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Fourth Generation Sovereignty

Why doesn’t the US take over Canada?  It doesn’t need to.  Both are seamlessly plugged into the same mass economy and international Western political and cultural system.  On maps, there is an independent, internationally recognized nation known as Canada but taking that too seriously is to misunderstand how the system works.

Before the Western powers twice committed mass suicide, power relationships were more explicit and required more direct maintenance.  Canada was little different back then except it was aligned with Britain instead of the US.  Instead of pretending to be a truly independent entity it openly called itself an affiliate of the British Empire.  Back then, as now, they sent their young men on command to fight pointless wars for their hegemon.  To suppose such a political unit is really sovereign when it does not even have its own foreign policy is, of course, a joke.

Most non-Western political units in the world were explicit territories of colonial overlords run at least at the topmost levels by imperial administrators.
Then, after WW2, we are told, all these subservient satrapies suddenly found their independence and the world lived happily ever after.

The former colonies established their own political systems but the new empire was founded on economics rather than politics.  The colonial administrators went home because they were no longer necessary.

The major powers needed only to entice the new local leaders into loan agreements with puppet strings attached.  If the new nominal countries had strategic resources, they often had no local infrastructure to exploit them.  Then they became dependent on international corporations to do the drilling and mining in hope of getting some crumbs.  The local leaders then owed their power to the resource extractors with their expensive equipment and engineers more than to their own people.

The old colonialism collapsed because it had become a bulky ideological affair and a big money loser.  Keeping colonies became an ostentatious display of national prestige instead of a profitable venture like it used to be.  The depletion of wealth after the World Wars and a worldwide depression in between them finally made this arrangement untenable.  Minimizing overhead, and maximizing profit was in again.  Allowing subject peoples nominal independence imposed all the costs and dangers of keeping order onto the local figureheads while they got to passively reap the benefits as absentee owners.

 Since the end of WW2 the state of affairs has more in common with the heyday of the British and Dutch East India Companies or the United Fruit Company with foreign affairs carried out primarily by economic actors working in conjunction with great powers.
In the earlier eras of economic imperialism the great powers supporting international extractive commerce were obviously sovereign entities acting with their own benefit in mind.

What makes our own age different is that the great powers are no longer clearly connected to anything we would consider a nation-state or even a well-defined empire with concrete borders.  The whole planet is fair game.  It is appropriate that those affiliated with this system of power are now often referred to as “globalists.”

I have stated before the thesis that in our age of fracture, political organization is both smaller and larger than the centralized bureaucratic nation-states we’ve taken for granted since the 1860s.  On the large scale we have vast economic zones that swallow up mere nations.  On the smaller scale we see actual sovereignty re-emerging in the form of tribes.  I call them “tribes” to contrast with 18th to 19th century ideas of ethnic groups or cultural groups monolithically united within the borders of one nation-state’s territory.

So far I’ve seen the term “fourth generation” used to refer to decentralized, non-state warfare.  I think this concept will apply to everything, not just warfare.  I see ISIS trying to found an Islamic state, a bunch of Kurdish enclaves across several different countries declaring themselves Kurdistan, growing separatist movements within the European Union, or now the emergence of the alt-right as signs of where we’re heading.

In the 21st century, having a nation-state is a strategic liability and an easy target.  A nation intrinsically defined by an unchanging territory and population can be isolated, blockaded, bombarded, or invaded.  A bunch of soldiers who put on official uniforms can’t act without making their permanent territorial unit a target for retaliation.  Even when they attack much smaller and weaker groups, they open the whole of their much larger group to counter-attack.  Soon there are many small, cohesive organizations that begin to overwhelm a mega nation that fewer care to be associated with anymore until it finally only exists on paper. 

If 1 US soldier charges across the Russian border screaming with bayonet fixed and randomly spraying on full auto, Russia technically could reasonably contemplate attacking New York City as a legitimate reaction. That soldier, if acting on orders, is a representative of all 330 million Americans.  In stark contrast, if one jihadi suicide bomber blows up some US soldiers there may be no clear idea of who to counter-attack or how to find them.

ISIS could set up in Nebraska and call it the Islamic State.  The Kurds could have Kurdistan in Oklahoma if they wanted to.  The Federation of Occupy could just have some moving tent towns.  Any of these polities would have far more real control over their affairs than Canada does.

The emerging neo-tribal, techno-tribal state exists firstly as its people, not as a territory its people are tied to.  They can choose to conceal their presence, influence the politics or not, stand and fight or try to set up elsewhere, they can be urban or rural as they please, gather all together or distribute far and wide across national borders and economic zones alike and still be united. 

The new tribes even if their members few in number and poor have a wealth of strategic options nation-states simply do not have access to.  They trade brute strength for maneuverability and flexibility, advantages that have been super-augmented by the information age.  Making this tradeoff is a winning strategy when nuclear weapons make massed brute force much less decisive than it used to be. 

It should have been immediately clear the old ways were over when US forces could not reconquer all of Korea after they decisively defeated the Chinese in combat or why the US could not simply crush North Vietnam or even shut down the Ho Chi Minh Trail supply lines that crossed international boundaries without serious political consequences.

Since then, organizations that have adapted to the post-nuclear, post-agriculturalist, post-colonial rules have met with astonishing success despite their relatively small sizes and limited resources.  Meanwhile, the nation-states have grown ever more sclerotic and impotent even as they dump infinite wealth into weapons systems that just sit there as their roads, hospitals, and power grids crumble.

The old nations are now easily outmaneuvered by both the globalists who manage the economic zones and by the techno-tribalists.  It is now a question of who ends up with the upper hand in a 4th generation age.  The new tribes began their rise as a counter to nation-states hobbled by the threat of nuclear weapons.  Now their fluid nature makes them suited to challenge an economic colonialism that is also nebulous by design.

By Giovanni Dannato

In 1547 I was burnt at the stake in Rome for my pernicious pamphlet proclaiming that the heavens were not filled with a profusion of aether, but rather an extensive vacuum.
Now, the phlogiston that composed my being has re-manifested centuries in the future so that I may continue the task that was inconveniently disrupted so long ago.
Now, I live in Rome on the very street where I (and others) were publicly burnt. To this day, the street is known as what I would translate as 'Heretic's Way'. My charming residence is number 6 on this old road. Please, do come inside and pay me a visit; I should be delighted to spew out endless pedagoguery to one and all...

26 replies on “Fourth Generation Sovereignty”

“Proles” is pretty standard alt-spherese for working class. Comes from Fussell’s book on Class more than 1984. It’s one of Lion’s favorite books and mine too. Sometimes the way we say things isn’t the prettiest but what we care about is noticing and explaining things others prefer to pretend don’t exist. The sometimes blunt terms we use may have something to do with a personality type that would do that kind of thing.

“The sometimes blunt terms we use may have something to do with a personality type that would do that kind of thing.”

So what kind of personality type is that? One low on agreeableness and high on orderliness?

You do realize that this manner of speaking is likely to alienate the very men you are looking to court just as the Democratic party’s elitism did the same. Since I am no fan of the alt-right, please continue to speak that way. I would never “tone police” you guys. I’ll just laugh on the sidelines when you have the same problems as the Democratic party or bigoted feminists talking down to low status men that they condescendingly refer to as “het cis scum.”


a low status male who learned long ago that carefully choosing your words is the difference between walking away in one piece or getting in the fight of your life when dealing with “interesting characters” at 2am.

Most Americans probably still say “we’re all middle class” or at least we could or should be, even if they know that is not true in their heart. If anything, using words like “prole” are filters that quickly weed out those who want to stick to comforting platitudes and have no interest in pursuing the truth even when it’s not pretty. The kind of candid discussion that takes place in these parts of the internet is inherently disagreeable. That means this aspect of the counterculture can’t really be a mass movement, but it has its niche. I personally would rather have a dozen people in all the world to talk to who are on the same page rather than live my whole life playing the games within games of polite pretence that seem to consume the average person taken randomly off the street.

so you just want to stay on the interwebz and talk to dudes…

You do hopefully realize how certain terms will be perceived the same as crooked Hillary’s “deplorables” comments, and not just by “normies.”

I can agree with what you’re saying on some things. I’ve never had any interest in screaming racial slurs or raving about ZOG because that does drive away people who are just curious while not adding anything to a discussion. “Prole” is not in that category IMO. It is a quick snappy way to say “Working class, often with an emphasis on whiteness unless otherwise specified.” So I find it to be a useful term. It has an irreverent edge to it, but look at SWPLs or yuppies as a shorthand for “predominantly white upper middle class with a certain sense of style and pretentiousness.” The tone there is also cheeky and mocking. At some point, if someone gets offended over that stuff, they just need to find another place to hang out. If you think that I or others are neglecting a potential audience, you, or anybody else, are free to go after them and show us the error of our ways.

That’s further than I wanted to go right now but you’re on to something there. Tribes are by nature limited in who they admit, so we could easily end up with a dominant tribe of confederation of tribes in charge of a given economic zone.
I think the modern caste system could also be emergent from these groups as the tribes established a stable hierarchy.

4GW does apply to everything. In specifics it is about how US soldiers can occupy and govern a town in Iraq without accidentally turning the locals into enemies. In general it is about getting and maintaining legitimacy. Definitely worth reading.

They are still using the 4th gen idea in the context of warfare. The politics you describe here are just a tactic used in a military invasion.
The people who started using these kinds of terms were neocon shills bleating platitudes about “winning hearts and minds” in an idiotic attempt to transplant liberal democracy into the most naturally despotic regions of the world. In spite of themselves, they noticed a sort of pattern that is much bigger than they are capable of understanding or reacting to in a strategically sensible way.

When the US had defeated North Korean troops and was on the verge of taking all of North Korea the Chinese surged their troops across the North Korean border and basically kamikazed the American lines. The Chinese suffered huge losses, but they had battle-hardened soldiers and forced a rolling retreat almost to the point of driving the US out of the Korean Peninsula. The US eventually won back the territory to today’s DMZ.

Yes. The US led forces in the end proved overwhelmingly superior to the Chinese even when massively outnumbered. What prevented them from just retaking the whole peninsula were the political realities of the nuclear age and flagging public support. Since WW2 relying on pure conventional might has been unsuccessful at achieving decisive strategic objectives. Even the Persian Gulf War turned out to be a mere temporary band-aid.

“…Even the Persian Gulf War turned out to be a mere temporary band-aid….”

In my comment below I might add that Trump understands the situation. Trump,”…Take the oil…”.

This is another excellent essay. I may disagree on one point. I don’t think the tribalists and the globalists are necessarily in opposition. I suspect that in many cases the tribalists have been created or encouraged by the gloablists to undermine the nation-state. There is evidence that this has been going on in the Middle East in general and in Syria in particular.

“…In the 21st century, having a nation-state is a strategic liability and an easy target…Even when they attack much smaller and weaker groups, they open the whole of their much larger group to counter-attack…”

While I agree with you I don’t believe this is actually true, on the Macro level. I’ve commented on this several times that technology is changing and making Defense stronger which is making smaller units of government more likely. Perfectly agreeing with what you just wrote so I know I’m contradicting myself. However, if you’re ruthless enough a large State is very advantageous. I read that 10% of the GNP of the planet is in offshore banks. What? They don’t have an army. I’ve often thought that we should raid the off shore banks and steal their money. “Letter of marque” maybe. That would confound them. We could wipe their data bases and the money would be ours. What would they do about it? The big wigs would bitch and moan but to get back a little of what we stole they would shut up and follow orders as they care for nothing but money. The US could do this easily if we had the balls to do such a thing. Another example. I commented on why we couldn’t win in Afghanistan because of not enough troops but if we did like the Romans, go from one province to the next, kill off all the Men and enslave the Women and children they would be able to do nothing. There would be no one left to retaliate. Having a huge wealthy State or even just huge has strong advantages that will never go away. People instinctively know this and while they may attack us in glancing blows they know if they really get our attention we will wipe them out. Nobody expects China to break up. They will plant you in the ground fast if you even think such a thing. Needless to say I’m NOT for the break up of the USA. I think our best move would be to pull back our troops, invade Mexico, push the Mexicans South of the Panama Canal and annex their territory.

The trouble with “Roman solutions” is that large states can no longer bring overwhelming power to bear like they used to, even domestically. With mass media public opinion simply doesn’t support wiping out large groups ruthlessly. Even autocrats can’t piss everyone off with impunity.
Even the Chinese can’t wipe out the Uighurs or Tibetans violently without suffering costs that outweigh the gains. It’s far easier just to gradually, quietly marginalize and strangle undesirable populations out of existence.

I ran across this post on Bloody Shovel which I thought fit right in to what I was trying to say. What did the US do to Libya? We just crushed them. What did the US do to Iraq, we crushed them. I understand your point and don’t totally disagree but in the end what was it Athens said to the small Greek nation.”the weak will suffer what they must or whatever”. Anyways.

“… let us not lose sight of how the modern world works. Hell, how the world has always worked. Good government is nice. But nations don’t live in a vacuum. Foreign policy is as important as internal policy. It doesn’t matter how well governed a nation is, if the international situation isn’t good. Venice was very nice, nicer than France; Napoleon crushed it. Same for all those nice bucolic principalities across Germany. If your neighbor is big he is going to crush you, sooner or later. This is a fundamental principle of history…”

I think it may have been you just a couple posts ago commenting on the performance of the IDF vs. Hezbollah. One of the weaknesses of modern “conventional” military power is it’s cost ineffective and psychological deterrents can stop soldiers for whom the army is just a job.

The only solution I see for the West is to become more tribal again.

Case in point, in the 80s a Danish tax lawyer named “Mogens Glistrup” went into Danish politics and disrupted the entire political landscape. Think Trump^3. Its too bad that all of his video clips on youtube were never translated, because he truly was a visionary and well-read. His main claims were, regarding immigration:

– divide world into three categories: (a) “the West”, (b) emerging countries like “India&China”, (c) “Africa & muslim world”.
– people from (a) would be principally be allowed to immigrate
– (b) permitted under strong controls and supervision
– (c) categorically denied without exceptions

also, any muslim already present in denmark would have to leave Denmark immediately, if not get deported within 30 days.

He was extremely popular btw, founded a new party that immediately became the second largest party in Denmark, however ultimately went to jail for “tax fraud” and “racism” because he challenged the establishment too much.

The policies he suggested seem to be more than appropriate today, especially in light of the West having to become more tribal again. Politically however, the overton window has shifted so far, that even if you were to publicly think about such ideas you would likely get killed by rabid muslims on the streets, see Theo van Gogh/Pim Fortuyn. Also I doubt there would even be significant support by the people themselves, as women will rather castrate their own ethnic men than stop “””helping””” these poor refugees.

Maybe the best would be to just let the West die a fast and painless death.

How about a post developing that elephant vs. bacteria conservation of energy comparison you offered in Zman’s comments?

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