The terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo staffers provides an important opportunity for us to face a new reality: Fourth-Generation Warfare (4GW) has found a home in France, as well as in the rest of Western Europe and the United States.

According to theorist William Lind, First-Generation Warfare involves massed manpower, such as the Napoleonic clashes; Second-Generation, massed firepower, as in most of World War I.

With the advent of Third-Generation Warfare we see a crucial shift to nonlinear tactics “based on speed and flexibility,” Lind says in his recent book, On War: The Collected Columns of William S. Lind 2003-2009.  Developed by the Germans at the end of World War I, 3GW puts the battle initiative in the hands of the lieutenants and sergeants on the front lines, instead of the generals back at headquarters.  Among U.S. forces, only the Marines have, to a limited extent, shifted to 3GW.

According to Thomas Hobbes and other proponents of state power, everyone gives up some liberty so the sovereign may gain a monopoly of ultimate force to protect the people.  But that isn’t happening anymore, especially in Western countries that are enamored of multiculturalism.  The sovereigns are too politically correct to take action.

The rise of 4GW has come as a result of the weakening of states, who lack the will and sometimes the wherewithal to respond to attacks by nonstate actors.  “The fighting is conducted by non-state forces unbound by the rules of conventional warfare,” writes Lind.  “However, the strategic objectives of Fourth Generation warriors extend beyond mere terrorism, which is only a technique.”  Those who prosecute 4GW can be Islamic terrorists eager to avenge Muhammad for insults leveled by pornographic cartoonists, but other examples include Gandhi’s anticolonial movement in India and the 1975 Green March of 350,000 Moroccans, which forced Spanish troops bloodlessly to relinquish Spanish Sahara and “reunite it with the motherland.”

The prevalence of 4GW explains why there are areas in Paris and other cities across Europe where sharia is imposed and governments are reluctant to interfere.

Such warfare is made possible by the great technological developments in smaller weaponry that have occurred since World War II.  Such weapons as AK-47s and RPGs—both of which were used in the Charlie Hebdo attack—are cheap and can be used by just about anybody.  And cellphones and the internet provide individuals with global-communications capabilities only states had access to just 20 years ago.

At least two things can be done to halt the progress of Fourth-Generation Warfare.  First, we need to stop breaking up foreign states.  Idiotically, U.S. policy has done the opposite.  In 1999, President Clinton bombed Serbia, killing 5,000 Christians, to put the Al Qaeda-linked KLA in charge of the Serbian province of Kosovo, making it a haven of nonstate criminal gangs whose territory spans Europe.

Things only got worse after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  President Bush foolishly destroyed Saddam Hus sein’s Iraq, a state that had at least imposed limits on terrorist aggression.  As Chronicles readers knew at the time, contrary to Bush’s excuses, Saddam had no connection to Al Qaeda and no weapons of mass destruction.  Destroying the Iraqi state led to the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  According to London’s Independent, the Charlie Hebdo attack may “show al-Qaeda and ISIS are now working together.”

ISIS also praised the Paris attack.  Yet the International Business Times reported that “France appears determined to maintain its strategically vital role in fighting . . . ISIS, in Syria and Iraq,” and is sending an aircraft carrier, the Charles De Gaulle, to join the U.S.-led coalition’s efforts in the Middle East against the self-declared Islamic State.  President Obama, aided by France and Italy, in 2011 destroyed the tamed state of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, turning it into another terrorist haven.  All of these state-shattering actions, egged on by the bloodthirsty neocons, are a major cause of the advancement of Fourth-Generation Warfare.  In turn, state officials use the threat of more violence and bloodshed following the successful application of 4GW terrorist tactics as an excuse to increase the already Orwellian surveillance apparatus that looms over law-abiding people.

The second thing that can be done is to stop inviting 4GW elements into our own country.  For decades, the decadent, anti-Christian governments of the West have actually welcomed the invaders.  Finally, at least some Europeans are realizing the foolishness of letting potential terrorists into their lands.  Americans, even after witnessing September 11, the 2009 Fort Hood massacre, and drug cartels taking over large sectors of our Southwestern cities and murdering those who cross them in broad daylight, have not yet faced this reality.