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A while back I wrote a post titled John Boyd, Leadership, and Civil Resistance. In this short post, let’s highlight some excerpts from Boyd’s briefing on Patterns of Conflict. Remember that in some conflicts, both sides want to apply these principles. Victory goes to the groups that understand them and hold to them through difficult times.

Goal: Collapse your adversary’s system into confusion and disorder, causing him to over and under react to activity that appears menacing, as well as ambiguous, chaotic, and misleading.

Desired outcome: Subdue your enemy without fighting; avoid protracted war.

Theme: Calculated creation of threats, uncertainty, and fear to introduce doubt, undermine your adversary’s self confidence and frustrate his ability to plan. These effects weaken his resolve and destroy his will to resist.

Citizens organized for civil resistance can use these methods against apparently powerful state institutions. Because they are large, state institutions are especially vulnerable to these organizational and psychological effects. When you have destroyed an institution’s ability to act, you have destroyed its power as well.

Armies that look powerful in one moment can disintegrate in the next. The same goes for powerful forces of any type. Present your adversary with disruptive, threatening moves, create opportunities to apply pressure, and in time reap your gains. Don’t give up.

Book recommendations: Check out Revolution in the Air and Revolution on the Ground at Amazon!


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