And it is Hot!!
As Batman (or maybe it was Leon Trotsky) once LOL'd - "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."
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Twenty-first-century conflict is migrating away from small mountain villages, farming areas, and frontier valleys of places like Afghanistan into sprawling cities like Mumbai or Mogadishu, where ubiquitous technology is enabling groups to establish networks of influence that are eroding the ability of governments to retain and exercise power and defend their citizens.Pic - "City Combat and Coin"
4 trends that“drive most aspects of future life on the planet, including conflict”—rapid population growth, accelerating urbanization, littoralization (the tendency for populations to cluster on coastlines), and increasing connectedness (the way technology is driving social networks). These crowded, urban, coastal, and hyper-connected environments act as powerful catalysts enabling non-state actors to wield enormous power that in some cases can topple governments.
“Feral cities”—sprawling urban centers like Kingston, Jamaica, San Pedro Sula in Honduras, Mogadishu, and Mumbai—where population growth is straining the capacity of infrastructure and government, allowing alternative licit and illicit networks to compete for influence, power, and sometimes outright control.
Non state actor outers exploit or “nest” within these complex urban environments, leveraging the areas’ fragility and weakness to pursue their own ends—from the way a group of Pakistani terrorists infiltrated and violently shut down large parts of Mumbai in November 2008, to the way Somali militias operate in Mogadishu, to how a transnational criminal network operates out of Kingston, Jamaica, to how protestors in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria are challenging decades of oppression and dictatorship.
If what is happening in these hyper-connected, crowded, coastal cities represents a “new normal,” then the implications for Great Satan’s role in the world could be profound. Security thinkers need “to start treating the city as a unit of analysis in its own right,” taking into account how a city’s “subsystems and sub-districts fit together, as well as how that city nests within, and interacts with, regional and transnational flows and networks.”
In “On War in the Urban, Networked Littoral” (a play on Carl von Clausewitz’s 1832 classic, On War), Kilcullen outlines in disturbing detail how military forces engaging in these environments will face challenges on land, along the coastal waterways, in the air, and in cyberspace. Operating in these spaces is something most people in the U.S. military would rather ignore in favor of more classic conventional engagements, but Kilcullen suggests that military leaders adopt a more mobile, improvisational, expeditionary mentality, concluding, “It’s time to drag ourselves—body and mind—out of the mountains.”