The Strategic Realities of Twenty-First Century “Small Wars”— An Opinion Essay
The traditional distinctions between crime, terrorism, subversion, and insurgency are blurred. This new dynamic involves the migration of the monopoly of political power (i.e., the authoritative allocation of the values in a society) from the traditional nation-state to unconventional actors such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), transnational criminal organizations, Leninist-Maoist insurgents, tribal militias, mafia organizations, private armies, cartel enforcers, third generation gangs (3GEN Gangs), and other modern mercenaries and entrepreneurs. These actors conduct some form or level of war against various state and non-state adversaries and promulgate their own rule of law—within alternatively governed spaces—within the societies they control. That activity creates an ambiguous bazaar of violence where criminal entrepreneurs fuel the convergence of crime and war.
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