[FOUNTAIN]Internet-era revolutionsPositional warfare was a widely used military tactic during World War I. It depended on confronting a enemy in a barbed-wire trench, and victory or defeat depended on which side could withstand attacks longer. But such siege warfare became obsolete with the development of tanks. The mobility and speed of tanks destroyed the idea of positional warfare.
A newly developed weapon or technology can completely change the concept of military strategy. The tank was a technological advance that transformed overall military tactics, and the changed strategy consequently gave birth to other secondary technology. It is a subject of endless debate whether the technology defines the strategy or vice versa.
The Italian political theorist Antonio Gramsci revived the obsolete military term into a socio-political term. He explained the theory of hegemony and warfare of position in his analysis of state power and social changes. The founder of the Italian Communist Party used concepts of positional war to answer the ultimate question of why communist revolutions took place in Russia, the most backward country in Europe at the time, but not in Germany, the most capitalistic country.
According to Gramsci, the Russian Revolution, a blitzkrieg by a few revolutionaries, was made possible because of the unique characteristic of Russia: It lacked the tradition of civil society. In a country like Russia, where a civil society of law and system was absent, revolution could change the system overnight; but in Germany, the long tradition of civil society made a lightening revolution nearly impossible.
The concept of siege warfare spread to socio-cultural language after World War II, when many fledgling countries went through rapid urbanization and economic development. Modernization enhanced social mobility, which led to increasing demand for political democracy.
If the establishment of a country is under siege, collisions with the following generation are inevitable. Especially where the absence of political legitimacy is combined with antidemocratic wealth and authority, the confrontation will be extreme.
The Internet civilization emphasizes information and mobility. In this era of speed, the fury of the established generation for lost respect should be met by creating a healthy civil society, not by confronting the younger generation.
by Kim Seok-hwan
The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo
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