North Korean House of Cards: Leadership Dynamics Under Kim Jong-un
Oct 30, 2015
They have refreshed George Kennan’s arguments from the 1950s for the institutionalization of U.S. capacity for political warfare, which Kennan defined as:the employment of all the means at a nation’s command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives. Such operations are both overt and covert. They range from such overt actions as political alliances, economic measures, and “white” propaganda to such covert operations as clandestine support of “friendly” foreign elements, “black” psychological warfare and even encouragement of underground resistance in hostile states.44Kennan’s definition of political warfare is misleading. His concept has little to do with warfare per se; it is largely about non-military efforts associated with subversion or counter-subversion. While these can have a political element to them, in terms of aiding political groups and factions, the range of efforts involved goes beyond the diplomatic and political sphere.But there is little doubt that unconventional warfare and the types of techniques included in Kennan’s definition of political warfare are relevant to the 21st century.45 Unlike other forms of warfare in the proposed spectrum of conflict, unconventional warfare does not fit easily within a spectrum in terms of the scale of violence. Moreover, unconventional warfare can occur concurrently with other methods in both peace and war. Thus, it is depicted in Figure 1 as ranging across the entire spectrum, not just by the intensity of violence.This concept would seem to have great merit as a response to both Russian and Chinese actions in gray zone conflicts, since neither state embraces the idea that war and peace are binary conditions. Both of them, as well as other strategic cultures, envision a more complex continuum of cooperation, competition, collaboration, and conflict. Moreover, many other nations do not organize their government institutions with the same black-and-white military and non-military distinctions as the U.S. maintains. There is evidence that some components of the U.S. military are devoting intellectual capital to this issue,46 and Congress has shown interest in assessing U.S. capabilities in this domain. By its nature, a U.S. capacity for unconventional warfare would involve the ability to develop and execute a strategy that tightly integrated measures needed to counter the subversion, propaganda, and political actions of gray area conflict short of actual warfare.
If we are to identify whether war is changing, and—if it is—how those changes affect international relations, we need to know first what war is. One of the central challenges confronting international relations today is that we do not really know what is a war and what is not. The consequences of our confusion would seem absurd, were they not so profoundly dangerous.1
About 18 months ago I wrote that strategic patience equals strategic paralysis in the article here.http://warontherocks.com/
Senator: U.S. North Korea policy of 'strategic patience' a 'failure'
Good to see that Congress remains concerned with unconventional warfare. I asked this question two years ago: Congress Has Embraced Unco...