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Friday
05Dec

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. 

 


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