The Forgotten Front: Patron-Client Relationships in Counter Insurgency

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Cambridge University Press, 2017 M06 22 - 346 pages
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"A critical error lies at the heart of American thinking about counterinsurgency: the assumption that the U.S. will share common goals, priorities, and interests with a local government it is supporting, which will make it relatively easy to convince the partner to adopt America's preferred counterinsurgency prescription. In fact, the historical record suggests that maintaining power is frequently the priority for the incumbent regime, which means that many of the standard reform prescriptions for counterinsurgency - reducing government corruption, ending patronage politics, embracing disaffected minority groups, streamlining the military chain of command, or engaging in economic reform - can appear more threatening to a besieged government and its supporters than the insurgency itself. Therefore, while the United States has provided its local allies with overwhelming amounts of money, materiel, and political support it has frequently had difficulty convincing its partners to abide by its counterinsurgency doctrine or address what it sees as the political and economic "root causes" of the insurgency. If, as the 2009 U.S. Government Counterinsurgency Guide asserts, "any COIN campaign is only as good as the political strategy which the affected nation adopts," this lack of influence would appear to pose a significant problem for U.S. interventions."--

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About the author (2017)

Walter C. Ladwig III is an Assistant Professor in the Department of War Studies at King's College London and an Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, London. His work has appeared in International Security, the Journal of Strategic Studies, and Small Wars and Insurgencies, as well as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

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