(Counter)insurgency How-To

The State Department recently released the “U.S. Government Counterinsurgency Guide”, which can be downloaded here (2.4MB PDF!). It’s chock-full of what can best be described as unwarranted optimism and flagrant propaganda, but still contains, albeit perhaps accidentally, the occasional point of interest. It’s primary value, as far as I’m concerned, is as a sort of ersatz how-to insurgency manual for rebellious malcontents, which I don’t think is quite what the authors intended.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad that the Guide barely discusses military use-of-force as a counterinsurgency tactic, because I don’t think shoot-first, ask-questions-later is automatically the best way to “deal with” insurgencies. That said, the emphasis on political appeasement as a magickal elixir for insurgencies, while it looks good on paper, is as yet unproven by the United States, essentially untried by the rest of the world, and I for one remain unconvinced that it’s a practical and effective approach.

I’m a pragmatist, of course, but is hypocrisy, however well-intentioned, really the best basis for what is purported to be an “intellectually rigorous” guide to foreign policy?

Published in: General | on February 25th, 2009| Comments Off on (Counter)insurgency How-To

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.