Rethinking Western Approaches to Counterinsurgency: Lessons From Post-Colonial Conflict (Studies in Insurgency, Counterinsurgency and National Security)

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9781138819337: Rethinking Western Approaches to Counterinsurgency: Lessons From Post-Colonial Conflict (Studies in Insurgency, Counterinsurgency and National Security)

'Russell Glenn, one of the most original thinkers and diligent researchers on Counterinsurgency, has done us an enormous favour. Recognizing the limits of a theory based solely on the canon of mid-20thcentury cases like Malaya and Algeria, he gives a much-needed corrective, analyzing modern variations of insurgency, and the range of innovative responses to it. This insightful book should be required reading for all students and practitioners of this complex and constantly-evolving form of war.' -- David J. Kilcullen, Counterinsurgency advisor to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan

'With conflict and chaos in much of North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, the need to understand counterinsurgency is as great as ever. COIN isn’t dead; we just need to do it better. Russ Glenn’s pioneering new book outlines lessons from eight recent – and little known – insurgencies. It is essential reading.' - Nicholas P. Warner, Director-General, Australian Secret Intelligence Service

'Insurgency is changing in shape and form; to counter it successfully, we must adapt accordingly. This book is a timely, thought-provoking and critical examination of our current approaches to counterinsurgency, challenging many widely-held tenets. A `must read` for practitioners. It will probably find its way on to the insurgents` reading list, too.' -- Sir John P. Kiszely, former Director of the UK Defence Academy and Senior British Military Representative and Deputy Commanding General, Multinational Force, Iraq

‘A comprehensive, thoughtful analysis of the evolution of the theory and practice of counterinsurgency operations – with superb case studies and well-considered conclusions that should be studied carefully by any student or practitioner of COIN.’ -- General David H. Petraeus (US Army, Retired)

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This book critically examines the Western approach to counter-insurgency in the post-colonial era and offers a series of recommendations for its shortfalls.

The author argues that current approaches to countering insurgency rely too heavily on conflicts from the post-World War II years of waning colonialism. Those campaigns – in Malaya, Algeria, Philippines (Huk Rebellion), Vietnam, Aden, and Kenya, among others – are now a half-century distant but are still the cases on which the United States, British, Australian, and other militaries build their guidance for dealing with insurgent threats much changed from those of the Cold War years. Expectations of these nations’ populations regarding the use of force have likewise evolved. This book addresses this problem by offering observations, analysis, and recommendations drawn from more recent and relevant campaigns.

The Western powers contesting the above older conflicts controlled still-in-place colonial governments (Malaya, Algeria, Aden, Kenya) or benefited from cooperative if not always able leaderships (Philippines and Vietnam). They forcibly resettled large segments of populations (Malaya, Vietnam) and relied on force to an extent no longer acceptable to liberal democracies’ citizens in the early 21st century. This book considers eight post-colonial conflicts in which the counterinsurgents attained or continue to demonstrate considerable progress toward their objectives. All offer insights more applicable to counterinsurgency today and in the years to come than do those more distantly past. Together, these case studies span the globe and each shares the characteristic of having achieved notable success when taking on enterprises better known for disaster and disappointment. Nine red herrings resulting from these analyses challenge entrenched beliefs while serving as the impetus for recommended change. Several on the list continue to be foci of heated debate, while others reject presumed truths given little thought thanks to their previously uncontested acceptance. 

This book will be of much interest to students of counter-insurgencies, military and strategic studies, security studies and IR in general.

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