With simplest, the psychological warfare is representable by part of poker where each player seeks to present himself to the others like that having the best hand. It is the Art of the war, following Sun Tzu, which consists in subjugating ( to subdue of former French " soduire" itself resulting from bottom Latin " subdere") the adversary without fighting. It is an intimate combination of the physique with the psychic allied one with the science of the knowledge and wisdom of morals in an organization by availability with the event of the principle " Order from Noise" of Heinz von Foerster variously used by Henri Atlan, Edgar Morin and others.
In the éco-policy of the Theory of the contexts at Anthony Wilden, often used by Thanh H. Vuong (1986, 1987,1991,2004), the psychological warfare is a strategic envelopment of attack on the higher level of the political order. The political level is that of the choice and the attribution of the resources between peace or the war. It directs and delimits the military and diplomatic strategies possible. The strategic level chooses, directs and delimits the possible battles in which the tactical combat directed and delimited by the strategy of the Battle are. Without this orientation and delimitation, the Marshal Erwin Rommel flew of tactical victories in tactical victories towards the final defeat of the Battle of North Africa. The psychological warfare is characterized, in its practice, by the effect of surprise psychic and the effect of shock physical, effects reflected and amplified by propaganda. The military strategy of the Bataille of Diên Biên Phu led the French government to negotiate the Accords of Geneva. This military strategy supported by the diplomatic strategy, approximately a month after the fall of the garrison in the organization by availability with the event, in the tangle of Having To be able, Savoir and To want. In the same way, the Offensive of the Small fireclay cup led the government of the United States to the Peace agreements of Paris.
Any war, is made psychological by human beings equipped with a combination of the physique with the psychic one in the rules of play of a rule of law. The war is a rule of law where premium the force of the right on the right of the force of a “general fray” of the Antiquité and Moyen-âge which had traditions. The war is also an art of the operation in the relation between Crise and conflict in Polémologie and between Crise and catastrophe.
Revolutionary war, guerilla and psychological warfare
Originally, the psychological warfare often gets along in terms of Propagande to demoralize the adversary and to support moral our own troops and of our population in the forms of leaflets and posters. The Propagande is directed in three directions:
1 - the dissuasion or promise of worst to break any inclination of resistance or aggression, like the walk of the General Sherman through the Georgia by destroying all on its passage lasting the American Civil War and like the Mongols of Gengis Khan preceded by their reputation of ferocity to each time they are presented in front of a city which goes to avoid the destruction and still as the strategy of the MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) which made the saving in a Third nuclear World war.
2 - persuasion or promise of according to the regulation of Sun Tzu to better let flee the adversary to avoid the combat.
3 - seduction or promise of best to be established in a durable way, as Alexandre of Macedonia which essaimé conquered hellenistic colonies on the territories.
But, for the General Vo Nguyen Giap, a war is at the same time diplomatic, military, political and psychological. The Bataille of Diên Biên Phu of which he was the project superintendent is the illustrative example. This battle was soldier on the theater of the operations, diplomatic as an argument for the negotiations of the Accords of Geneva of June 1954 negotiated by Pham Van Dong, after the unconditional capitulation of the garrison in May of 1954 and policy for the dedication and the consolidation of the declared independence of the Vietnam on September 2nd, 1945. It was psychological by the inversion of perceptions of the situation, of glorification in pessimism at the CEFEO (French Task force in the Far East).
The Offensive of the Small fireclay cup in February of 1968 was a military defeat in terms of ground taken and kept, but it was a psychological victory by amplifying the opposition to the the United States with the Guerre of Vietnam and a diplomatic victory by leading the the United States to negotiate the Peace agreements of Paris which led to the complete withdrawal of the terrestrial troops in 1973, leaving the free field to the final offensive of the fall of Saigon in April of 1975.
For Sun Tzu, the war is the art of the fraud and psychological dimension is an integral part, even fundamental, in the control of a war.
For Clausewiz, the war is the unlimited use of the rough force and psychological dimension is only additional in propaganda.
Following the wars of decolonizations, the concept of psychological warfare became extensive with the conquest of the heart and the spirit compared to the conquest of the ground.
For Richard Taber, the purpose of the revolutionary war by tactics of guerilla is the replacement of an established order by a new order, which privileges the conquest of the heart and the spirit directing and delimiting possible military operations.
Physics, psychic, ethical and logic of the power
To include/understand the war, it is above all to include/understand those which do it. Why the men manage do to fight? How are violence, coercion and the constraint exerted? Which are the true power struggles in the contemporary conflicts?
Here are the questions to which the model developed with the wire of this article tries to answer. The disappointments of the armies in the basic conflicts intensity or guerilla have due principal their incapacity to determine the terms of their reference, and in particular to deviate from the diagrams inherited the all-out war Clausewitz. The tendency of the soldiers to privilege the material factors with the detriment of the immaterial factors, still reinforced by mechanization and computerization, reduced their aptitude to control violence by the exercise of a measured coercion.
Contrary, contemporary terrorism exploits the press coverage uninterrupted to obtain completely disproportionate psychological effects, whereas the governmental organizations use their ethical posture for better influencing military operations and the weapons which they employ. Obviously, the power struggles cannot be any more reduced to the size or the number of material physical reality.
A detailed design of the sources and results of the effects material, emotional, moral and cognitive makes it possible to overcome the subjectivity of perceptions and to determine the range of the possible actions.
The evolution of the international situation underlines the urgency that revêt today such a change of prospect. How to explain that the guerilla Iraqi did not succeed in turning over the American public opinion in spite of death to the combat of more than 1800 soldiers, whereas it was enough 10 years earlier of 18 died to precipitate the withdrawal of Somalia? Why the Palestinians didn't succeed in dividing the Israeli company since September 2000, contrary to the first Intifada? For which reasons the attacks of September 11th did link the American population around their government, whereas those of March 11th did not have the same effect in Spain? All these questions bring into play forces and rules which are those of the man in his belligerent activity, real or potential. It is thus this one which it is a question of studying. The anthropologist Margaret Mead ventured to study the national character. For it and with the culture of the farmers and the pioneers, each received attack, the States-unien answers with rage and by the sacred union. Day at the following day, the Japanese air and sea attack on Pearl Harbor transformed isolationism into interventionism and industries in arsenal of the democracy.
To be able, to want, have and to knowLet us take to the military history recent Vietnamese of the 20th century, French decolonization (1945-1955) with the reunification (1955-1975), bombardment of Haiphong in 1946 with the sabotage of the Accords of Geneva by the creation of OTASE (Organization of the Treaty of the Southeast Asia) equivalent of NATO for Western Europe in 1955 making impossible the reunification of the separate parts temporarily for technicality of the military regroupings before the evacuation of the CEFEO until the fall of Saigon in 1975. In 1945, the any young person Democratic republic of Vietnam formed by peasants attached to their independence after approximately 80 years of French colonization and asserting their freedom and their identity main roads saw his existence threatened by the colonial reconquest after 5 years of “Indochinese loneliness” where the French protective power could not protect the French Indo-China from the Japanese occupation. Started from a police operation with all the colonial troops of Africa and the foreign legion equipped with English at the beginning with 45-49 and American in the final stage with 49-54, the CEFEO (French Task force in the Far East) fell into the mud pit from stagnation to the Bataille from Diên Biên Phu which was with the decolonization what were the catch of the Bastille and the soldiers year II to liberal Europe.
This first great victory in Asia of the peasants against professional soldiers out of weapons goes however beyond the factual confrontation, and raises several questions of importance. Why were the Vietnameses of the Armée popular Vietnamese (APVN) ready to fight against the France and its troop, which formed a modern army with all its hardware? Primarily to defend their rural company and their design of freedom against the ambition and the tax of the France, but also because they had the taste of the combat and that to fight was the duty of each valid man. Contrary, the soldiers of the French task force were driven by the interest of pay, such a thin is it at the exit of the deprivations of the occupation Nazi, by the adventure for some and the patriotism of the defense and conservation of the French empire for others. The stakes were thus different.
This summarized example takes again the distinction established by Carl von Clausewitz between the ends, the means and the ways, which facilitates the apprehension of each belligerent. The stakes of the war thus explain its given character of the ones and hesitating of the others: Vietnamese went until the end of the difficulties because the survival of the any young person Democratic republic of Vietnam required the defeat of a colonial configuration mainly antagonistic. In the same way, their limited resources explain the selected method: the knowledge of the ground and the enemy intentions as well as the will to fight with death, i.e. the cognitive and psychological superiority, made it possible Vietnamese to counterbalance their physical inferiority - obliged which they were to fight with weapons of fortune by a long and ruinous war for an industrial power in the combat of the tiger and the elephant where the tiger can exhaust the elephant with length of time which demoralizes the French and amplifies the national feeling of the Vietnameses.
Here, illustrated in a few words, the fundamental articulation which forms the heart of this approach: the matter, psyché, morals and the knowledge form the squaring of the power, the four fields in which fit the human wars. Each actor of a conflict is thus characterized by stakes, resources and methods whose nature is physical, psychological, ethical and/or cognitive. To show why and how the men fight cost to be plunged in the depths to be to them, to try to systematize the means, the impulses, the requirements and the concepts which work their power and which they employ to express it. The model which results from it must consequently apply to all the forms of confrontations and all the types of actors, without reference of places and times.
Example of a military and psychological combined tactical operation is in the offensive Vietnamese with the Kampuchea during the Third War of Indo-China which was as a psychological campaign at the same time as a military campaign. The troops Vietnameses of first line distributed pots and kitchen utensils to the population, meaning the end of the Community kitchens to them which she hated particularly. The mode of Pol Pot had forced with a foolish brutality this form of “communautarism” Maoist of the “Popular Communes” to break the traditional family unit.
Tangles of the power
By matter, it is necessary to hear the physical dimension of reality, the material field where appear the tangible and visible elements belligerents: living beings, weapons, the equipment, vivres, and of course commercial values being able to ensure their availability. The physical factors determine the capacity to act, i.e. the material possibility to deploy means and to use them, as well as the limits which block it. The facility of their digitalization and their space-time integration up to now conferred on the physical factors the prevalence in the study of the conflicts, just as a place central - and sometimes exclusive - in the military doctrines. They recover nevertheless only part of the power, and it is thus impossible to explain the unfolding of the Bataille of Diên Biên Phu by taking only into account the number of men or the used weapons.
In fact, the history brings back many examples of forces or materially higher nations and nevertheless defeats, to start with the biblical account of David against Goliath, and this is explained mainly by two reasons:
- the number and the rough force provide only one potential power, and not a real power in space and time; it is a weakness of the large organizations which is exploited in special operations, where small highly trained and prepared quotas obtain a relative superiority ensuring the success of their mission. " Kommandos" light of peasants Afrikaners of the Guerre of Boers taken again by Winston Churchill to form the British Commandos was an illustrative example.
- the power is quite simply not that business of a physical or mechanical force, and this one can even generate a weakness likely to be exploited; the factors other than the matter must also be taken into account.
By psyché, it is necessary to hear the psychological dimension of the actors, the whole of the conscious or unconscious mental activities which found their emotions: impulses, desires, affects, feelings and feelings, with in filigree all the pallet of the human relations. The psychological factors determine the will to act, i.e. the emotional possibility to make use of its capacities, as well as inhibitions which are opposed to it. Courage, confidence and friendship, but also hatred and the contempt are perishable and limited resources which have a determining influence on the effective power of the men and the weapons. With the Battle of Diên Biên Phu, the savage attack of the Vietnameses had much with a will patiently cultivated by the exercise of the weapons and multiplied by the love of the fatherland. The considerable importance of the psychological factors in all the conflicts since the Antiquité did not prevent the delay of their integration in the power struggles, in spite of some doctrines aiming at idealizing them for better compensating for material inferiority. However, the daily experiment shows that the character traits largely determine combativeness, the self-esteem and the altruism of the men, whereas the drive of the formations directly contributes to develop their team spirit and thus to harden their cohesion. Insofar as the units have a power higher than the simple addition of the soldiers who compose them, psyché the forging mill the bond which links those: the provision to privilege the collective with individual, and thus to risk its life for others.
By morals, it is necessary to hear the ethical dimension of the actors, the sum of the requirements which form their judgment in connection with real or potential acts: the laws, the rules, the precepts, the religion, the values, the habits and the missions, and thus the heritage practices culture. The ethical factors determine legitimacy to act, i.e. the moral possibility - or need - to exert its will, as well as the interdicts which enclose it. Their existence durably worked the conflicts by principles and codes, tacit or not, binding the honor of the combatants to their behavior and forming the base of the military culture and the international law. Morals also had course with the Bataille of Diên Biên Phu: the Vietnameses made captive all the garrison and thus complied with the rule of Sun Tzu to take intact rather than to destroy. It will however be necessary to await the generalization of the televised cover, and thus the irruption of the engagements in the living room of the citizens, so that morals becomes a lever with whole share, by covering opprobrium the men who violated the values of their company, by imposing limits increasingly more strict on the use of the weapons, or on the contrary in incentive with their use to answer an urgency.
By knowing, finally, it is necessary to hear the cognitive dimension of the actors, the whole of the knowledge acquired by the study, the observation, the training and the experiment: ideas, concepts, doctrines, certainty, explanations and the interpretations extracted the mass of information available. The cognitive factors determine the occasion to act, i.e. the possibility of starting a convenient action in time, space and its method. Their practical application does not go back to yesterday: the spy network and complicities of Vietnamese thus constituted the crucial factor of surprised peripheral combat in concentrations and dispersions. However, the role of knowledge is still underestimated today, precisely because the Western concept of the combat is related to the idea of a frontal, deliberated and decisive shock. If the intelligence services are largely regarded as the first line of defense of a State, education still pains with being recognized as the base of its power. The decision-making process of each organization initially depends on its faculty to exploit rationally the mass of information available and to draw from it a released knowledge of passion or ideology; not to make it cost be given up with the cognitive influences of others, accept without same becoming of it aware of the concepts and the potentially harmful ideas. Contrary, the research and the diffusion of the knowledge make it possible to convince without effort, to even overcome without fighting, according to the slogan of Sun Tzu for excellence in the art of the war.
To be able, to want, have and to know: here thus the four verbs which found the action. It goes without saying this articulation is based on a considerable simplification of very complex questions, and that each dimension of an actor cannot be more dissociated from the others the body of the spirit. This cutting has nevertheless the immense advantage of determining the nature of the conflicts: a confrontation based on the force, the will, morals and knowledge. To delimit the possibilities of action of a given entity thus amounts taking into account at the same time its capacities and its gaps, its will and its inhibitions, its morals and its interdicts, its notes and its ignorance. No realistic appreciation of a given situation can omit these four dimensions specific to the human being.
This articulation contributes moreover to clarify the importance of these dimensions for the action. Whereas the armies often privilege the physical factors, so that the integration of the men and the machines develops a power of destruction or maximum protection, those however make only concretize one complete process. Thus, the effectiveness of the action depends initially on the comprehension which knowledge brings, then legitimation that morals provides; the action itself then been the subject of a decision resting on the will, before its execution does not depend on the capacities. In other words, the development and the transmission of knowledge must obligatorily constitute the priority of each armed organization.
There are horrible confusions between” psychological warfare” and” stratagem”. Confusion at the same time means” to melt one in another” and” to take one for the other”.
the stratagem already exists in the animal world with the camouflage to melt itself in the decoration, with the example of the chameleon and with the disguise of a prey in a wild predator to avoid being made eat. The Operation” Mincemeat” was worked out by the British in 1943 to make accept the Germans with an unloading in Greece. It consists of a true corpse of a false officer carrying of false documents relating to the preparations of an unloading in Greece and to arrange itself so that this corpse is suddenly discovered and the false documents transmitted to the German authorities. The same configuration reproduced with a false American army and a false General General George S. Patton to make accept an unloading in Not-in Calais and divert the attention of the Germans of the true place of the Unloading in Normandy. The Offensive of the Small fireclay cup of 1968 was spread in three battles of which the Bataille of Khê Sanh which was only one lure, a stratagem, to draw the attention and the lifeblood of the adversary far from the principal stakes which were the Bataille of Saigon and the Bataille of Huê. These stakes were about the psychological warfare which consisted in tackling the symbols. These symbols were the imperial capital of Huê for the public opinion Vietnamese and Saigon for the American and international public opinion, by striking the economic capital and policy with the occupation, even only and during a few hours of the ground floor of the embassy of the USA, the Holy of Holies (Sanctus Sanctorum). So that a stratagem succeeds, it is necessary that it is credible and joins the beliefs and obsessions more prégnantes and deepest of the adversary. There was before an unloading in Greece of the British and the German project to invade England by the Pas-de-Calais and there was also before the invasion of South Korea by the North Korea which passed the Military Line of demarcation. However, Khê Sanh is just in the South of the Military Line of demarcation between the North and the South of Vietnam. A stratagem is spring of the” misinformation”, illusion, whereas the psychological warfare is about the reasons to fight.
the psychological warfare, it, is typically human and consists in tackling the symbols to transform” reality completely” and to show that the military option is inoperative while destroying To want it and the Duty to fight at the adversary and to lead to diplomatic strategies of peace negotiations, as the Accords of Geneva of 1954 after the Bataille of Diên Biên Phu and the Peace agreements of Paris of 1973 after the Offensive of the Small fireclay cup of 1968.
It is paradoxical that the goal of a psychological warfare is not a military victory which is only instrumental, but the most honourable peace and most advantageous possible for oneself. Such were the First War of Indo-China of independence, the Second War of Indo-China or Guerre of Vietnam of reunification and the Third War of Indo-China to regulate the antique Contentieux sino-Vietnamese. According to the General Vo Nguyen Giap, a war is at the same time diplomatic, military, political and psychological.
The war is not only one general fray, the unlimited use of the rough force, with the manner of Clausewitz, but a rule of law, an attempt to channel the right of the force by the force of the right. The clamor and fury of the " noise" mask the quarrel about one or of the points of right which is the significance first or authentic word " conflict " indicating a shock or a clash. Finally, it is the fight between two wills whose material aspect of the armed conflict masks also the tangle of duty-capacity-knowledge-wanting.
In contrast with Clausewitz, Sun Tzu privileges the " psyché" in the art of the fraud to the costs of the " physis" rough force in the psychological warfare.
In Occident, the psychological warfare perhaps began during the biblical time with the metaphor from Josué which made collapse the walls of Jericho with the trumpets. In Chinese civilization, the psychological warfare belongs to the Art of the war with Sun Tzu, for which the war is the art of the fraud.
The psychological warfare does not refer only to the armed conflicts, but also to the economic competitions and commercial competition. The " industrial Harmony " is a Japanese ideology founded on the values confucéennes which manufacture the Duty and To want it of a social peace, allowing a management " flow tendus" through a tripartite coalition of the Profit-sharing State to increase the Capacity and the Knowledge of industry and trade. In 1991, Madam Edith Cresson, then Prime Minister of François Mitterrand, spoke about " fourmis" in connection with Japanese industry founded on a culture of the Duty and To want that do not have the ants which act by instinct of the social insects. The Asian political economy is a ecosystemic Approche with total economic development, physique with psychic and the social one with cultural of Wanting and Having which direct and delimit the possibilities of the Capacity and Savoir.
Sun Tzu, The Art off War , translation and comment by (ret) USMC General Sergeant Samuel B. Griffith, Oxford Paperbacks, London & New York, 1981. Modern thesis of most reliable Ph.D. of the translations and reference to UNESCO.
- the French book
- Richard Taber, “The War off the Flea: Guerilla Warfare, Theory and Practice”. Paladin, London, 1977.
- Vo Nguyen Giap, " War of liberation. Policy, strategy, tactique" , Social Editions, Paris, 1970.
- Daniel Ventre, “the war of information”, Hermes lavoisier, 2007
- Anthony Wilden, “The Rules are No Range. The Strategy off Communication”, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London & New York, 1987.
- Anthony Wilden, “Man and Woman, War and Peace. The Strategist' S Companion”, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London & New York, 1987.
Interview with Vo Nguyen Giap
- Psychological warfare by Guy Durandin, Professor emeritus of social Psychology at the University Rene Descartes-Paris V
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