About CTlab's virtual symposia: CTlab symposia enable informed discussion regardless of the physical location and distribution of participants. They can be conducted ad hoc, in response to emerging and topical issues, or on any number of planned topics. Proceedings remain available for public viewing via this web page, and are also compiled, for ease of reading and distribution,  into a single PDF document. If you have an idea for a symposium that's consistent with CTlab interests, drop us a line so we can discuss it.


« A Chaoplexic Divine Victory? Not Entirely. | Main | Universal Paradoxes? »

Chaoplexity, Escalation, and Entanglement

Reading through Antoine Bousquet’s article in International Affairs, I asked myself whether chaoplexity as a creative way of accepting and coming to terms with the chaos of the battlefield would actually entail a higher likelihood for (unwanted) escalation. This mode of swarming troops “free to act on their own initiative” (p. 927) seems to match with missions pursuing absolute goals (e.g. a regime change operation or the destruction of a terrorist enemy) or what Schelling once labeled “brute force”. But what if the political goal is coercive? Does the concept of swarms pose a risk to the political objectives of (limited) war? A brief footnote on the notion of fighting a network with a network can be read here.

A second point that I am curious to hear more about is your argument about the “misguided faith in the powers of technoscience” (p. 925) leading to a rash resort to military force. It seems to me that same danger is also inherent in chaoplexic warfare. Maybe this danger of appearing as a tempting panacea is inherent in any technological advance. So my second question: Would the presumable faith in the ability to “fight a network with a network” not induce decision-makers to resort to force more easily?

My last point is on the “rogue city” category that was presented by Geoff Manaugh [Ed's Note: at the 26 Nov public lecture on "Feral Cities and the Scientific Way of Warfare", at University College London]. Given Iran’s lack of conventional military capability, its regular armed forces and militias seem to focus on entangling attacking forces in a war of attrition. Do we know whether combat in city regions plays a role/is included in a (in)formal military doctrine of Iran (or any other case)?

Martin Senn is a Teaching Fellow in International Security at the School of Public Policy, University College London. His research and writing focuses on nuclear (non-)proliferation and counter-proliferation, arms control and in particular on ballistic missile defense. 


Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.
Editor Permission Required
You must have editing permission for this entry in order to post comments.