#33-strategies-of-war #Part-V-Unconventional-Warfare #robert-green #strategy
A general fighting a war must constantly search for an advantage over the opponent. The greatest advantage comes from the element of surprise, from hitting enemies with strategies that are novel, outside their experience, completely unconventional. It is in the nature of war, however, that over time any strategy with any possible application will be tried and tested, so that the search for the new and unconventional has an innate tendency to become more and more extreme. At the same time, moral and ethical codes that governed warfare for centuries have gradually loosened. These two effects dovetail into what we today call “dirty war,” where anything goes, down to the killing of thousands of unwarned civilians. Dirty war is political, deceptive, and supremely manipulative. Often the last recourse of the weak and desperate, it uses any means available to level the playing field.
The dynamic of the dirty has filtered into society and the culture at large. Whether in politics, business, or society, the way to defeat your opponents is to surprise them, to come at them from an unexpected angle. And the increasing pressures of these daily wars make dirty strategies inevitable. People go underground: they seem nice and decent but use slippery, devious methods behind the scenes.
The unconventional has its own logic that you must understand. First, nothing stays new for long. Those who depend on novelty must constantly come up with some fresh idea that goes against the orthodoxies of the time. Second, people who use unconventional methods are very hard to fight. The classic, direct route—the use of force and strength—does not work. You must use indirect methods to combat indirection, fight fire with fire, even at the cost of going dirty yourself. To try to stay clean out of a sense of morality is to risk defeat.
The chapters in this section will initiate you into the various forms of the unorthodox. Some of these are strictly unconventional: deceiving your opponents and working against their expectations. Others are more political and slippery: making morality a strategic weapon, applying the arts of guerrilla warfare to daily life, mastering the insidious forms of passive aggression. And some are unapologetically dirty: destroying the enemy from within, inflicting terror and panic. These chapters are designed to give you a greater understanding of the diabolical psychology involved in each strategy, helping to arm you with the proper defense.
23 WEAVE A SEAMLESS BLEND OF FACT AND FICTION: MISPERCEPTION STRATEGIES
Since no creature can survive without the ability to see or sense what is going on around it, make it hard for your enemies to know what is going on around them, including what you are doing. Feed their expectations, manufacture a reality to match their desires, and they will fool themselves. Control people’s perceptions of reality and you control them.
24 TAKE THE LINE OF LEAST EXPECTATION: THE ORDINARY-EXTRAORDINARY STRATEGY
People expect your behavior to conform to known patterns and conventions. Your task as a strategist is to upset their expectations. First do something ordinary and conventional to fix their image of you, then hit them with the extraordinary. The terror is greater for being so sudden. Sometimes the ordinary is extraordinary because it is unexpected.
25 OCCUPY THE MORAL HIGH GROUND: THE RIGHTEOUS STRATEGY
In a political world, the cause you are fighting for must seem more just than the enemy’s. By questioning your opponents’ motives and making them appear evil, you can narrow their base of support and room to maneuver. When you yourself come under moral attack from a clever enemy, do not whine or get angry; fight fire with fire.
26 DENY THEM TARGETS: THE STRATEGY OF THE VOID
The feeling of emptiness or void—silence, isolation, nonengagement with others—is for most people intolerable. Give your enemies no target to attack, be dangerous but elusive, then watch as they chase you into the void. Instead of frontal battles, deliver irritating but damaging side attacks and pinprick bites.
27 SEEM TO WORK FOR THE INTERESTS OF OTHERS WHILE FURTHERING YOUR OWN: THE ALLIANCE STRATEGY
The best way to advance your cause with the minimum of effort and bloodshed is to create a constantly shifting network of alliances, getting others to compensate for your deficiencies, do your dirty work, fight your wars. At the same time, you must work to sow dissension in the alliances of others, weakening your enemies by isolating them.
28 GIVE YOUR RIVALS ENOUGH ROPE TO HANG THEMSELVES: THE ONE-UPMANSHIP STRATEGY
Life’s greatest dangers often come not from external enemies but from our supposed colleagues and friends who pretend to work for the common cause while scheming to sabotage us. Work to instill doubts and insecurities in such rivals, getting them to think too much and act defensively. Make them hang themselves through their own self-destructive tendencies, leaving you blameless and clean.
29 TAKE SMALL BITES: THE FAIT ACCOMPLI STRATEGY
Overt power grabs and sharp rises to the top are dangerous, creating envy, distrust, and suspicion. Often the best solution is to take small bites, swallow little territories, playing upon people’s relatively short attention spans. Before people realize it, you have accumulated an empire.
30 PENETRATE THEIR MINDS: COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES
Communication is a kind of war, its field of battle the resistant and defensive minds of the people you want to influence. The goal is to penetrate their defenses and occupy their minds. Learn to infiltrate your ideas behind enemy lines, sending messages through little details, luring people into coming to the conclusions you desire and into thinking they’ve gotten there by themselves.
31 DESTROY FROM WITHIN: THE INNER-FRONT STRATEGY
By infiltrating your opponents’ ranks, working from within to bring them down, you give them nothing to see or react against—the ultimate advantage. To take something you want, do not fight those who have it, but rather join them—then either slowly make it your own or wait for the moment to stage a coup.
32 DOMINATE WHILE SEEMING TO SUBMIT: THE PASSIVE-AGGRESSION STRATEGY
In a world where political considerations are paramount, the most effective form of aggression is the best hidden one: aggression behind a compliant, even loving exterior. To follow the passive-aggression strategy you must seem to go along with people, offering no resistance. But actually you dominate the situation. Just make sure you have disguised your aggression enough that you can deny it exists.
33 SOW UNCERTAINTY AND PANIC THROUGH ACTS OF TERROR: THE CHAIN-REACTION STRATEGY
Terror is the ultimate way to paralyze a people’s will to resist and destroy their ability to plan a strategic response. The goal in a terror campaign is not battlefield victory but causing maximum chaos and provoking the other side into desperate overreaction. To plot the most effective counterstrategy, victims of terror must stay balanced. One’s rationality is the last line of defense.