The Evolution of Irregular War by Max Boot FP

Guerrillas often present a further paradox: even the most successful raiders have been prone to switch to conventional tactics once they achieve great military success. The Mongols eventually turned into a semiregular army under Genghis Khan, and the Arabs underwent a similar transformation. They fought in traditional Bedouin style while spreading Islam across the Middle East in the century after Muhammad’s death, in 632. But their conquests led to the creation of the Umayyad and Abbassid caliphates, two of the greatest states of the medieval world, which were defended by conventional forces. The Turkish empire, too, arose out of the raiding culture of the steppes but built a formidable conventional army, complete with highly disciplined slave-soldiers, the janissaries. The new Ottoman army conquered Constantinople in a famous siege in 1453 and, within less than a century, advanced to the gates of Vienna….
What makes counterinsurgency all the more difficult is that there are few quick victories in this type of conflict. Since 1775, the average insurgency has lasted seven years (and since 1945, it has lasted almost ten years). Attempts by either insurgents or counterinsurgents to short-circuit the process usually backfire. The United States tried to do just that in the early years of both the Vietnam War and the Iraq war by using its conventional might to hunt down guerrillas in a push for what John Paul Vann, a famous U.S. military adviser in Vietnam, rightly decried as „fast, superficial results.” It was only when the United States gave up hopes of a quick victory, ironically, that it started to get results, by implementing the tried-and-true tenets of population-centric counterinsurgency. In Vietnam, it was already too late, but in Iraq, the patient provision of security came just in time to avert an all-out civil war.


Un interviu cu Richard N. Haass

Un interviu cu Richard N. Haass în revista Prism.
Q: What is your assessment of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review?
Haass: I am frankly skeptical that it will lead to significant changes.
Q: In the recently released Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense, there’s an indication of a strategic pivot toward Asia and the Pacific. Do you think that is a wise move?
Haass: I’m not wild about the word “pivot.” It’s too sharp. I think two things. The United States has been overly invested in the greater Middle East, and I do think it has been strategically distorting. The investments both in Iraq and in Afghanistan have been way too big, and our interests did not warrant it. The opportunities there, the dangers there, didn’t warrant it. I’m glad to see a slight dialing down or considerable dialing down of the American military presence in the greater Middle East. We’ll see what happens with Iran. That could be a temporary exception. All things being equal, the era of a large American footprint in the greater Middle East is over and should be over.



People Power 2.0- How civilians helped win the Libyan information war. May/June 2012 BY JOHN POLLOCK

 Indeed, civilians have „rushed the field,” says David Kilcullen, author of The Accidental Guerrilla, a renowned expert on counterinsurgency and a former special advisor to General David Petraeus during the Iraq War. Their communications can now directly affect a military operation’s dynamics. „Information networks,” he says, „will define the future of conflicts.” That future started unfurling when Libyan networks—and a long list of global activists—began an information war against Qaddafi. Thousands of civilians took part, but one of the most important was a man who, to paraphrase Woodrow Wilson, used not only all the brains he had but all the brains he could borrow.