Our Generals keep fighting World War II . . . with better technology:
“The last time we won a war, the world ran of vacuum tubes”
I’ve ordered this new book pictured below. It came to me from Amazon yesterday.
It’s called The New Rules of War, it was published in early 2019, and its author is Sean McFate, a former paratrooper, mercenary, and conflict consultant. Educationally, he holds a BA from Brown University, an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a Ph.D. in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE); he was also a Fellow at Oxford.
Currently, he is employed as a professor on the faculty of the National Defense University, and as a member of the faculty at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
As his profile bio at the NDU College of International Security Affairs points out, . .
McFate’s career began as a paratrooper and officer in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He served under Stan McChrystal and David Petraeus, and graduated from elite training programs, such as Jungle Warfare School in Panama. He was also a Jump Master.
McFate then became a private military contractor and paramilitary. Among his many experiences, he dealt with African warlords, raised armies for U.S. interest, rode with armed groups in the Sahara, conducted strategic reconnaissance for the extractive industry, transacted arms deals in Eastern Europe, and helped prevent an impending genocide in the Rwanda region.
In the world of international business, McFate was a Vice President at TD International, a boutique political risk consulting firm with offices in Washington, Houston, Singapore and Zurich. Additionally, he was a program manager at DynCorp International, a consultant at BearingPoint (now Deloitte Consulting), and an associate at Booz Allen Hamilton.
What Are The New Rules for War?
McFade proposes ten truths as the basis for understanding armed conflict today:
- Conventional war is dead
- Technology will not save us
- There is no such thing as war or peace: both coexist, always
- Hearts and minds do not matter
- The best weapons do not fire bullets
- Mercenaries will return
- New types of world power will rule
- There will be wars without states
- Shadow wars will dominate
- Victory is fungible
Thankfully, McFade has also made several attempts to verbally bullet-point his book’s claims, among them a presentation for the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, shown below as two links to YouTube videos: first, a short 9 minute video from just one section of his full presentation, and then secondly, the lengthier, complete, 50 minute presentation he made to the audience assembled for his presentation of his book’s points, plus a short question and answer session at the end:
- Russia, China & the New Rules of War (8:58) YouTube video
- The New Rules of War: Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder (101:49) YouTube video
Aside: One of the interesting stories McFade tells in his book is the story of one genuine “futurist” of war, General Billy Mitchell. You remember Mitchell: he was the early 20th century Army officer who saw the future of aircraft in America’s military and fought to promote its acceptance. He was a brash officer who called those around him (and above him) fools for failing to understand the ability of this new technology to change the nature of war. What you may not remember is that he predicted (in 1923) a war with Japan in the Pacific, and went so far as to say that Japan would attack the Americans at Pearl Harbor with air power.
Rule 6: Erik Prince and Blackwater?
It seems to me that today’s Republican Party has maintained the kind of amoral certitude that suggests our country, efficiently and effectively, can simply purchase mercenaries to fight our battles for us, using organizations today like Academi, which was formerly known as Blackwater–an organization made infamous by DeVos’s brother, Erik Prince, a former Navy Seal.
Exterior Wars, Now Internal Control
Most of the today’s GOP political class (our strict father political party, according to George Lakoff) has taken the easier route of march through the first twenty years of this century by folding up their bibles long enough to cease preach to the country–they have done that just long enough to allow their party and the country’s leaders (Bush and Trump) to follow meandering, reactive, chaotic paths internationally (Bush, in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Trump coming along and even screwing that up!) and nationally (Trump, against his internal enemies–Blacks, Browns, Gays, Dems, and Women–in Portland, and from there on to God knows where, if he is allowed) by employing mercenaries, all at the nation’s expense.
What our country only found out after the fact with Prince and his Blackwater mercenaries in the Middle East was that our national leader at the time, and his administration, was quite willing to maintain the silence of “private” arrangements with hired mercenaries to carry out “off the books” missions to suppress and eliminate citizens of other countries.
Now, of course, Trump has decided to protect his image with his base, he needs to send mercenaries to “control” civil protestors, starting in Portland: