There’s one last bit I wanted to quote from, because again it seems like a perfect summary of the world of the past few years, held in the thrall of US military hegemony.
The war machine reforms a smooth space that now claims to control, to surround the entire earth. Total war itself is surpassed, toward a form of peace more terrifying still. The war machine has taken charge of the aim, worldwide order, and the States are now no more than objects or means adapted to that machine. This is the point at which Clausewitz’s formula is effectively reversed; to be entitled to say that politics is the continuation of war by other means, it is not enough to invert the order of the words as if they could be spoken in either direction; it is necessary to follow the real movement at the conclusion of which the States, having appropriated a war machine, and having adapted it to their aims, reimpart a war machine that takes charge of the aim, appropriates the States, and assumes increasingly wider political functions.
That line “a form of peace more terrifying still” is really evocative. I’ve spent my entire life living in peace-time while people in other parts of the world have experienced nothing but conflict. It’s another bastardisation of that classic William Gibson quote: peace is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.
But the other thing that I find interesting about this section is that it implies that it’s actually the war machine that won the battle against the State, whereas throughout the rest of the essay I was reading it in terms of the State and its military institution. But when you look at US imperialism it’s easy to see how the war machine won – how it appropriated the State and not vice versa – again epitomised by 20 years in Afghanistan. So instead of the war machine, this section might make more sense if you consider the deep state – not the deep state of QAnon, but its original meaning: The military-industrial complex and its web of lobbyists, bought politicians, and media sycophants.
Chess / 3rd Generation Warfare vs 4th GW
Chess is indeed a war, but an institutionalized, regulated, coded war, with a front, a rear, battles. But what is proper to Go is war without battle lines, with neither confrontation nor retreat, without battles even: pure strategy, whereas chess is a semiology.
This puts me in mind of 3rd generation (or perhaps earlier) warfare versus 4th. Rules-based warfare as envisioned by the State (if you don’t play by our rules that greatly favour us, we’ll claim that you’re cheating [read: a terrorist]), versus the true chaos of warfare as envisioned and lived by guerrilla fighters.