Small Wars and Big Thoughts

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“] U.S. Marines display captured flag of Nicaraguan rebels led by Augusto Cesar Sandino While pop-centric COIN may be dead, small wars and irregular warfare will always be with us. We might say they are in the fourth or fifth generation; are an open-source insurgency; or have become “hybrid“; or exist […] Read more »

Pete Turner on “Collecting Instability”

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] Pete Turner of The Break it Down Show had a powerful post that encapsulated what is wrong with the American approach to intervention in foreign societies, both in terms of our aid and development programs as well as COIN and military assistance of various kinds. Collection Center Collects Instability  ….A good […] Read more »

WARLORDS, INC BOOK LAUNCH!!!

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] “This important and terrifying book should be read by everyone who cares about the future of human civilization.” —Anatol Lieven Warlords, inc. ; Black Markets, Broken States and the Rise of the Warlord Entrepreneur, Edited by Noah Raford and Andrew Trabulsi Warlords, inc. a book to which I have contributed a […] Read more »

ISIS and the Crisis in American Statecraft

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] A Facebook friend with an astute comment pointed me toward this Wall Street Journal article by Joe Rago on the mission of General John Allen, USMC  as “Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL”. What is a “Special Presidential Envoy” ? In diplomatic parlance, a special envoy is […] Read more »

Lind on the 25th Anniversary of 4GW Theory at Fabius Maximus

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] Regretfully, I was unable to attend the Boyd & Beyond 2014 Conference this year. Had I been there, I would have seen Bill Lind speaking on the topic that he and a number of military officers raised a quarter-century ago when the Cold War was winding down and the Soviet […] Read more »

New Book: 13 Hours in Benghazi by Zuckoff

13 Hours in Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff with the Annex Security Team I just received a courtesy review copy of 13 Hours in Benghazi from Tony at Twelve Books. 13 Hours tells the story of the terrorist attack in Benghazi from the perspective of the surviving CIA security contractors, including Kris Paronto, Mark “Oz” Geist, and John Tiegen […] Read more »

What to do About ISIS? Constructing Strategy, Weighing Options

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen"] ISIS or the Islamic State “Caliphate” is the focus  of a great deal of discussion and demands for action from the United States – and also inaction – from many quarters. What is to be done? That is a famous question.  In matters of geopolitics and strategy, it is more […] Read more »

The Cockroaches of War. And of Jihad

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a "zen"] John Robb had a cool post on the ultra-radical takfiri insurgency ISIS/ISIL and their self-proclaimed Sunni “Caliphate“, the Islamic State, whom he gave as an example of “the cockroaches of war”: ISIS Opens The World’s Biggest Bazaar of Violence ISIS is a marketplace — a freewheeling bazaar of violence – and it is [...] Read more »

REVIEW: American Spartan by Ann Scott Tyson

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen'] American Spartan: The Promise, the Mission, and the Betrayal of Special Forces Major Jim Gant by Ann Scott Tyson  When I first posted that I had received a review copy of American Spartan from Callie, it stirred a vigorous debate in the comments section and also a flurry of email offline to me from [...] Read more »

The Death of 4GW Revisited

Dr. Chet Richards is having seconds thoughts about “4GW is dead“: When I proclaimed the death of 4GW in this very blog about a year ago? Of course not. But there are disturbing developments, at least in its decline-of-the-state/road-warrior variant (aka, the Bill Lind definition). Did you know, for example, that groups espousing an ultra-orthodox [...] Read more »