Fighting Identity: Sacred War & World Change (The Changing Face of War) by Michael Vlahos
English | 2008 | ISBN: 0313348456, 1440836132 | 260 pages | PDF | 1,3 MB
This work highlights a national ethos infused by a sacred narrative of divine mission. This deep association leads to a narrow approach to conflict relationships, built around an Us vs. Them distance from the enemy, in which their submission is achieved through kinetic effects & their subsequent redemption through our good works (reconstruction). Vlahos contends that America's difficult engagement in the Muslim world demonstrates urgently that different operational approaches & tactics (like counterinsurgency) are not enough. Alternative paradigms of strategic engagement are needed, but their very consideration requires deeper cultural rethinking about how we assess world change & other cultures, & how our national ethos makes war.
Why are terrorists & insurgents we fight so formidable? Their strength - & our vulnerability - is in identity. Clausewitz knew that geist (spirit) was always stronger than the material: identity is power in war. But how can non-state actors face up to nation states? The answer is in globalization. This is the West's 3rd globalization. Two centuries of intense mixing has torn down old ways of life & created a growing dem& for new belonging. There is also a decline in US universalism. America's vision as history's anointed prophet & manager is now competing head-to-head with renewed universal visions. Like Late Antiquity & the High Middle Ages our globalization begins to subside. We may be in the later days of American modernity. We can see this worldwide, as emerging local communities within states & meta-movements find their voice - through conflict & war. Identities struggling for realization are always the most powerful. Add the diffusion of new technology & new practice, & even the poorest & seemingly most primitive group can now make war against those on high. They are successful because of a symbiotic fit between old states & new identities. Increasingly, old societies no longer find identity-celebration in war - while non-state identities embrace the struggle for realization. Hence non-state wars with America become a mythic narrative for them. Our engagement actually helps them realize identity - & we become the midwife. This book offers another path to deal with non-state challenges, one that does not further weaken us.
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