The parable of David and Goliath has re-emerged on the world stage. Ironically, the most recent battle cast the Israeli State as the heavy. The “David” of the piece was decentralized “4GW” (4th Generation Warfare) as deployed by an estimated 3,000 Hezbollah fighters.
The outcome of that battle is a serious blow to central governments everywhere. If one of the most effective government militaries in the world can’t protect its people from 3,000 militiamen, what good is it? The inevitable outcome of the ill conceived U.S. Government action in Iraq will almost certainly deliver a second and much more lethal blow to Goliath.
“The central secret to Hezbollah’s success is that it trained its (global) guerrillas to make decisions autonomously (classic 4GW), at the small group level. In every area — from firing rockets to defending prepared positions to media routing around jamming/disruption — we have examples of Hezbollah teams deciding, adapting, innovating, and collaborating without reference to any central authority. The result of this decentralization is that Hezbollah’s aggregate decision cycles are faster and qualitatively better than those of their Israeli counterparts.” Global Guerrillas, Sunday, July 30, 2006 THE SECRETS OF HEZBOLLAH’S SUCCESS, Organizational Improvements
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“Several years ago, a Marine friend went down to Bolivia as part of the U.S. counter-drug effort. He observed that the drug traffickers went through the Boyd cycle, or OODA Loop [decision cycle], six times in the time it took us to go through it once . When I relayed that to Colonel Boyd, he said, ‘Then we’re not even in the game.'” William S. Lind, More on Gangs and Guerrillas vs. the State, April 29, 2005
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In fact, this effect — Goliaths being in trouble at the hand of more decentralized structures — isn’t limited to military operations. Lacking mercantilist links to governments in the current age, all economic structures (corporations, etc.) larger than justified by “economies of scale” are vulnerable.
Micro-power (termites of power) is spreading to all areas of human endeavour. Rather than the bi-polar world of the 20th century, we are entering a hyper-polar world — a world with hundreds, thousands of smaller centers of power. Central Banks used to call all the shots, but now there are hundreds of independent hedge-funds that limit central banks, for one example. I don’t know what the ultimate outcome will be and I don’t think anyone does. –Moises Naim, Venezuelan Minister of Industry, Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria, July 25, 2006, 12:21:36