In a piece on fourth generation warfare before we saw how the traditional state actors fought employing pretty much second generation warfare while their opponents had evolved into the unconventional fourth generation style. Traditional armies and traditional alliances have almost always lost wars to the practitioners of 4GW although does not mean the traditionalists havent claimed victory in retreat and havent used propaganda to impress this point on their peoples and the writers of history. Examples of this are the Vietnamese war which was a catastrophic defeat for the imperial designs of the US and the 2006 Lebanon war which was a humiliating setback for Israeli power. However, these semantics and propaganda aside the traditional powers lose and the policy makers realise this. And in these examples and most others in recent history the traditional power have lost to a 4GW practitioner but one that has still largely been based around a nation.
Now with 4GW evolving the traditional army cannot defeat even a relatively small force of nation based 4GW practitioners such as Hezbollah or the NLA mentioned in examples above. However, what we see now evolve is a new fifth generation of warfare which is similar to fourth generation but internationalized and with some different defining features. With this development the traditional army finds itself at an even bigger disadvantage and faces imminent defeat as soon as the war is declared and it may be that while much fourth generation warfare was initiated by a large traditional power going on the first offensive that in fifth generation warfare the smaller more divers collection of opponents may even make the first moves. The enemy in 5 GW can now literally come from any direction in any place at any time. There are no longer any lines at all and the boundaries that still largely, but not totally, existed in 4GW have totally disappeared. In 4GW the lines though blurred and indistinct were largely in the battleground state(s). Now they are anywhere in the world including the traditional armies own homeland and that of any ally or where that country has nay interest or national. The traditional powers own people may also to some degree become its own enemy not only in opposing war but in actually striking at the country and its institutions.
Fourth generation warfare has evolved in an almost revolutionary way into the internationalized fifth generation warfare while the small traditional army has stood still. What chance the traditional army used to have is now reduced to virtually zero and traditional armies may even be totally obsolete for such forms of warfare.
Another feature of fifth generation warfare over fourth is the loose alliances/franchises that develop between non-state players that have little in common beyond a common enemy and even more uniquely may not even have any contact whatsoever beyond a group claiming top operate under the franchise name. Al Qaeda is a good example of this with no real control or even leadership over all those scattered around the world that operate under its aegis and yet who never communicate. And the role of the franchise headquarters is to just exist as a label of a super enemy. This in itself presents vast challenges to the traditional powers that will name the “label” as a huge enemy to be attacked employing traditional methods of gaining population support by building up and demonizing the enemy and by doing so create something that doesn’t exist and hence distracts from the real challenges and which even if totally destroyed will have little to no effect on the ongoing struggles as quite simply a new “label” franchise can be wheeled off the line.
This will all increasingly lead to the propagandization of defeat into victory more and more difficult and leave people more and more exposed to the disastrous defeats its expansive armies are experiencing, and also lead to more and more confusion as people fail to understand how such a fate can befall their elite troops at the hands of what they are told, falsely as it usually is, a bunch of uneducated foreigners with few weapons. This will in turn lead to people becoming aware of truth and being less inclined to believe the propaganda and nonsense the controllers of a state try to exert. Fourth generation was huge a challenge to established western systems of control. Fifth generation warfare is a complete revolution beyond this, and something that the challenged states have not even begun to realise is so deadly towards them while their opponents developing the new forms of warfare recognize this exactly.