Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Spotting the Past in the Present.
Is America ripe for an insurgency? A lunatic in the White House is just what any insurgent dreams of.
A priority for insurgents is to drive a wedge between the government and its people. The goal is to make the public distrustful of authority and then gradually hostile to the government, willing to assist the insurgency in countless ways.
One tactic in the insurgents' playbook is to goad the government into over reacting in ways that don't secure but rather suppress the public. Random acts of violence - bombings, shootings - are usually enough to trigger government crackdowns by officials who can't distinguish insurgents from the general public and hence punish both.
All we have to do is revisit how the Viet Cong undermined a succession of governments of South Viet Nam during and before America's Vietnam War.
This is also discussed in detail in the American counterinsurgency field manual, FM 3-24, created by a team of civilian and military experts led by General David Petraeus before he became a household name. It's an exceptionally fine digest of the lessons of counterinsurgency going back to Julius Caesar. The inability of America's generals to heed that manual was instrumental in their failure in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Trump admires strength and abhors weakness but, today, he may be America's Achilles Heel. He's a mark for provocateurs. A random shooting is about all it would take to set him off. Extremists - radical Left or radical Right, it doesn't matter - can set Americans at each other's throats. Piece of cake with Trump in the wheelhouse.