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Editorial – Gilman’s Plutocratic Criminal Insurgency and Current Wars – We have been monitoring and analyzing how the current paradigm is shifting, while wondering what could be the future of political authorities, both elements being absolutely crucial if we are to provide pertinent strategic foresight and warning analyses. In this framework, the article by Nils Gilman, associate chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley, “The Twin Insurgency” (The American Interest) is an absolute must read. Indeed, in a compelling and masterful demonstration, Gilman brings many disparate elements – or signals – together and explains dynamically and historically how the “socialist modernist state”, i.e. this specific form of the modern nation-state we have known between 1945 and the 1970s is disappearing under the attacks of “The Twin Insurgency”: a criminal insurgency, or rather connected criminal insurgencies, attack the state from below, while a plutocratic insurgency parasitizes and undermines the state from above.
However, as illuminating as his theory is, as far as a large part of the world is concerned, we may nevertheless question the following:
“… As the social modernist state failed to realize its promise, the very notion of a revolution that aspires to a project of national-scale collective social reform has come to seem quaint. (Of course, rebels who seek to take over or direct the state toward projects of social reform do still exist: Marxian movements like the Zapatistas in Mexico or the Naxalites in India, Islamic movements like Al-Shabaab in Somalia and the Moro insurgency in the Philippines. But these are arguably anachronistic phenomena.)”
In the light, for example, of the lasting and regionalizing war in Syria, of renewed war in Iraq, and notably of ISIS advances and aims, more largely of the changes at work in the greater Middle East, can we truly estimate that those movements are anachronistic?
To recognize their importance and contemporaneity does not mean that Gilman’s theory is disproved and must be discarded. On the contrary, we can build upon the latter to try understanding the various current conflicts and wars – actual and potential – and see them in the framework of a systemic conflict taking place because of the “Twin Insurgency”. In other words, while the “Twin Insurgency” progresses, it promotes the emergence of a new potential world order, which is resisted. It is resisted because the vector of the new plutocratic and criminal order is the parasitized modernist state. Indeed, those states’ actions being sub-optimal, as they have been undermined and parasitized by the “Twin Insurgency”, they provoke adverse reactions and thus a refusal of the new plutocratic-criminal order. According to various factors, new ways forward that are not the plutocratic-criminal order are created. Then, those various orders clash at systemic level, and are accompanied by a whole array of conflicts at various levels, and between different actors. Assuming these ideas are correct, we might be in a transition phase until a new balance is found. At first glance, it would seem that, for example, the New Cold War, the conflict in Ukraine, the Arab Spring, the rise of ISIS, the evolving international relations of the greater Middle East, etc. would fit pretty well into this “enlarged” Gilman’s theory.
Grimly, Gilman concludes that the “ultimate losers” in the new order,
“individuals within the middle classes may increasingly face a choice: accept a progressive loss of social security and de facto social degradation, or join one of the two insurgencies.”
Assuming the way we have slightly amended his theory is correct, then this would mean that a supplementary choice is also open to those individuals: they may join, promote, or contribute to create one of the emerging alternatives to the plutocratic and criminal order, however without any guarantee of success.
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Featured image: Two armed Iraqi insurgents from northern Iraq, belonging to a faction of the Iraqi insurgency, which carries out attacks on American and coalition forces., 2006. By Menendj (http://ar.wikipedia.org/) CC-BY-SA-2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.