In the United States, the number of mass shootings continues to climb. In Lebanon, Iraq, Hong Kong, and Chile, demonstrators fill the streets for weeks or months on end. In France, that cradle of disorder, the yellow vests have gone quiet for now, but probably not for long. What is going on? And what, if anything, does it have to do with Fourth Generation war?
To address the latter question, we need to remember that Fourth Generation war is rooted in a crisis of legitimacy of the state. As people shift their primary loyalty away from the state to a wide variety of other things, the state loses its monopoly on war and on social organization. And as those monopolies vanish, disorder spreads.
What we are seeing in spreading disorder is not Fourth Generation war itself. But it is a failure of the state. As Martin van Creveld argues in The Rise and Decline of the State, the state arose for only one purpose: to establish and maintain order and safety of persons and property. States that cannot do that lose their legitimacy.
Here is where we see an answer to our first question, what is going on? In more and more places, states are failing to maintain order but remain as vehicles of the New Class, the Establishment. The Establishment runs the state, not to provide security of persons and property for all, but for its own benefit. It uses its control of the state to give itself careers, money (lots of it), power, prestige, etc. It then employs these to exempt itself from the consequences of state failure, i.e., it lives in gated communities, its kids go to private schools and its jobs don’t get shipped overseas.
One of the interesting characteristics of the new world disorder is that it is coming primarily from the middle class. The yellow vests are a striking example. But the young people filling the streets of Baghdad and Hong Kong are also often of middle class background. They are college students or recent college graduates. They are taking to the streets because around the world, the middle class is under ever growing pressure. College degrees no longer bring good jobs. Pensions and paychecks no longer last to the end of the month. Maintaining even a vestige of a middle class standard of living requires going even deeper into debt. The state arose to provide security, but it now yields growing insecurity for the middle class.
So far, the disorder appears to be directed against the Establishment that runs the state, not the state itself. That is why it is not Fourth Generation war. If it proves possible to boot the Establishment out and replace it with governors who serve the middle class instead of themselves, the state is likely to remain. However, if the Establishment is able to hold on to power despite its failure in governance, then at some point people are likely to start giving up on the state itself. At that point we will be looking at 4GW, and lots of it.
One of the few benefits of the circus that is the impeachment of President Trump is that it has compelled the Washington Establishment, America’s Deep State, to manifest itself. The “witnesses” against the President (none of whom seem to have actually witnessed anything) are in highly paid, high prestige jobs. They have had distinguished careers, from the “right schools” on up. They are all deeply committed to the Globalist world order. And they loathe the President because he is not one of them.
Should the Establishment succeed in driving President Trump from office, one way or another, the message to the people who voted for him will be simple: you don’t count and you never will. At that point, many of those voters will begin to question the system itself, if they are not doing so already. And that system is the state.
In the end, states cannot remain both legitimate and a private hunting preserve of the New Class. As Martin van Creveld said to me years ago in my Capitol Hill office, everyone can see it except the people in the capital cities.
Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.