Ralph Peters: the concept of constant conflict
Retired Lieutenant Colonel of United States Army Ralph Peters, over the course of his military career, was in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff Intelligence and was responsible for the development of methods of future wars. Before becoming head of the department of Eurasia, he worked exclusively on finding solutions to problems of tactics. Graduating from the College of Command and General Staff of the US Armed Forces, the military expert has a master’s degree in international relations. During his service, Peters visited both professionally and personally more than 50 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Ossetia, Abkhazia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Pakistan, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Mexico, and the Andean highlands. During the Cold War, he worked as an officer of US military intelligence for 10 years in Germany, after specializing in the Soviet Union. In retirement, he was released in 1998. Peters is known not only as an expert in the field of national and global security, intelligence, military strategy, and tactics, but also as a writer of fiction on military subjects, and as a rule he writes dystopia novels, reflecting, albeit in a different form, as well as in research papers on his visions for the near future.
The most interesting thing about the point of view of the military expert is that it directly intersects with Alexandr Dugin’s comprehension of contemporary American hegemony as “Chaord” (Chaos+order) hegemony. Moreover, recent developments in the Arab world are directly related to these concepts, and Peters is exactly in line with his ideas about US policy in the region and the world at large. The article "Constant conflict", which most clearly reflecting Peters’ approach to analysis of modern geopolitics, came in 1997 in the "Options" military magazine.
Peters describes the situation after the end of the Cold War as growing instability. The world is becoming involved in more and more conflict; no end of history is expected. Moreover, along with the processes of globalization and the process of development, a global tribalization emerges. In the article "Return of the tribes", published in the Weekly Standard magazine, he shows that while globalization creates a new global aristocracy, billions of people who have no place in this system cannot find themselves but through a new trend, which is the antithesis of globalization - tribalization which is manifested in ethnic and religious aspects. There is also the multi-million class of "soldiers": terrorists, guerrillas, members of voluntary, and clandestine groups, mercenaries operating outside the organized armies of national systems that challenge as nation-states US domination of the world. The world is becoming more dangerous and unstable.
The result of the globalization process will be the polarization of the world, strengthening its division into a winning minority and a losing majority. The last category includes not only all the countries of the "poor South", but a significant part of the population of the "rich North", where the differences in income and welfare between the rich and poor will only increase. In the article "Culture of a future conflict," Peters explains that future wars and conflicts will be determined by the inability of national governments to become effective system of distribution and control of resources. Whole cultures will play a role as competition. As a result, the class war is of such a magnitude that Marx could not imagine, and it will be combined with intercultural conflicts. They will be an integral feature of this century, defining the style and direction of conflict in the 21st century, just as the confrontation of ideologies did in the 20th.
Further computerization of society has not only positive but also negative effects. For the first time, an idea can spread faster than the most dangerous and deadly epidemics; by contaminating the mind they give rise to a new type of epidemic.
In the context of an ever-increasing flow of information, the accessibility and speed of communication processes of some societies, such as Russia, Serbia, Black Africa, and the Middle East, did not demonstrate sufficient flexibility in its assimilation and the ability to share a variety of quality information, and they will inevitably lose. And since, as Peters noted in the "Constant conflict", a country’s place in the global hierarchy of today is determined by how culture works with information, or more precisely as it adapts to the Post-Modern situation and information society, "the main task is to manage the information”. Societies that are in fear and therefore cannot control the free flow of information will not be competitive. They may own western technology for watching videos, but the West write the scripts, produce them, and collect royalties.
That is, the current globalization processes, contrary to liberal mythology, promotes dominance of some cultures and chaos and degradation of other cultures. Peters frankly calls democracy "a cleverly-liberal form of imperialism."
The resistance to the United States will become increasingly fierce.
"Those humans, in every country and region, who cannot understand the new world, or who cannot profit from its uncertainties, or who cannot reconcile themselves to its dynamics, will become the violent enemies of their inadequate governments, of their more fortunate neighbors, and ultimately of the United States. We are entering a new American century, in which we will become still wealthier, culturally more lethal, and increasingly powerful. We will excite hatred without precedent."
According to the American strategist, one of the defining conflicts of the future will be a conflict between information masters and its victims. US’ main weapon here is American mass culture, brands, followed by, should it be necessary, military intervention.
“Contemporary American culture is the most powerful in history, and the most destructive of competitor cultures. While some other cultures, such as those of East Asia, appear strong enough to survive the onslaught by adaptive behaviors, most are not. The genius, the secret weapon, of American culture is the essence that the elites despise: ours is the first genuine people's culture. It stresses comfort and convenience--ease--and it generates pleasure for the masses. We are Karl Marx's dream, and his nightmare.”
Shows, series, movies, most despised by intellectual elite - showing extreme brutality and the most frank sex - is America’s most popular cultural weapon, and whether it is bought or pirated, it is replicated everywhere. Thus, cultural horizons of humanity are established and American hegemony and its ideology thrive.
In Peter’s world of constant conflict and informational domination of the US, the main thing is not to maintain order, but the violent suppression of the competitor; a place of long-term and global strategy takes local and tactical calculation. From the point of view of Peters, we will not have to deal with conventional wars, such as realpolitik, but the conflicts posed by collective emotions, local interests, and systemic collapses.
“There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines, but cultural and economic struggles will be steadier and ultimately more decisive. The de facto role of the US Armed Forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing.”
In his 2008 work “Never Quit the Fight”, Ralph Peters notes that new wars will lead the United States into a war of attrition, where “wars of attrition” are a continuous war until the total destruction of the enemy. In order to win the general postmodern war, he believes it is necessary to abandon the maxim "if you break something, it belongs to you," abandon the responsibility for what happens in areas where war is being waged.
However, in the general chaos, Peters insists that America should not only be limited to local actions to maintain its superiority. America has a mission, and this mission of democratization should not be sidelined, even if a certain authoritarian regime demonstrates dedication and loyalty to the United States. The US must carry democracy, but connecting all the global information networks is not a particularly democratic way of thinking about the implications for other countries.
Another idea is redrawing the boundaries of the world's borders. Peters is the author of the famous phrase "Greater Middle East", which is published in his article "Blood borders: How a better Middle East would look" in the ‘US Armed Forces Journal’, with comments from Ralph Peters.
Of all the world leaders who are a main enemy of the United States, according to Ralph Peters, a long time has been spent specializing on Russia and Putin. In the article "Why Putin should scare us", he calls him the most effective national leader belonging to the traditions of Russian aggressive nationalism. Putin restored the imperial power of Russia, and therefore should be eliminated.
Summing up the theoretical provisions of Peters about the future state of the world of conflict, his position on democratization, the need to eliminate imperially orientated leaders who are for the redrawing of boundaries, the violation of national sovereignty, the sovereignty of (a word he often uses as a quote) - it all sounds pretty ominous. In principle, one could perceive them as mere mental theoretical constructs, generated by an extravagant US military thinker and writer, but the analysis of what Obama and previous Bush administrations did shows a similar picture of the world. Peters’ expressive texts are key to the decisions of the current American leadership tediously written in diplomatic language. Ralph Peters rightly predicted the postmodernist-chaos oriented model of behavior. It’s very strange that today he criticizes Obama for the realization of his own ideas.