Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Fourth Generation Armies Are Winning

by William S. Lind, April 16, 2009

"Events since I began writing this column have, I think, generally validated the Four Generations framework. Iraq was not a "cakewalk," nor did our initial invasion of Afghanistan "eviscerate" the Taliban. Mullah Omar proved the better prophet; before the first American bomb fell, he said, "We will lose the government and lose Kabul, but it doesn’t matter."

What lessons might we draw from my previous columns and their interplay with the larger world? Three seem to me to be of overriding importance......

It does not end with this. These foreign policy failures and military defeats – or even more embarrassing "victories" – become just two of a larger series of crises, including the economic crisis (depression followed by runaway inflation), foreign exchange crisis (collapse of the dollar), political crisis (no one in the Establishment knows what to do, but the Establishment offers the voters no alternative to itself), energy crisis, etc. Together, these discrete crises snowball into a systemic crisis, which is what happens when the outside world demands greater change than the political system permits. At that point, the political system collapses and is replaced by something else. In the old days, it meant a change of dynasty. What might it mean today? My guess is a radical devolution, at the conclusion of which life is once again local.

That would be, on the whole, a happy outcome. But I fear this will be a trip where the journey is not half the fun."

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