chapter  1
The Fourth Generation Warfare debate
Pages 8

It was not supposed to be this way. Most countries emerged from the Cold War into an era of unprecedented peace and stability. After the round of fierce, brutal ethnic fighting unleashed by the collapse of the world’s last empire, warfare began a steady decline. Today, traditional warfare, the various forms that preoccupied princes and governments for centuries, is historically distant and geographically remote. Not only do democracies almost never fight each other, virtually no state of any stripe fights another.1 Armed conflict ceased to mean war and became associated with ever more nebulous events in ever remoter regions. The major use of most countries’ armed forces was helping out others by maintaining the peace. It was not the millennium of prophesy, but for most of humankind, it was pretty good.