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Thread: A 'Digger' writes The Rise and Fall of Western COIN

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A 'Digger' writes The Rise and Fall of Western COIN

    Professor Michael Evans, of the Australian Defence College, has a lengthy article in an Australian journal (with free access). Long ago his experience was in Rhodesia / Zimbabwe (where we met in 1985) and he emigrated to Australia in the late 1980's.

    Link:https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/201...terinsurgency/

    The mini bio:
    Michael Evans is the General Sir Francis Hassett Chair of Military Studies at the Australian Defence College, Canberra, and a professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University. He was the lead author of the Australian Army’s December 2009 doctrine manual, Counterinsurgency, and currently co-ordinates an annual course in Irregular Conflict for senior Australian and international military professionals.
    In summary I expect he'd be happy to say "Its a dirty, nasty form of warfare much to be avoided. The supreme irony is the post-9/11 COINdinistas repeated every single mistake from the 1960s and 1970s".

    He wrote early on:
    The West’s record in fighting modern insurgents from the Cold War era to the age of globalisation is characterised by multiple political reverses.
    This article seeks to explain the swift rise and fall of Western counterinsurgency between 2004 and 2014. This is an important task to undertake because, even though the West has now abandoned its brand of post-9/11 counterinsurgency, our Islamist opponents from Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan through Al-Shabaab in Somalia to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continue to wage modes of insurgent warfare. We now face the difficult task of crafting an alternative way of war to fight guerrillas and militia forces and, unpalatable though it may be, we must seek to learn lessons from our recent experience with counterinsurgency.


    What struck me in my first two readings was how little attention appears to have been given to non-Western experiences of COIN, notably in India and Southern Africa. Here on SWC we know there are many post-1945 and post-Cold War successes and failures before the latest campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    I often wonder if COIN is necessary not to defeat the local / regional opponent, but to create enough security to enable political dialogue and hopefully peace. My own thinking is influenced by events in Southern Africa, where the "battles were won and the war was lost" as the politicians could not see clearly enough.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-24-2015 at 02:31 PM.
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