Monday, March 23, 2009

A New Term

There was the "war on terror". The "long war". GWOT. The struggle against extremism.

Naming something defines it. So perhaps what is needed now is a purely descriptive moniker?

Al Shimkus, the director for the Policy Making and Process subcourse at the War College, has coined a new term I think deserves consideration. The "Asymmetric Conflict over the Next Decade." I would use the acronym ACOTND myself, pronounced a-kot-nid.



Used to be called bush fire wars when the Englishmen fought them.
Don't know if anything with "Bush" in it works these days, particularly for the new administration!

"Asymmetric conflicts" sound about right to me.
Well, GWOT and Long War are out ... But why have one term that covers all of these conflicts? Why try to shoehorn Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc. into one super-conflict?
Nik, assume you've seen the comment over at the Opinionator (NY Times blog) re: this post:

New name for GWOT? How about “Universal Police Actions for Peace?” , or UPAPS, pronouced Up-Aps. You have the positive “Up” combined with an allusion to the computer jargon “killer Aps”.
How about the War Against Radical Muslim, or the "Warm War". Kind of works because there are similarities between both the Cold War and old style conventional wars, but it doesn't really fit into either category.

"Warm War" implies a religious war against Islam - I assume you had meant it in jest.

Else what you are positing is for (Western) atheists and (Western) Christians to determine who among Muslims is a "Radical" who "not-radical". This is not just hubris - it is borderline madness.
The answers to some basic questions are absent from the Obama administration's new name for the conflict formerly known as GWOT:

What is the scope of the conflict?
Who is the adversary?

Is "Overseas Contingency Operations" an example of political correctness? Or is it wise diplomacy?

How should we interpret this name change? Isn't it wise policy to identify threats clearly?
Tom Skypek:

President's recent speech on Afghanistan has clearly declared Al Qaeda as the only enemy of the United States in the continuing war.

Everyone else - Hamas, Iran, Hizbullah, Taliban, Jihadists, etc. are no longer considered enemies by omission.

"Asymmetric War" or conflict is a tactic - it is not an enemy.

Churchill: "We shall be fighting the Blitz Krieg on the beaches, we shall be fighting the Blitz Krieg ...."
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