Review: The Complexity of Modern Asymmetric Warfare

5 Star, Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War
Amazon Page

Max Manwaring

5.0 out of 5 stars A Capstone Book — Still a Disconnect Between What We Know and What We Do, October 20, 2012

John Fishel opens the book with a valuable contextual overview that reminds us of the preceding volumes that Max has put together:
Insurgency, Terrorism, and Crime: Shadows from the Past and Portents for the Future (International and Security Affairs)
Gangs, Pseudo-Militaries, and Other Modern Mercenaries: New Dynamics in Uncomfortable Wars (International and Security Affairs Series, Vol. 6)

John is modest in not mentioning two very important works, certainly relevant here, that he and Max put together:
Toward Responsibility in the New World Disorder: Challenges and Lessons of Peace Operations (Small Wars and Insurgencies)
Uncomfortable Wars Revisited (International and Security Affairs)

The six chapters that provide case studies leading up to the conclusion are summarized by John and can be read quickly. This book is an excellent reader providing a common foundation for students who can then delve into their own research topics. “Complexity” in the title is almost too benign a word. Confusion, corruption, contradictions are also applicable. The more I read, the less I am certain of, the more I know that we are barely scratching the surface of studies that need to one day be able to master all information in all languages all the time. We are not remotely close to fully joint, much less coalition capable in the US military, and Whole of Government is a concept that will never be achieved in today’s climate.

The conclusion of the book is alone worth the price and the time. I’m going to list the sub-titles as my reviews are my own notes and I want these handy:

Ambiguity
New Enemies, New Center of Gravity, New Definition of “Victory”
Power
Purpose and Motive Have Changed
Conflict has become Multidimensional, Multilateral, Multiorganizational, and Total

After an analysis on how Israel failed to “get it” at multiple levels the last time it went to war on Gaza, Max ends with some prescriptions that I will not itemize here, other than to say we have all been calling for this kind of integration for a very long time, and it is very likely that absent a draconian change in our government, will never see in our lifetime.

The afterword by Edwin Corr, another of Max’s colleagues, is itself quite valuable, and makes some undiplomatic points in a most diplomatic manner. It’s enough to make one give up on government ever doing anything remotely “evidence-based.”

The first of the two books below was done by Max with Edwin Corr, and I continue to consider these two books, and Uncomfortable Wars, among his most strategically priceless works:
The Search for Security: A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century
Environmental Security and Global Stability: Problems and Responses

Dr. Col Max Manwaring is one of the most gifted of the scholar-warriors, and I consider it a real honor to be able to hold anything written by him in my hands.

Semper Fidelis but GO ARMY,
Robert Steele
(2006) INFORMATION OPERATIONS: All Information, All Languages, All the Time

With my remaining four links:
Deliver Us from Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords and a World of Endless Conflict
Policing the New World Disorder: Peace Operations and Public Security
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025
Unconquerable World Power Nonviolence

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