DJI and the Unseen War
Continuing war by any means necessary
Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I wish you the very best.
During this odd grey zone of the Holidays it seemed semifitting to talk about Greyzone Warfare. If this topic isn’t for your holiday cheer, feel free to revisit it at a later date. It’ll age well, I promise.
They’ll be another post or two before the end of the year. Most likely a Year in review or 2022 Outlook.
I am also considering raising the price of the Substack to 7 usd per month. If it suits your fancy to subscribe before inflation hits the Substack you can do so below.
DJI the global leader in consumer and commercial drones was just banned from the United States. Not for consumer sales (yet), but for investment. They have also been banned from sourcing any American parts. This is another significant move and blow; as DJI is the gold standard, and continually pushes the market forward.
A move done in the ongoing economic proxy war between the US and China, with Huawei being the first salvo. Which ended in a stalemate.
The banning of DJI, like Huawei represents the conundrum of modern Warfare today. While indeed the Chinese consumer Tech and University research pipelines are well documented and connected to their Military apparatus. That is not the full point.
It is that the weapons of today are no longer merely just weapons, but generalized tools.
Previously a cannon or a bomber was restricted in its use case and could only be modified to only minor extents (water bombers). Yet the vast majority of Third Generation Warfare (3GW) weapons and before could not be. F-15’s Cannons AR’s etc.
Today’s weapons are tools and objects that blend in today with everyday life. It is the intent of the user that matters more, for every device is now capable. The DJI drone used to make movies, is one for surveillance. The AirTags for finding your keys, are a tracking device to the amateur sleuth. The Computer is perhaps the paramount tableau of this; capable of doing only what the user inputs. Cat videos, million dollar businesses, TPS reports, or turning off the Nation’s power.
This fact is further compounded by the production of weapons. Nuclear weapons the pinnacle of 3GW weaponry can easily be monitored by the facilities that produce them. Specialized facilities with only two purposes. A semiconductor fabrication plant can producing the brains for televisions and within weeks be outfitted for missiles.
The Environment is just as much a factor as the enemy.
The term “Hybrid Warfare” is used by my colleagues to describe this dichotomy, and the dichotomy upon the battlefield of mixed environments (digital and physical). Yet they are woefully accurate. If we are to take the Prussian Clausewitz’s maxim seriously that “War is only the continuation of Politics by other means” then there is nothing hybrid about it. Rather what we face today is what the Chinese described in the late 90’s.
In the modern age there is no divide between civilian and soldier. No clear demarcation between Acts of Wars & Espionage. McLuhan was perhaps the first to recognize this. “The Medium is the Message” If TikTok is a Chinese influence operation how would we know? There are just as many if not more unknowing creators as there are agents of propaganda. The Environment is just as much a factor as the enemy. Warfare today is far more subtle at least when it's anyone but the Russians.
Hybrid assumes by definition, a melding of two various things. America launching covert economic war against a Chinese Corporation to restrict Nation-State growth on a product used by hobbyists to terrorists alike isn’t black and white.
The lack of any demarcation line has now lead to constant warfare using any avenue and any method or tactic.
There are no rules from war anymore the rules of engagement no longer apply, because we do not we no longer have constrained battlefields. The lack of a definable battlefield has continued to increase and amp up unrestricted warfare for there are no more safe zones, there are no more red lines.
It is whatever is necessary by any means necessary.
Surgical precision offers the mirage of singular pivotal actions.
Rather there is and will continue to be in more low scale low intensity conflict permeating around the world: minor crime, cyber attacks, minor skirmishes etc. are all characteristics of this new war.
The grand scale the ground battles of the old days no longer need to happen and so many lives will be saved. Much blood will be saved for we do not need such travesties to occur to win, however, surgical precision offers the mirage of singular pivotal actions.
The ability to target “fulcrums”.
Meaning that far more surgeries will be conducted to try and get the optimal outcome. High Value Targets will become even more of a priority. So violence will increase, but grand violence will decrease.
Humanity nor War became more moral over the past several decades, we just became surveilled more. The repercussions of actions have an effect. The Rape of Nanking or My Lai cannot happen today without the World knowing. Abugrave shows us this.
We are held in check because we know we are being watched. The Observer effect is keeping everyone restrained for now. Sousveilance is the term for when the camera isn’t the overseer, the all seeing eye, but rather the eyes of the crowd.
Regardless of your position on the matter, George Floyd would not have been a story without Sousveilance.
When narratives are done through the eyes of the crowd the most persuasive story wins.
Removing consumer drones shifts the Logic of Violence back towards the State. Souveilence was, and is a deterrent against tyranny of the minority. Sousveilance, however, can also be a tool for the tyranny of the majority.
Thus the move of banning DJI hinders China, and the DJI Corporation; it also affects the Terrorist, the Rebel and the everyday consumer. For it is a tool, just as much as it is a weapon.
DJI is the latest pawn and target in an ongoing Unrestricted Warfare of today. And we the Crowd will decide its History.
To most of you who are not combatants or scholars within this field, this all means that everyday life becomes a bit more of a hazard. Because there are no more safe zones, there are no more safe actions. There are no discernible sides, one does not know if they transgress certain boundaries, morays, or rules now. For real life is within the fog of war, and we all now are lost within its miasma. Helplessly fumbling around hoping none of us step on a landmine.2
Is this market crash a simple glitch or the elaborate scheme to undermine someone within the Grand Game? Is the jailing of someone prominent Justice or Injustice?
Do we even care?
It is with this we find ourselves trapped in these uncertain times and places. The lack of any rules, the lack of any defining characteristics means that we are both all soldiers and refugees. Unknowing which war we fight in, and not knowing the wars we flee.
What we know for certain is that regardless of the circumstances, the things that truly matter will never change. Your friends, family, and loved ones.
During the Holidays and beyond, may we never forget that.
The book by the same name is a fantastic book which outlines
We have seen this with cancel culture where someone unknowingly says or does something and has a mob inextricably land on them.