in 2002, both forces began a gradual but systematic campaign to destroy the ASG.
Soon after, ASG leaders were being eliminated: Abu Sabaya in 2002, Hamsiraj Sali in 2004, Khadaffy Janjalani in 2006, Abu Sulaiman in 2007, Albader Parad in 2010, and Umbra Jumdail in 2012. Other members are in jail: Abdul Basir Latip was captured in 2009; Madhatta Asagal Haipe was captured in 2010 and sentenced to 23 years in prison in the United States; Abdullah Ussih was arrested in Zamboanga in 2012.
The ASG could still strike terror in Basilan and Sulu, but not with the same strength that it had in 1991. Today, military sources say there are only 200 to 400 ASG members left.
The collaboration appears to be doing well, and seems to be appreciated, too. The journalist Robert Kaplan has been described as a rah-rah boy for the US War on Terror, but one cannot ignore the weight of two 2003 conversation he had with local officials in Basilan.
In Isabela, Nilo Barandino, a hospital director in Isabela, Basilan, told Kaplan to “[t]ell the American people that it is a miracle what took place here in 2002…and what was given to us by the American people, we will do our best to maintain and build upon. But there is still a shortage of penicillin. We get little help from Manila.”
Later, Kaplan met Salie Francisco, a water engineer in Maluso who was more frank in his assessment, telling Kaplan: "We are afraid that Abu Sayyaf will return. No one trusts the government to finish building the roads that the Americans started.... The Filipino military is less and less doing its job here, [but the] Americans were sincere. They did nothing wrong. We will always be grateful to their soldiers. But why did they leave? Please tell me. We are very disappointed that they did so."
Note the contrast between Barandino’s attitude toward the Americans and to Filipino leaders in the imperial capital and between American Special Forces and their AFP partners. Sure, this was way back a decade ago, but memories do not fade that fast. Francisco’s pained query why the Americans left has strong resonance to the June 19, 1921, petition by Sulu datussupporting US House Bill 12772, proposed on June 9, 1921, by Congressman Robert Bacon, to separate Mindanao and Sulu from the Philippines. The datus beseeched the American government to agree with Bacon and “not turn over Sulu to the Filipinos in the North to be governed by them without our consent.”
Two years after, the same leaders submitted the Declaration of Rights and Purposes petition asking the American government to make Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan “an unorganized territory of the United States of America.” The last of these entreaties was the Dansalan Declaration of March 18, 1935, where Moro leaders (Maranaos, in particular) vehemently opposed the formal integration of the Moroland to the Commonwealth Republic of the Philippines.
When the historian Michael Hawkins did his field research in the Lanao del Sur areas in early 2000, he again would encounter similar sentiments: his respondents inquired if it was still possible for Muslim Mindanao to become the United States’ 51st state. Hawkin has a new book available.)
There is every reason for nationalists to argue about the bad things the American “Empire” had brought on the Philippines, and history has often been on their side. But it is easy to preach to the converted, especially those who have come to learn about imperial depravities from books on American global power (of which there are countless).
However, it will take more than a slogan or a passionate essay to convince a people whose experiences with the United States have not always been that negative. It will probably involve nationalists going down to communities and making their case. They have no choice. Kaplan’s essay details the care with which US Special Forces sought to win the hearts and minds of Tausogs in Basilan. It will be quite ironic that this civic action-type approach will most likely be the model for nationalists if they want to make a dent on this resilient pro-Americanism in Moro Mindanao.
And we are not even talking yet about American civilian presence in Muslim Mindanao! –Rappler.com
Patricio N. Abinales is professor of Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. He isfrom Mindanao.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

US Special Forces troops leaving Philippines

Background and my overview of the mission can be downloaded at this link:  http://bit.ly/17yHerm

Major General Lambert and Dr. Sarah Sewell's assessment can be found here: http://cco.dodlive.mil/files/2014/02/prism116-135_lambert-lewis-sewall.pdf

For LTG Fridovich and COL Fred Krawchuck's assessment see page 24 of Joint Force Quarterly at this linkhttp://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jfq/jfq-44.pdf

Dr. Richard Swain's Case Study of OEF-P can be downloaded here:  www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ada532988

Past Special Warfare Magazine editions focusing on OEF-P in the Philippines can be downloaded from DVIIDS at these links:





US Special Forces troops leaving Philippines

02/25/2015 12:07 AM
By Liezel Lacastesantos, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga
http://mobile.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/02/24/15/us-special-forces-troops-leaving-philippines/?utm_content=buffercc4a7&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines officers, this photo released in 2012, honor 10 of their members who died when their US MH-47E Chinook helicopter went down in the Bohol Sea while returning from a mission in Basilan in 2002. US Air Force photo by Maj. Darrick B. Lee/FILE
ZAMBOANGA CITY-- After 13 years, US forces troops are preparing to leave the Zamboanga City after the deactivation of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) on Tuesday.
A flag-raising ceremony was held to symbolize the ending of the agreement between JSOTF-P and the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom).
However, a small number of US soldiers will replace them next month to help Filipino troops fight terrorism.
Wesmincom deputy commander Brig. Gen. Orlando De Leon, who served as the guest of honor during the ceremony, thanked the US soldiers for their help.
Before the closing program, a moment of silence was held to honor 17 US soldiers who died in the Philippines during their tour of duty.
The JSOTF-P's mission was "to advise and assist Philippine security forces at the tactical, operational and strategic levels against violent extremist organizations throughout the southern Philippines" at the request of the Philippine government, according to the US embassy.
The Philippine government bans US troops from engaging in direct combat in the Philippines.
The Associated Press reported year that the US was dissolving the anti-terrorism group established in 2001 to fight terrorist networks led by the Abu Sayyaf group.
However, a small of US soldiers might stay in the Philippines to help the Armed Forces against the Abu Sayyaf, the AP added.
"Our partnership with the Philippine security forces has been successful in drastically reducing the capabilities of domestic and transnational terrorist groups in the Philippines," Kurt Hoyer, the U.S. Embassy Press Attache, told AP. He said most terrorist groups in the region "have largely devolved into disorganized groups resorting to criminal undertakings to sustain their activities."
The Philippine government bans US troops from engaging in direct combat in the Philippines.
According to globalsecurity.org, the JSOTF-P consisted of between 500 and 600 personnel, including Army Special Operations Forces, Navy Seals, Air Force special operators, and support personnel.
Its headquarters was based at Camp Navarro in Zamboanga City, and had 3 regional task forces.
Several JSOTF-P personnel also worked in Manila to coordinate activities with the US embassy and the AFP General Headquarters, globalsecurity.org said.
The task force had a Joint Special Operations Aviation Detachment (JSOAD) for special operations in country.
The JSOAD had a small fleet of PC-12 and C-12 fixed-wing aircraft, as well as Bell 214 helicopters.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Where The Pen Meets The Sword: The Role Of Poetry In The Study Of International Affairs

Where The Pen Meets The Sword: The Role Of Poetry In The Study Of International Affairs


Where The Pen Meets The Sword: The Role Of Poetry In The Study Of International Affairs
On February 20th the GSSR published a collection of poems on international security written by Professor William A. Douglas. This interview with Professor Douglas provides insights as to how and why this project came about. The collection of poetry can be found here.
By Ashley Rhoades, Reporter
Teaching in a field of the risk averse, Professor William A. Douglas stunned students when he dared to risk a verse. The practice of using poetry in his international ethics classes began in 1991, when a pair of rhyming monikers that appeared in an article in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs inspired Douglas to pen a poem on the subject. In an interview with the Georgetown Security Studies Review, Douglas told the story of how poetry came to play a vital role in his courses. “Way back when I started teaching this course for the first time in the Georgetown Liberal Studies Program, we had a reading from the Journal of International Affairs from one of their regular contributors, and he was upset with the Realist school of foreign policy for their take on moral philosophy,” he said. “He thought that some people in this school had gone way too far, that they had gone off the deep end in saying that there are no moral issues in international relations: you just do whatever you get away with. He characterized this departure from Wilsonian Idealism as ‘Nihilistic Realism,’ and I was struck by how the two phrases rhymed. So I wrote my first little poem about Realism vs. Idealism.”
Upon reading this inaugural poem to students in his class at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Douglas was met with “stony silence.” Thinking that this response marked the end of his excursion into international ethics poetry, Douglas was taken aback when the following week his students asked for another poem. “I was pleasantly surprised,” he said, “when at the end of class the next week they asked, ‘Well, are we going to have a poem?’ I obliged, and the rest is history.”
And so it was that week after week, course after course, Douglas built up an extensive collection of poems that grapple with the application of ethics in everything from Just War Theory to targeted drone strikes. While these poems may seem out of place in a graduate course on international ethics and security, Douglas believes that they are valuable in that they allow students to conceptualize the issues at hand from a different perspective. Indeed, the process of writing these poems has influenced the way Douglas himself thinks about the topics he teaches. “Once I got started writing a poem on every topic on the syllabus, I wanted each poem to highlight the moral dilemmas involved in the given subject, and that made me focus more precisely than my lecture notes had done,” he explained. “You can wander around in lectures, but the medium of poetry prompted me to organize my thoughts about those dilemmas a bit more precisely by boiling them down into a short poem.”
At 80 years old, Douglas is brimming with fascinating life experiences that have shaped the way he thinks about international affairs and ethics and, in turn, the way he crafts his poems. He credits his experiences abroad with having a particularly strong influence on his poetry, saying, “My wife and I often said that the formative experience of our life was the three years we lived in Korea because it was such a different culture. We lived in Korea from 1960-1963 when it was one of the poorest countries in the world. There were no stores or stalls on the streets, the streets were not paved, a monsoon had made big ruts in the street that the water rushed down, and yet it was a great experience. Our outlook on international affairs and my outlook when teaching about them were very much influenced first by the experience in Korea, and then by the three years we spent in Peru. Peru was not as different from American culture and society as Korea had been. Korea was a really exceptional experience. In those days it was very traditional, but it’s totally changed now. These overseas experiences formed my whole way of thinking about international affairs, not from taking courses about it so much as living it.”
As the field of international security and ethics continues to expand, Douglas finds himself adding poems on new topics every so often to keep his collection updated and relevant. “Every year or at least every two years, I have to add some new topics to the syllabus because new stuff keeps happening. And then, of course, I have to write a new poem,” he said. However, Douglas has found that some topics lend themselves better to poetry than others. For instance, Douglas struggled to write a poem on the ever-changing dilemmas in the realm of cybersecurity. “The only new topic on which I have not yet been able to write a poem is cyber warfare. All I have is a little haiku because it just doesn’t sing as a subject,” he said. “Also, this is a brand new topic and a very perplexing one, not only to me, but also to those in the field who study and write about it. It’s a puzzle that we haven’t gotten our mind around yet.”
When selecting topics to add to the roster, Douglas incorporates issues that the students are interested in, and discussions from his past classes often direct his future writings. The reception his poems are met with today is a far cry from the silence his first poem received, with students since expressing their allegiance to and fondness of the poetry. In the evaluation Douglas distributes to his students halfway through his course, he asks students whether they think the poems should continue, or if they feel that poetry is out of place in a selective graduate program. “And they all say ‘Keep the poems!,’ so that settles that,” Douglas said. In fact, students have so embraced the poetry that they have even integrated it into their papers, sometimes citing excerpts from his poems. “If there’s something in a poem that’s applicable to the topic on which they’re writing their paper, every once in a while they quote me to myself… which I like, of course,” Douglas joked. “But the good aspect of the poetry,” he continued, “is that it helps you parse out and focus on the most important issues, and the fact that it’s in rhyme somehow brings out the emotional aspect instead of just being a flat statement of certain positions.”
To that end, all of Douglas’s poems rhyme, for he believes that rhyme and meter are quintessential to a poem’s impact. As such, Douglas was surprised to learn that he is actually in the minority of poets who still employ rhyme. Describing how he made this discovery, Douglas said, “A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon an Annapolis Poet’s Club that meets every Friday night down at Barnes & Nobles coffee shop. One night I went down there and took a couple of my poems with me. The idea was that people would read the poems they’d been working on and get feedback from the rest of the group. So I read one of my poems, and it was followed by this dumbfounded silence. Finally, the president of the club said, ‘Well, Bill, poems these days don’t rhyme.’” Douglas’s retort? “Well, it worked for Longfellow.”
Clearly, there is both rhyme and reason to Douglas’s decision to read his poems aloud during each class rather than simply distributing them in print. “To be most effective, poems have to be recited,” he stated. “After all, they have meter, rhythm, and—in my case—rhyme. In Russia, for instance, poetry recitals are a big deal and still very much a part of their culture. Just reading the poem to yourself is not thought to really be getting it; you have to hear it being read aloud. That’s why I don’t think much of blank verse: it’s missing that whole emotional dimension that the rhyming and meter put into the topic.”
Given his quick wit and penchant for penned verse, it is unsurprising that this series of international ethics poems was not Douglas’s first foray into the literary arts. In fact, he has been writing rhymed verse since he was a teenager, though his subjects then did not delve into international ethics. “I’ve been writing a musical comedy for the last 63 years,” he shared. “I started writing songs with rhyming lyrics in my head when I was a senior in high school, and by the time I reached middle-age, I had enough songs that I started thinking about putting them together and writing a musical comedy; I just didn’t know what it would be about. And then about 45 years ago, my wife and I moved to Annapolis, Maryland, and I thought that some of my songs could fit into a musical comedy set there. So I began imagining how I could put the songs I’d written together so that there could be some continuity, and it occurred to me that one of the most interesting things about Annapolis is the rivalry between St. John’s College and the US Naval Academy. They are literally right across the street from each other, and have a serious rivalry.” How serious? “Well, every once in a while, I will see an interview in the local paper where someone will ask a female midshipman from the Naval Academy what she thinks about the men at St. John’s, and she’ll say, ‘They’re fine from the neck up!’” Douglas has completed his musical comedy about this rivalry between USNA and St. John’s, and it is on the roster of plays being considered for production next year by the King William’s players, the student theater group at St. John’s College.
In addition to the musical comedy and his anthology of international ethics poems, Douglas has also written a set of poems on international development for the SAIS Student Journal, as well as an array of personal poems for friends and family throughout the years. He draws inspiration from Robert Frost, Robert Service, and Ogden Nash for his personal poetry, which he illustrated in an amusing anecdote about a poetry contest he entered in Vermont. “I was cross country skiing with my son in Northern Vermont, and we stopped at a little town. The scene was like something out of a Robert Frost poem, complete with snow and a potbellied stove. I picked up a local paper and saw an advertisement for a statewide poetry contest to see who could write the best poem in the style of Robert Service. I thought to myself, ‘Now there’s a challenge.’ The deadline was two days away, so I got busy writing my poem. My poem was about getting lost while cross country skiing and encountering a moose, who ended up leading me back to the ski lodge. I was pretty pleased with the poem, but when I asked one of my students in the Georgetown program—who was from Vermont—whether he thought I could win, he said, ‘Of course not, Professor, someone from Vermont is going to win!’ And he was right. But it was still a great experience.”
Looking to the future, Douglas points to environmental issues as the next frontier for his course, and, by extension, his poetry. At the moment, he only has one week on the environment in his course, but he is considering adding a second week due to a widespread renewed interest in the climate change debate on geo-engineering. “I think the topic of geo-engineering is becoming so much under discussion and is so important that I may give two weeks to the environment— one week on what’s happening and a speculative second week in which we discuss whether we should test out some of the potential solutions to these environmental problems we keep talking about,” he said.
This shift to looking at natural disasters and forces as threats to international security would mesh well with Douglas’s goal of using his poetry to galvanize students into thinking about ethics and security in a new light. He suggests that many “unarmed problems,” like climate change, are even more pressing than the more “traditional” threats like nuclear proliferation, and that students and future leaders should therefore retool their approaches to ensuring security. For instance, Douglas points out that an epidemic anywhere is a threat to everyone because of globalization. “We’re spending 20 billion dollars every year maintaining our strategic triad of nuclear delivery systems, with the goal of deterring everyone else’s. But we’re not doing a cost- benefit analysis as to which things will provide the most security per dollar spent,” Douglas stated. “During the Ebola epidemic, things got so bad because the public health systems in the affected countries is so primitive that they couldn’t deal with it, so the virus got loose and arrived in the United States, and there was a big panic that it would spread here. Suppose we’d taken 10 million of our 20 billion dollars of nuclear spending and tried to beef up the public health system in those countries. That would have contributed more to overall security than one more missile,” he suggests. “One less fighter plane could have improved the public health system in Sierra Leone enough to stop an epidemic.”
So, as we in the Security Studies Program continue in our quest to protect a world plagued by uncertainty and insecurity, let us draw inspiration from one man’s pursuit of poetic justice, and remember—a rhyme a day just might keep disaster at bay.


Ashley Rhoades graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with a B.A. Honors in Political Science (with concentrations in International Relations and American Politics), and a minor in Art History. Ashley spent two terms of her undergraduate career studying at Oxford University, where she cultivated her interest and background in International Security issues. After working as a Litigation Paralegal in Washington, D.C. for a year and a half, Ashley returned to graduate school to pursue her M.A. in Security Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. In addition to her academics, Ashley works as a Media Associate for Best Delegate, a New York Times-featured start-up that specializes in Model United Nations education, media, and consulting. She is an avid fan of the literary and creative arts, and greatly enjoys writing for the Georgetown Security Studies Review.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Georgetown Security Studies Review Special Issue: The Poetry of International Ethics By William A. Douglas


A special edition of our student journal.  Enjoy the poetry and please do not forget to read the last article by Ashley Rhoades on page 36.  Table of contents is below.


Georgetown Security Studies Review Special Issue: The Poetry of International Ethics By William A. Douglas 



About the Author
            Dr. William A. Douglas is an educator who is trained in the field of International
Relations and specializes in democracy in developing countries, international
ethics, and international labor affairs. He has lived and worked in Germany,
Korea, Peru, and China and has three decades of experience in developing, and
teaching in, labor education programs throughout Latin America.
            He taught International Relations in Korea from 1960-1962 at Sung Kyun
Kwan, Seoul National, and Korea universities and in 1963 at Yonsei University as
a Fulbright Lecturer. In 1980, he was a Fulbright Lecturer at Sung Kyun Kwan
University. From 2009-2011, he was the Fei Yi-ming Visiting Professor of Politics
at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.
            Dr. Douglas has also been a Professorial Lecturer for 34 years in
Georgetown University’s Liberal Studies Program, an M.A. program for midcareer
adults. Dr. Douglas was the Interim Director of the International
Development Program from 2001-2005 at the School of Advanced International
Studies of the Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) and was interim Co-Director of
the Program again from 2011-2012. As a Professorial Lecturer at SAIS since
1992, he has taught courses on International Ethics and on Labor In Developing
Countries.
            He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington,
an M.A. from SAIS at Johns Hopkins, and a Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton
University.
            He is the author of Developing Democracy, co-editor of Promoting
Democracy, author of a number of book chapters, and author of numerous articles
in journals including Pacific Affairs, Asian Survey, Freedom Review,
International Organization, The Washington Quarterly, Human Rights Quarterly,
and World Affairs.
            He is fluent in Spanish and reads German.

Foreword
I had the honor of taking Professor Douglas’ class in 2014. Based on his vast educational and field experience around the world, combined with his many diverse interests, I think he can rightly be characterized as a true 20th and 21st Century Renaissance Man. I think I can speak for all of my classmates when I say that every week we were truly amazed and impressed that he could provide a lecture on some aspect of ethics in international affairs—from terrorism to torture to Just War to nuclear proliferation—and then conclude each lecture with a poem that was a relevant summary of the material covered. At Georgetown, and specifically in the Liberal Studies and Security Studies programs, an interdisciplinary approach to education is necessary and highly valued. However, I think few would expect there could be such an effective fusion of poetry and international affairs that Professor Douglas has provided to his students for many years.
            I was surprised to learn that his poetry had not been published. We are grateful that the editorial staff of the Georgetown Security Studies Review decided to publish his works so that more students and faculty could benefit from his wisdom.

David S. Maxwell
Associate Director
Center for Security Studies
Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
Georgetown University

Realism vs. Idealism .....................................................................................1
Relatively Absolute, or Absolutely Relative? ...............................................2
American Aspirations and American Reality: Gap City ...............................3
What Might Make Right? ..............................................................................4
Just War — Or Just Murder? .........................................................................5
What Course for Using Force? ......................................................................6
A Cyber Haiku ...............................................................................................7
Keeping Faith .................................................................................................8
Preemption Contention .................................................................................10
Condone a Drone? ........................................................................................11
Tortuous Reasoning ......................................................................................12
Dirty Tricks and Moral Cleanliness .............................................................13
USA — Top Cop? ........................................................................................14
Genocide — Why Stand Aside? ...................................................................16
Take the Nearest Exit? .................................................................................17
Embargoes' Moral Cargos ............................................................................19
Eco-Ethics ....................................................................................................20
Does Charity End At Home? .......................................................................22
Copyrights and Workers’ Rights ..................................................................23
Nukes Away! ................................................................................................24
Tyrannical Trade-Offs ..................................................................................25
When Must We Become Resigned to Resigning? ........................................26
The Fate of the State .....................................................................................28
What Is National Is Not Rational .................................................................30
Security Purity? ............................................................................................31
Awful Allies .................................................................................................32
Tall Order .....................................................................................................34
Where the Pen Meets the Sword: The Role of Poetry in the Study of 
International Affairs......................................................................................36


GSSR Home Page:

Monday, February 16, 2015

On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance by Howard Caygill - review

Bottom line up front line:  I recommend reading the 2013 book review below (in case you want to bypass my commentary).

As most know from my commentary I am a strong proponent of the idea that most threats that we face in the future can be characterized by revolutions, resistance, and insurgency as laid out in the ARIS project (Assessing Revolutionary and Insurgent Strategies - http://www.soc.mil/ARIS/ARIS.html) with the most important being resistance.  And of course I believe that resistance is not new at all.  It is only new to those of us who do not study it or recognize its history.  Resistance is the essence of unconventional and political warfare and we must know both how to exploit it for our interests as well as to counter it where it opposes our interests and be able to advise and assist our friends, partners, and allies, again, when it is in our interest to do so.

My thoughts can be summarized this way:

Revolutions, resistance, and insurgencies (RRI) are being conducted around the world and will continue to be the norm in the space between peace and war.

We have a strategy gap between diplomacy and war fighting and the US government (USG) requires a capability to achieve its objectives using all means necessary beyond diplomacy but short of war (adapted form George Kennan’s political warfare memo 1948)

Unconventional warfare can provide a strategic capability to operate in this gap.  To be effective, elements of the US military and Intelligence Community must continuously assess potential, nascent, and existing resistance organizations around the world on a day-to-day basis.  Assessments will contribute to understanding when USG interests and resistance objectives can be aligned and provide the intellectual foundation to determine if a UW campaign is warranted or if opponents’ UW campaigns should be countered. 

Interestingly there is no single definition of resistance agreed upon among disciplines.  But here is my stab at it.


An organized group (with leadership, objectives and strategy [a manifesto?]) opposing an organized structure (e.g., government or occupying power) and employs methods and activities (subversion to paramilitary and military) across a spectrum of legality from non-violent political to violent action to achieve (or force?) accommodation of its aims.

Even the DOD dictionary does not define resistance at all, it is only the Joint Doctrine on Special Operations (3-05) that describes a "resistance movement:"

Resistance Movement – A organized effort by some portion  of the civil population of a country to resist the legally established government or an occupying power and to disrupt civil order and stability.

I was recently  participant in a workshop studying resistance in which scholars from the disciplines of political science, history, economics, sociology, and the law presented their disciplines' views on resistance and of course each had different perspectives.  The goal of the workshop is to come up with a common typology for resistance that can assist scholars in studying the phenomena of resistance which can then inform practitioners, policy makers, strategists and planners, particularly those in the SOF community but also the greater national security community.  It occurred to me that resistance is one of the most interdisciplinary of fields of study (maybe a blinding flash of the obvious to others) and of course this is why it is rarely the subject of study as no single discipline "owns" it.  However, it was noted that one discipline was not represented in the workshop and that was philosophy and one of the participants recommended this November 2013 book review which I strongly recommend reading.  I have ordered this book and look forward to reading it as well.

Excerpt:

On Resistance opens with Clausewitz, whose famous discourse On War, Caygill suggests, could itself be retitled On Resistance, since what Clausewitz meant by war was the destruction of the enemy's capacity to resist, and the preservation at any cost of your own. Clausewitz also spends much more time on guerrillas and partisans than we might expect from his most famous statement, that "war is the continuation of politics by other means". Resistance is therefore mired in war, which goes some way to explain why, according to a seemingly inexorable logic, it so rarely seems to escape it. When Goya painted his famous series Disasters of War, he matched the image of uniformed figures executing civilians con razón o sin ella (with or without reason) with one of resistant partisans killing a soldierlo mismo (the same). For us to be shocked today by the atrocities that appear to have been committed by the insurgents in the Syrian civil war is therefore a category mistake. Why – a founding question for this book and one that any meaningful resistance has to keep asking itself – should it be any different?


On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance by Howard Caygill – review
Jacqueline Rose on the joy and necessity of rebellion, from Rosa Luxemburg to Tahrir Square

 The spirit of resistance … an Occupy protester overlooks the crowds filling Madrid’s Plaza Mayor. Photograph: Action Press / Rex Features Action Press / Rex Features/Action Press / Rex Featureshttp://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/07/resistance-philosophy-defiance-howard-caygill-review
Thursday 7 November 2013 10.00 EST

There could not be a more timely moment for this book, when resistance across the world – the Arab uprisings, the Greek revolt against austerity – seem to be succumbing to the brutality of the army and the law; when the heady protests, which many saw as offering the hope of revolution, seem ineffective against the dead hand of the state and the global rule of capital. Acutely attuned to this context, which was unfolding as he wrote, the philosopher Howard Caygill offers a meditation on the history of resistance as idea and lived experience, a term which, as he states at the outset, is "strangely unanalysed".

On Resistance could be read as a warning against the dangers faced by all forms of resistance: the risk of co-option, of the escalating violence that is the hallmark of modern warfare, of the revolutionary moment allowing itself to be folded back into the ugly imperatives of authority and power. And yet the book is wholly inspired by the spirit of resistance whose often unhappy trajectories it so brilliantly describes. It is therefore asking us to do two things that may at first glance seem incompatible. To step back from the euphoria in order to take the measure of the cruel fate that hovers, always ready to pounce on people's most energised objections to injustice; and, at the same time, to go on believing in resistance as a way, perhaps the only viable way, of living in the modern world.
Caygill's acclaimed studies of Kant, Walter Benjamin and Emmanuel Levinas were already alert to the political ramifications of philosophical thought. Gathering up these thinkers – together with writers and activists ranging from Rosa Luxemburgto Gandhi, from Pier Paolo Pasolini to Stéphane Hessel – Caygill now goes down into the street where, in a sense, he has always belonged. It is his unique mix of caution and enthusiasm, his avoidance of blind utopianism and of defeatism alike, which makes this book so important. At the end of his life, Pasolini, whose work and life is read here as a form of continuous protest, was, we are told, "sombre but not desperate". Caygill could be describing himself. He has written a manifesto in the style of radical melancholia. He is telling us to think again; he is suggesting that, without the ability to tolerate despondent thought, to grant it a place alongside our most passionately held convictions, there is no prospect of making the world a better place. In the words of The Coming Insurrection, issued in France by the protest group The Invisible Committee following the 2007 riots against Nicolas Sarkozy, "From whatever angle you approach it, the present offers no way out. This is not the least of its virtues."

On Resistance opens with Clausewitz, whose famous discourse On War, Caygill suggests, could itself be retitled On Resistance, since what Clausewitz meant by war was the destruction of the enemy's capacity to resist, and the preservation at any cost of your own. Clausewitz also spends much more time on guerrillas and partisans than we might expect from his most famous statement, that "war is the continuation of politics by other means". Resistance is therefore mired in war, which goes some way to explain why, according to a seemingly inexorable logic, it so rarely seems to escape it. When Goya painted his famous series Disasters of War, he matched the image of uniformed figures executing civilians con razón o sin ella (with or without reason) with one of resistant partisans killing a soldierlo mismo (the same). For us to be shocked today by the atrocities that appear to have been committed by the insurgents in the Syrian civil war is therefore a category mistake. Why – a founding question for this book and one that any meaningful resistance has to keep asking itself – should it be any different?

Pitting Gandhi against Mao, Caygill sees Mao's commitment to the primacy of military action and the cathartic role of violence as having devastating consequences for subsequent revolutions across the world; whereas Gandhi'ssatyagraha (firmness to the commitment to truth) and ahimsa (non-violence) entrench protest in unflinching belief, an inner state grounded in the justness of its cause. Such resistance is sustained not by violence, but by legitimacy that in turn creates a type of freedom: if a subject refuses to "obey laws that are unjust," Gandhi wrote, "no man's tyranny will enslave him". This principle led, for example, to mass burning of identity cards, central in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa where Gandhi had lived, and the acceptance of mass imprisonment during the Indian fight for independence. Violence, on the other hand, can lead only to escalation, since it justifies its use by the enemy. It is also illogical. How on earth are we supposed to get our opponent to do by force "what we desire but he does not"?Resistance does not breed good behaviour. It may arise from just protest, but that does not mean it will be ethical, unless it makes the choice to place ethics at the core of its politics. For that reason, the heroes and heroines of this book, which are many, include Jean Genet, the Zapatista liberation movement in Mexico, and, perhaps unexpectedly, the women of Greenham Common whose main imperative and slogan – "resist the military" – was embedded in a non-violent philosophy centring on the affirmation of life and the creation of a community of women. This was resistance as a form of continuing education. Preparing women to bring about the desired political change was part of the ongoing work of the camp. What kind of human being, On Resistance prompts us to ask, does resistance promote? Not only what do we want to achieve, but who do we want to be?

The critique of violence does not however entail a naive refusal of death, nor of its strategic place at the heart of resistance. At such finely drawn distinctions, On Resistance excels. The Zapatistas draw their moral authority from their claim to speak on behalf of what they call "the resistant dead", all those who have resisted in Mexican history: "Everything for everyone says our dead. Until this is true there will be nothing for us." Among other things this brings resistance close to the realm of poetry: "Arming a tender fury. A nameless name. An unjust peace made war. A death that/ is born. An anguish made hope…Everything for everyone. Nothing for us. We the/ nameless, the always dead. We, the Zapatista National Liberation Army."


Similarly, Clausewitz's vision of resistance is read here as a form of creative activity, an "imaginative response to chance" that plays havoc with the deadly mix of force and consciousness that underlies "the military posture of the nation state". Resistance is canny. It has to be. It must mislead, entice and confuse. This is not the vocabulary of rational prediction, but rather a different type of knowledge, outside the remit of state power, which recognises that the world will not wholly submit to man's purpose. We should not, then, be surprised at the lengths to which state authority will go to destroy resistance, such as the modern-day manhunt that cuts the enemy down with no legal process or possible path of escape, reducing its targets from human to prey. Think of the Indian government's explicitly named "Operation Green Hunt" against resistance from Indian tribal peoples, or Obama's drones.


From Tahrir Square to Occupy Wall Street, the call to resistance has today become a "living genre". There is a new "technology of resistance", and a belief that social media can forge the path to revolution. We need, however, to remember that modern technology was perfected as the bureaucratic arm of the capitalist state. The origins of the internet can be traced to the Rand Corporation, a strategic thinktank for the conduct of nuclear war, founded in 1948 with the objective of looking into future weapons technology. And yet the more technology perfects itself the more it makes itself vulnerable, or available for better ideas. 

Proliferation breeds potential loss of control. The denser the archive, the greater the chances that secrets will come to light. Nothing is pre-given. The future will be decided by struggle. On this Caygill is unambiguous. On Resistance is as much an act as a philosophy of defiance. It will be indispensable for anyone thinking about resistance in our times, not least for demonstrating so profoundly that, for all its perils, resistance still possesses its "own necessities, its own affirmations and its own joy".


• Jacqueline Rose's books include The Last Resistance.