Color Revolutions are the epitome of post-modern warfare, and they’ve been successfully applied to devastating effect everywhere from Serbia to Syria. Whether as stand-alone regime change operations such as the one in 2003 Georgia or the catalyst to a Hybrid War like in 2011 Libya, Color Revolutions have arguably emerged as one of the US’ preferred strategies of choice in destabilizing targeted states.
The architect behind this new method of warfare is Gene Sharp, an expert in “non-violent resistance” strategies and the founder of the “Albert Einstein Institution”. He’s published such works as “From Dictatorship To Democracy” and “There Are Realistic Alternatives”, both of which have been instrumental in honing Color Revolution organizational strategies and applied tactics. Largely credited with sparking the “Arab Spring” theater-wide Color Revolutions, Sharp is a ‘god among men’ when it comes to asymmetrical warfare methods, but his elderly age means that someone else must pick up the torch and continue his work once he inevitably passes away.
A New Leader Rises
Enter John Carlarne, an up-and-coming Color Revolution strategist from The Ohio State University’s Mershon Center for International Security Studies. His publicly available CV indicates that he has a wealth of experience that’s particularly relevant for this field. From serving around the world as a Commissioned Officer in the British Army from 1990-1995 to being the Vice-President of the Peace Brigades International (PBI) from 1997 to the present, Carlarne has been able to combine his military training with broad NGO activity in spearheading the new tactic of “protective accompaniment”.
PBI describes this concept as “send[ing] teams of volunteers backed up by an international support network to accompany human rights defenders and communities in areas of conflict”, which basically boils down to using Western “volunteers” as literal human shields in protecting “democracy” and “human rights” (Color Revolution) activists during their provocations. Undoubtedly, Carlarne’s military experience helped to optimize this strategy while his leadership role as the organization’s Vice-President ensured that it would be rolled out, tested, and perfected in all of the countries where the group is active.
PBI’s activity in identity-diverse countries such as Kenya and Nepal dovetails nicely with Carlarne’s educational interest in Anthropology, in which he received both a master’s degree (1996) and a Ph.D. (2008). During his two-year time as the Associate Director of the University of South Carolina’s Rule of Law Collaborative from 2009-2011, some of his self-declared responsibilities included “liaising with government, academic, practitioner and policy maker communities – both in the US and in Europe” and “advising government officials on working with nongovernmental organizations in post-conflict settings”, both of which clearly gave him an impressive list of professional contacts that he would later leverage.
Crafting The Color Revolution
Right after serving at the Rule of Law Collaborative, Carlarne became the Peace Studies Coordinator at The Ohio State University in 2011, a position that he retains to this day alongside his Vice-Presidential one with the PBI. The Mershon Center describes a research project that Carlarne is leading called “Training To Talk Peace: Experimental Analysis Of Non-Violent Communication Workshops”, which utilizes local diaspora communities to “act as a proxy for populations in their countries of origin” in assessing the effect that an extensive six-week “non-violent communication curriculum” has on the participants’ “identity structure, interpersonal reactivity, and views on the use of coercive or punitive methods in a divisive political dispute.”
The purpose of the experiment is to gauge the effectiveness of Color Revolution information campaigns in recruiting regime change cells inside of the targeted country and in magnifying the sense of identity-separateness that varied demographics feel towards the said diverse state. To put it in a simpler way, Carlarne tests the applicability of fomenting identity conflict all across the world, likely in accordance with “The Law Of Hybrid War” which states that “the grand objective behind every Hybrid War is to disrupt multipolar transnational connective projects through externally provoked identity conflicts (ethnic, religious, regional, political, etc.) within a targeted transit state.”
His anthropological expertise is then harnessed in judging whether the experiment’s results indicate that a given strategy should move forward, and if such a determination is made, then the PBI begins in-field testing against the target. Although the PBI’s front page says that it only has “current field projects in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and Nepal”, its section about Country Groups notes that “many countries do not have an official PBI Country Group but have small networks of individuals that may be able to help.” To elaborate, one of the key functions of a Country Group “is developing and activating support networks that provide a vital lifeline if the human rights defenders PBI accompanies are threatened”, which “consists of high-level contacts such as diplomats, members of government, and officials, and well-known personalities.”
If the Country Group’s responsibilities make it sound an awful lot like an intelligence agency, it’s because it essentially is, and it’s reasonable to conclude that the PBI might actually be a CIA front organization. Carlarne’s extensive contacts “with government, academic, practitioner and policy maker communities – both in the US and in Europe” and the government officials that he has formerly advised enable him to provide a wide range of relevant policy influencers and decision makers with the results of his field data, thus establishing a valuable Color Revolution feedback mechanism that seamlessly integrates theoreticians, practitioners, and policy makers. Carlarne’s multi-layered regime change platform surpasses the precedent that was set by Gene Sharp and demonstrates how academia, private sector “volunteers”, and government agencies can all be fused together in an effective operational mix.
Training The Next Generation
Carlarne’s activities are also very forward-looking, not just in the sense of fomenting Color Revolutions and Hybrid Wars in targeted states, but in training a new generation of strategists to join his PBI organization and/or the American Intelligence Community. He presently teaches a class at The Ohio State University called “Applied Nonviolence”, where he writes that students “will select candidate countries for nonviolent transition” and “then apply the principles, concepts and practices of nonviolence within a notional setting in order to explore the strengths and limitations of nonviolence as a method for effecting long‐term change within specific regimes.”
This program amounts to a series of targeted simulations in which Carlarne uses students as unwitting research assistants for his work while simultaneously seeking to indoctrinate future recruits with his Color Revolution ideology. He’s currently building the “Peace Education And Training Repository” (PETR), “an online data portal designed to document peace education training curricula and materials from around the world” and which “combines information about global research, education, and peace-building programs that affect community, national and international peace and security.”
The end vision is that “the repository will form the core resource for lifelong peace leadership education”, with one of the key objectives being to “attract participation from practitioners, researchers and policy makers alike”. In other words, Carlarne is constructing a Color Revolution factory that aims to continually produce strategists, activists, and policy facilitators in order to dish out a never-ending stream of “democratic” and “human rights” destabilization anywhere in the world. Needless to say, PETR is on track to become the new-and-improved version of the “Albert Einstein Institute”, and John Carlarne is already a lot more successful than Gene Sharp ever was in directly cultivating Color Revolution networks, fielding experimental techniques in practice, and coordinating his activities with the military-intelligence community.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.