Digitally Driven Asymmetric Conflict

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DK Matai:

"As events are now making it painfully clear, traditional confrontation is being transformed from a closed, state-sponsored affair to one where the means and the know-how to mount an insurrection are readily found on the world wide web.

Self-assembling dynamic man-power can be galvanised via digital mobile telephones and social media networks including Blogs, Facebook (590 million users), Twitter (125 million users) and Youtube. This unprecedented global access to increasingly powerful digital technology and tools is, in effect, allowing "small groups" to confront large barricades of police and army battalions in an asymmetric and agile way. Knowingly or unknowingly, almost all sovereign nations are drifting towards asymmetric conflict.

We call this new type of confrontation "Digitally Driven Asymmetric Conflict" manifest via "Self-Assembling Dynamic Networks" because the manner in which insurgent groups organise themselves, share information, and adapt their strategies relies heavily on digitally driven technologies as catalysts and accelerants.

Insurgent groups, like software hackers, tend to form loose and non-hierarchical networks to pursue a common vision. That common vision is the invisible glue that bonds the protesting citizens and the digital networks provide the framework to do so. United by that common vision, they exchange information and work collaboratively on tasks of mutual interest. Upon achieving their objective, they disband automatically leaving limited traces of their existence.

We are NOT looking at a polarity between the state and individuals as witnessed in the 18th, 19th and 20th century ideological confrontations and radicalism. Digitally empowered human beings retain, even more than before, the desire to combine and to work in groups -- in short, to 'belong'! The new feature of digitally driven societies is that they can now do so with amazing speed and effectiveness in defiance of flawed yet established authority.

In an age where the internet may seem to have caused ties to the local community to weaken, the digitally- driven society allows individuals a non-duality where they can be part of their local community and at the same time reach out regionally, nationally, and globally to find other groups with which they share common ground.

In fact, the love-of-Earth is emerging, the love-of-nation or responsible nationalism is not obsolete; love-of-group, faith-based or otherwise, is proliferating; and love of family and neighbourhood is amplifying. All these different levels of love have all become magnified by the internet age and the communications revolution. This is not just taking place at a local or national level, but at a trans-national level, making all of us more global citizens with shared values with every passing day. (

More Information

  1. Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance