Monday, December 17, 2007

The opportune moment

In this recent Al Fin post I made the following comment in part:


Gang hierarchy requires that membership and economic growth be continuously expanded, if only to provide advancement possibilities, and thus greater authority both within and outside the membership, for maturing members.

The other aspect that was only barely glossed over is that, by and large, criminal gangs are run by their most senior members; ie: those who have been imprisoned. To quote from the film "American Me", Inside runs outside.

By their nature gangs are competitors of (and not just working in opposition to) the social and legal structures within which they operate. Gangs offer a counter-government to the more mundane societal structure that more often than not disdains any such claims. Impartial students of history know that the National Socialist political party of 1920's Germany was infiltrated and it's leadership usurped by the then criminal gang element that subsequently transformed itself into the Brownshirts.

Gangs are a lot more dangerous then most people are willing to credit. My own TEOTWAWKI scenario revolves around some expression of "street gangs" gaining control of substantial swathes of territory which also host military weaponry stockpiles. It sounds like a bad '70's made-for-TV movie script, and the acting would actually be worse, but how do you counter a gang armed with SAW's and morters and members just as cyber-smart as anyone available to the cops? Of course they couldn't maintain control for very long - and they know that too - without their spreading the radius of damage so far beyond their immediate region of influence that countering forces are tied down elsewhere.

That's the problem with Sun Tzu; anyone can read his book. And prison inmates have a lot of time to think about what he has to say as it applies to them.

How likely do you think it that groups like this won't find some advantage to be taken from events like these? Or that Hugo Chavez won't think this a wonderful time to renew his association with FARC in Colombia or with others in Bolivia itself for that matter?

You know, this is the problem with keeping a watch out for danger - after a while you see it in every event that occurs. If I'm wrong (and I really hope I am) then I'll happily admit it next weekend ... after plenty of time has passed.

Hey! I was a Dad once upon a time, the reflex's are still there.


al fin said...

Will the four provinces settle for a negotiated semi-autonomy?

Primitives like Evo and his supporters are always ready to kill. More advanced Bolivians such as those in the Eastern provinces have more to lose. If Evo wised up enough to decide to ease up on his dictatorial slide, and economic squeeze on the affluent, he could avert a crisis.

FARC (and regional marxist insurgent groups) wants in on the action, to be sure. They just need some weapons and money from Hugo Chavez and friends.

Will Brown said...

Hi Fin,

FARC's reputation is that they can recruit, train and arm troops capable of going head-to-head with Colombian National troops for pretty extensive infantry action's. I'm pretty sure all they need is additional money and time to form and train-up additional units. Plus more money to fund logistical support in a foreign theater of operation.

Now, add in the purely foreign interests (not all of them middle-eastern in origin, I should point out) known to be operating in the triangular region of northern-most Argentina and north-western-most Paraguay (conveniently, immediately to the south of the Bolivian succession line of demarcation), and you will see there is no shortage of candidates to supply added nuance to an already turbulant situation.

If open fighting breaks out between government and successionist forces, and the successionist's are able to hold their own for even a few weeks, then I think we will begin to see third-(fourth, fifth, ..., nth)power forces begin to operate in support of their own aganda(s). Somehow, I doubt Hugo or anybody else is willing to give the proven interventionist George Bush Administration an easy cause celebre opportunity quite this early in the thing, you know? Any number of players in this thing might be some degree of crazy, but given their positions at the start of things, I think it fair to say they're not outright stupid.

This thing could go real bad, real fast, but not right out of the gate, I think. You've got to let the mob feel some significant pain for a while in order to get them to kill first and only after start to steal. Evo's got some "personnel management" to do yet.