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The New Rules of Political Disorder. The face of conflict is changing faster than our established institutions can grasp. We are now in a world where state led armies, tank squadrons, flights of bombers and large ships are less and less relevant. Western defence budgets are little more than extremely expensive political posturing. The future of warfare has changed. It will focus on social manipulation, disinformation, rotting adversaries from within via trade embargoes, tariff changes, and covert crime as much as military rallies and fly passes. Putin matters not just because his is a direct line back to Lenin, Stalin and the moral failure of imperial communism, but because he is one of today’s arch perpetrators of the deniable fake news infiltration of independent states. China matters because its leaders for over one thousand years have been followers of the “36 Strategies for War”. “All war is deception”, wrote Sun Tzu in the 5th century BCE, “To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.” The longer we approach today’s “battles” through yesterday’s public, transparent and rules based institutions, the greater the scope we give our enemies. Clausewitz has been surrounded and drained by Sun Tzu. So – read Sean McFate’s “The New Rules of War” and – watch with alarm Russian meddling in the Ukraine and in its former vassal states from Lithuania to the Balkans; – monitor China’s expansion into the South China Seas and Southern Europe; – ponder the support given by both to the beleaguered economies in Latin America; and challenge the merits of our own unthinking spend on defence. Have a hood day, James.