Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (the mahdi’s arrival)

The greatest thing about a fiction narrative is that truth can be told without a lot of facts running around and distracting us. So in the movie “Lucy” and when actor Morgan Freeman tells us there are only two outcomes for the OODA loop of a cell,  because it is fiction, we can take those facts presented in the fictional movie as truths and run with it.

I already fictionalized what he said by asking you to think of the cell’s life as an OODA loop. If you don’t know what an OODA loop is, then you might as well move on or Google, because I’m not going to get into that discussion here. What I will say is that it sounds to me like cancer starts when, like Lucy, when one cell in your body gives up. There are two option at the end of every OODA loop. Option 1: a human cell becomes immortal and is called a cancer and becomes immortal or Option 2: dying and letting the next generation takeover.

In other words, for a human battling cancer and in a moment of time for one of their cells at the center of its environment, the cell sees no future for other generations of its kind and position. Within the confines of the cells position it becomes immortal and is called cancer. Through the consequences of this decision, the cell’s loop is literally broken by the magnitude of the inertia of that decision and the outcome of this revelation (through the cell’s decision process) and the cell stops evolving and the cell becomes cancer.

A friend of ours, who we have loved since she was 3-years-old, recently died of brain-cancer. I have a hard time believing there was any cell in her body that had given-up, but I have no clue as to what the environment was like when the cell did give-up.

I have said once that cellphones are the cigarettes of her generation, and she loved the cell phone, and selfies, and Facebook, and all that connecting they represent. In a word, she lived inside her connected generation, so it is hard to blame either her or her cellphone. She basically ended her last 60 days of life expressing herself with the one finger that could still move, and thanking the doctors who kept cutting on her brain (de-massing) down to the last finger. So she was not a quitter in any sense of the word.

But just because one cell might have given-up, it doesn’t mean we should overlook the objects and those connections that might have produced such a toxic environment and made a cell simply give up on evolution and go immortal.

What it does mean is that we have to observe the narrative from a distance and the magnitude of the narrative is by distance square. In other words, that distance our friend had to travel in battling cancer is very hard to remember, because, I, for one, think about that little girl everyday, and remaining positive is still good medicine.

Still,  that movie did produce a powerful image as the “mahdi” Lucy sees no future and becomes immortal. What’s that mean? Is the mahdi a form of cancer, or vice versa?

A Good Business Model Builds Barriers Not Fences

People power, Russia style: Small-town lessons about Russian democracy – Yahoo News

“The local amber operators live in the Baltiysk area, they know the place and the people, and in a variety of ways they take the local population’s interests and needs into account. They ran the district council, but nobody claims they were doing a bad job of it,” says Vladimir Abramov, an independent political expert. “They were mostly members of United Russia and big supporters of Putin.”

So the businessmen put the military structure (which had basically dissolved) to work manufacturing a product positioned in the world’s market, and Putin’s culture followed those businessmen back to their town and voted. It voted to make a decision, but not to change a position. In other words, they are still with Putin and the system seems to be working.

But did the businessmen create barriers that controls the velocity between those in the town and those in the global market, or did they try to build a fence around the town and whose gate only opens to the few?

For me a gate, which is what every good fence needs, is no good unless it’s there as an ornament. Those in the know (know how to open gates) seem to build close to the gate, and, in a way, those building close to the gate are in charge of the structure. I am just saying, I think those living close to the gate can become barriers too easily jumped over and too limiting in letting the few move around the barrier that represents, in this case, those voting. On the other hand, the town is dealing with a natural resource similar to oil, so maybe a closed system is not too bad, as long as the gate is well guarded. As we have seen in the Ukraine, if those guarding the gate are weak, the system doesn’t last long.

If including the military culture within a Capitalistic system creates fences or barriers, I don’t know the answer. The system inside the Russian town maybe Communistic or not, but the financial advantage in the world goes (so far) to the Capitalists.

But this business model the Russian businessmen of the town used is very similar in structure as what the Chinese used in Pakistan. In the Chinese system it seemed to be a winning strategy, but since I last looked, I don’t know if the Chinese model built barriers or fences.

In the Chinese model, they hired all ex-military higher-ups to run their manufacturing and the Chinese kept their economy going by keeping their people working. The business model had, what is called, a Cheap Trick. A Cheap Trick is basically a structure-building narrative with an advantage. The advantage in this case was that the military leaders took charge of the Chinese (I am thinking mostly Chinese workers) manufacturing facilities after serving in the Pakistani military as generals. Normally such a thing would raise some eyebrows with thoughts of nationalizing the manufacturing in Pakistan.

But the move in hiring these ex-generals were thought to be on the up and up. There was no pretext to hide this fact locally, nationally, and globally, and the global Capitalist responded favorably.

Perhaps in the successful Chinese model some events could give us clues as to what kind of structure we are dealing with inside the model’s environment. Maybe one event,  The Red Mosque Massacre, could show us either barrier or fence building.

After the inhabitants of The Red Mosque made a violent attack on a Chinese massage parlor (Who knew massage parlors were even available in Pakistan?), the Pakistan Government responded to the Chinese request, to protect Chinese citizens, by making the inhabitants of the mosque, who were mostly the women who perpetrated the attack on the massage parlor, a target to be massacred.

So in that instant, there was mostly fence building going on, as the Pakistani Army, in effect, isolate the Chinese from the people inside the mosque and surrounding environment.

On the other hand, as the article points out, nobody seems to be jumping over the Putin barrier, so maybe the Town’s model will be just as successful, as that used by the Chinese in Pakistan, but at a smaller magnitude per event.

via People power, Russia style: Small-town lessons about Russian democracy – Yahoo News.

The Missing Operational Level

CAAT and Red Team

ISAF has a Counter Insurgency Assistance and Advisory Team (CAAT) as an in-theater think tank about the conduct of COIN. This CAAT could provide the vital link between the conduct of the campaign and the appropriate theory and doctrine behind COIN, in order to point out the lack of a cohesive operational plan. Instead, the CAAT conducts courses for low level coalition force commanders in COIN tactics, as noted above. This is no doubt influenced by the conclusion that COIN, in its current conception, is only a tactic, lacking an operational aspect. CAAT thus becomes a lessons learned and teaching center for tactical level COIN.

The red team, of which one is attached to IJC, analyzes operational plans in order to identify critical and decisive points, and to point out those where the risk or the consequence is highest. The analysis of the plan is still based on the soundness of the general plan and concept, not questioning the approach as a whole, but rather identifying the points of severe risk. All analysis is based on the premise that assumptions and facts of the original order are correct. The Red Team can thus not alter or suggest changes and flaws in the overall campaign concept, but only point at individual parts of the plan that are associated with risk or grave consequence at failure. This stays well in line with the rest of IJC focus on singular efforts and tactical level operations.

Where the CAAT and the Red Team effectively could have provided a sanity check to the overall concept, or pointing out the lack of cohesion in plan and the lacking overall operational plan, it becomes, rather as the rest of IJC, predominantly focused on individual, isolated efforts.

Not only a “sanity check”, but the gaming between the CAAT and the Red Team (which is really what the above article is talking about) produces a re-orientation of anyone Observing.

The Destruction, caused by the feed-forward of critical and decisive points not Observed by CAAT, by the Red Team, combines with theConstruction, caused by feed-back of the advantage observed by the Red Team, by CAAT’s Action of  re-orienting to that advantage (the D&C in the OODA loop).

As the above narrative in quotes is telling us that there is no reorientation by CAAT in the environment of the game. My guess is that this is not a mistake, but a tactic.

In other words, the Small Wars Journal isn’t explaining a flaw in the plan, but a tactic in the strategy of those Observing the environment of the war.

For whatever the reason, those observing don’t want the CAAT to reorient. This tactic (of limiting the Destruction and Construction in the processing of the OODA loop) is a way of controlling reorientation in the operation of the war.

via The Missing Operational Level | Small Wars Journal.

Strategy: Winning or Calculation?

Mark asks, on my twitter feed, a good question. I presume he made it after reading the post to the link in the tweet Critt also made on my feed:

Here is the post:

“What is strategy? A mental tapestry of changing intentions for harmonizing and focusing our efforts as a basis for realizing some aim or purpose in an unfolding and often unforeseen world of many bewildering events and many contending interests.

John Boyd

This quote comes from Science, Strategy and War: The Strategic Theory of John Boyd, Frans Osinga. Pg.13.”


While Boyd describes the essence of strategy, he does leave it open to Mark’s question. Is the essence of strategy about winning or is it in the calculations?

I don’t know Boyd that well to quote him accurately, but in essence he said that if you are not willing to take the steps to winning, then you should think about joining the other side. Clearly to Boyd winning is everything.

From Boyd’s quote: strategy is a bunch of steps structured as a mental tapestry that is mentally changing at different tempos and focus. At the end of the structuring process clarity is found in the forms created.

As the three domains of war are Honor, Interest, and Fear, out of the “many contending interests”, Boyd was building the structures for  the center domain “Interest”. Strategy builds a structure of form where none was before. Boyd was building interest out of human morality, and his Ends, Ways, and Means was through the OODA loop.

So the essence of strategy is not about winning, but about the calculations needed to create (build). In Boyd’s definition of strategy he is creating interest through calculations.

However, Boyd is not building a structure or domain to go to war on. To Boyd winning is everything which also means losing According to Boyd, winning might mean joining the other side, which, like the son of Genghis Khan found out, is losing.

With interest, the possibility of losing is taken out of the “bewildering events”, because a structure is created in the past (the beginning of the “End”) to build Honor on; and there is less to Fear, because a structure is also created in the future (the end of the “End”) that can be seen.

While building interest where interest was not before is a simple thought, I am sure that strategy is, in essence, simple.

World Citizen: Will China Challenge U.S. as Global Superpower?

Take, for example, the Anatolian Eagle exercises recently held in Turkey’s Konya province. For nearly a decade, the exercise had brought together NATO allies Turkey and the U.S., along with Israel, for military exercises. This year, instead of Israel and the U.S., the maneuvers included the Chinese air force and its Sukhoi SU-27 and Mig-29 planes. On the way to Konya, the Chinese fighter jets stopped over in Iran for refueling, adding to the starkly non-NATO character of their participation.

via WPR Article | World Citizen: Will China Challenge U.S. as Global Superpower?.

For the structure to be complete, now all China needs are some drones to over-fly Iraq.

So Iraq, how is that, “going it alone” working out?


John Robb was talking the other day, and Zenpundit  later expanded, about how to enter into another’s OODA loop. I suggested one way of positioning inside another’s loop, but I have thought of another. You can enter into another’s OODA loop through flux. Flux is when your position is within another’s, in such a way that the image of Ying/Yang is displayed. It can be said that you are in the position of Ying/Yang with another. This is an insurgency (incumbent/insurgency) position called Fourth Generational Warfare (4GW).

Call it what you want, Fourth Generational Warfare or a Fourth Generational World, this is a civil war, as we become connected, because of Globalization in Communication, like never before.

Well, maybe not unlike before. There could have been 3 more or less other cycles, so this could be the twelfth or thirteen, but who knows? In fact, this 4GW stuff is probably what happens when the world historically becomes connect on a globe scale. Maybe in a Rome-Countrymen-lend-me-your-ear type connection.

The problem is that there is no 5GW to go forward towards a future worth living. Of course there actually is 5GW, but it is without ethics, and it is ethics that a movement like Ying/Yang is structurally built out of. Therefore, a 5GW world is a world without structure and without structure a thing doesn’t exist.

What’s so terrifying about 4GW is that neither the incumbent nor the insurgency has an advantage over the other; they simply move one country, or another, this way or that. They are perpendicular forces (Ying over yang is the exponent that defines the structure of the insurgency) that just steer the movement one way or the other. Think General Sherman here, as he marched across the South in a most un-American maneuver. At least un-American for, at the time,  an American North and South.

But I would say we have choices:

  • We could continue to build a middle class, so the 1% incumbent force doesn’t over-power the 99%.
  • We could go back to 1GW, which is happening on our southern border.
  • We could go back to 2GW, which is happening on our northern border.
  • We could continually engage in 3GW, as the US has been in Iraq and Afghanistan, to mention just a few.
  • Or we could just continue to be terrified, as a war without ethics approaches.

It should be noted that the problem isn’t that the ethics of the American middle class has changed, as Paul Krugman’s graph shows us it hasn’t. If the ethic of the 99% had been the one changing so much, then there would have been big spikes in the addition/  subtraction of resources. The problem is that the ethics of the 1% is in constant change, as they “get religion” through the regulation of the market place, or lose their faith in the square.

The annals of Chinese overreach (II) – By Tom Ricks | The Best Defense

The annals of Chinese overreach (II) – By Tom Ricks | The Best Defense

In a distribution of energy (oil) the sum of all forces is zero. Therefore, the need to accelerate mass (mass times acceleration = force), along the distribution (shown as red arrows) is the same. But then, the potential of the distribution is negative to the kinetic (energy on the move) energy of the distribution, so what the map doesn’t show is the implied negative in the context of oil.

This map shows the missing potential. The added arrows also show the potential flow of oil if the Middle East somehow gets so messed up that the oil flow to China is interrupted (what’s the chance of that A?). What this means to me (because the sum of all forces is equal to zero) is that a war in Vietnam or the Philippines is just as strategic to China as a war in Afghanistan or, as we seen, in Iraq, or any other country within the arrows (Iraq is at the end of one arrow). In other words, China doesn’t  just supply weapons to places like, possibly, Yemen Libya,  and Darfur to export their military/industrial complex, but there are other strategic objectives as well, i.e. keeping the supply of oil flowing. They are not just thinking as entrepreneurs, but as grand strategist.

Because the potential for using force is the same in all areas, China must, as it moves its industrial half, of its military/industrial complex, into Afghanistan (as it has in Pakistan), engage its military into Afghanistan and into a position of strength that their country cries for. The disadvantage in doing this will be that it gives the South China Sea, in particular Vietnam and the Philippines, a time to re-position themselves into a position of strength. As “the times they are a changing”, the US is positioning itself as it pulls-back and re-position itself into the Americas.