Sunday, January 11, 2009

Alvin Toffler and 4th generation warfare


I went to a secondhand shop on may day off yesterday and run in to a book with the title "War and Anti-War. Survival at the Dawn of the 21st Century" by Alvin Toffler. It seems to be a book used by military to define the impact of globalisation and information technology on warfare. When I was studying the war in Congo, I came across lots of information relating to military involvement of US contractors in the great lakes region. The website smallwarsjournal is a website about this new concept of warfare. Alvin Toffler has a website www.alvintoffler.net, some say he is one of the most influential people of the earth. Especially in relation to the subject of democratic development it's worthwhile to know what Alvin Toffler has to say. A quote:
"The illiterate of the future are not those that cannot read or write. They are those that can not learn, unlearn, relearn."

The dutch scientific council for government policy published a repot titled "Dynamism in Islamic activism". This study has an alternative view on how to deal with Islamic militant movements like Hamas. It's worth while to compare this report with the article "Recent trends in thinking about warfare" by Albert A. Nofi.
Albert A. Nofi gives us this interesting quote:
"When Hezbollah, which had developed a quasi-state in south Lebanon,attempted to support Hamas, it also found that it had acquired the liabilities and vulnerabilities of a territorial state. This vulnerability,
if properly exploited, could have forced Hezbollah to return to being purely non-state actors, and in doing so would have delivered a disastrous blow to its credibility.145 That this did not occur, was because the Israeli response did not properly exploit Hezbollah's vulnerabilities, and failed in the information dimension, leaving the outcome of the “war” as a draw, with both sides claiming “victory.”

Combining this with Kevin Tracy's article: "Is Hamas a legitimate government?", we can allmost predict that the outcome of the War Israel is waging in Gaza, will end in a "victory" for Hamas. One of the intriguing aspects of the conflict in Gaza is the engagement of many across the globe in supporting either Israel or the Palestinians. This phenomenon is also visible in Congo, where you got some staunch Kagame supporters, and many who accuse him of great many attrocities. And off course, those who read my blog regularly, know that I am a strong critic of Stephen Kinzer's view on Rwanda. The problem is more accute for political parties who have followers of different camps inside their bodies. What should be the approach of for instance a political party in the Netherlands when dealing with issues of foreign policy? What criteria should they use to determine which group and which reality they let prevail? Does it depend on how many smart lobbyists one group has (for instance the pro-Israel Lobby in the US, or the RPF lobby for Rwanda in the beginning of the 90's)? Does it depend on the number of protesters in the European capitals? Does it depend on opinion polls?
In my view all of those answers are not satisfactory. These are just symptoms of the underlying challenge which I outlined in my proposition to the dutch government "Migrants as ambassadors for democratic development":
"Political institutions in the Netherlands have a distinctly national character. The Dutch parliament represents the Dutch people on Dutch territory. But how well defined are these boundaries nowadays?"

"The correlation of democratization, development and security forms the new challenge of our time"
. Which I translated to my proposition:
"There is a strong relation between democratization on the one hand and the war against international terrorism on the other. With that in mind it is of eminent importance to involve migrants and migrant organizations from developing countries in democratization."
(both at home and abroad)

further reading: "Creating Adaptive Organizations" (Alvin Toffler)
"The crucial Role of Migrant Worker Rights in a Vibrant Democracy"
Redeem Foundation, Congolese Women in the Netherlands

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