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Old 07-09-2010   #6
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a South African small wars course. So, professor, will the teaching methodolgy be Sandhurst or West Point ?

Seriously, I think it's a good idea (esp. since your first author spoke well of John McCuen - a better student of Mao-Giap than were Galula et al).

Back in the day, I followed SWA/Namibia/Angola (and your Rhodesian thing) on roughly a monthly basis. Generally, I'm stupid on things African - so, it's nice to have you provide the syllabus and sources I can download to my harddrive (already did that for a bunch of Rhodesian stuff).

Regards (from one of your students in the peanut gallery)


On reflection, I should say what McCuen taught (in mid-1960s), but your SA author has done that for me (pp.6-7 pdf):

His strategic principles were the following:

· Having a clear political aim: In the light of the intense political nature of revolutionary warfare, McCuen places great emphasis on this aspect. Without it, neither the civilian administration of the government nor the military can properly deal with the evolving phases of the rebellion.

· Annihilation of the enemy and preservation of own forces: Obviously, the enemy forces will have to be destroyed, but not to the point of seriously weakening your own forces. The areas which have not yet be subverted, should be safeguarded and developed in order to prevent such subversion from happening. At the same time – and this proved to be very important to the South Africans – the internal and external political infrastructure of the rebels should be high on the agenda for destruction.

· Mobilisation of the masses: This principle rests directly on what Mao had said about the matter, that the active participation of the masses should be secured, especially as far as the so-called silent majority is concerned. In addition, the government should offer a vision which is more attractive than the one offered by the rebels. This should accommodate popular aspirations and eleminate genuine grievances.

· Get outside support: To get the political and moral support of neigbouring states is necessary to counter the external manoeuvres of the revolutionaries.

· Unity of effort: All means and instruments available should be effectively integrated into one consolidated effort. Government departments should not make ad hoc decisions which are not properly integrated into the central war effort, and this applies not only to military steps, but also those in the political, psychological, economic and organisational realms. This principle, when read together with the writings of Beaufre, was the foundation of the P.W. Botha government’s much maligned Total Strategy.
So, McCuen was a realist, who realized that the military struggle (violence with some conversions) and the political struggle (conversions with some violence) had to be integrated, co-ordinated and subordinated to the policy which drives both the military and political efforts (as to which they are "merely continuations"). Giap was emphasiing the same points in his teachings before and during the time that McCuen taught them - ironic that they were on opposite sides.

In any event, neither McCuen nor Giap were "Johnny One Notes".

Last edited by jmm99; 07-09-2010 at 09:13 PM. Reason: add PS
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