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 »

The Freikorps Revival

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen”] One of the signs that the Westphalian state system was approaching its zenith was the gradual extinction of legal private warfare in Europe (and in America , east of the frontier). While this trend predated the French Revolution with divine right absolutism monarchs taxing and regulating their nobles once formidable […] Read more »

Infinity Journal on the Strategy of Operation Protective Edge

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen"] Infinity Journal has an exclusive review up of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge campaign against HAMAS by LTC Ron Tira. Colonel Tira is the author of The Nature of War: Conflicting Paradigms and Israeli Military Effectiveness. Operation Protective Edge: Ends, Ways, Means and the Distinctive Context  (Free registration required) ….Much of Hamas’ […] 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 »

Joyner and the coup

[ by Charles Cameron -- a bit disconcerted by what I see looming in the futuristic mist -- your view may of course differ ] . Okay, let’s begin this little tour with a recent news flash, to keep us grounded. This comes to you from Indiana: Indiana guardsman stopped for speeding in Madison County [...] Read more »

Heavy Metal: When Irregulars Go Armored

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen"] If the symbol of the 20th century insurgent was the AK-47 and a red banner, his 21st century counterpart may someday be recognized by the suicide belt and the “homemade tank”. Irregular fighters have always used light arms, civilian passenger vehicles and armor captured (or donated by) from conventional armies, [...] Read more »

Serpentine logic: enantiodromia, or a sudden turn of events

[ by Charles Cameron -- an intriguing example of enantiodromia aka reversal or the hairpin bend ] . Let’s start with this tweet from Glenn Greenwald on September 11th 2013, a dozen years on from that tragic day: A coalition of current and former military, police, and other public officials place huge pro-Snowden ad in [...] Read more »

Moral Degeneration in the Crucible of War

  The recent post on Is 4GW Dead? stirred a great deal of interest, so I would like to extend the discussion on a point that that is critical not only for those who have responsibility for conducting military campaigns, but for statecraft and policy as well. One of more important tenets of 4GW was [...] Read more »