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Thread: COIN Counterinsurgency (merged thread)

  1. #621
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    Default Marc, "NGO" point of view ...

    was a generalized reference to the NGO that is "neutral" and aimed at fixing or lessening the humanitarian problems of the population without regard for whether the individuals are incumbants, insurgents or neutrals.

    I realize that is a stereotype; and that there is considerable disagreement about what NGOs are and what they should do. In any given situation (whether it has reached the armed conflict stage or not - as defined by GCs), there can be a lot of Karpman Drama Triangles. Some of them will shift and some will not.

    Colonialement - Vive les Marsouins et les Bigors !

    Mike

  2. #622
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    was a generalized reference to the NGO that is "neutral" and aimed at fixing or lessening the humanitarian problems of the population without regard for whether the individuals are incumbants, insurgents or neutrals.
    Mike

    I would say that is a fair description of what many (if not most) NGOs would have the greater audience accept. My expereince and perhaps M-A's suggest that the reality is all too often quite different. The entrance of an NGO regardless of definition, goals, or stated purpose changes the local conditions. Smaller NGOs mean lesser impacts. Massive responses can unhinge the local and even strategic balance in the area. That was the case in Goma in 1994 on into 1996. You could also make the case that NGOs with video cameras have true strategic effect; look at Audrey Hepburn in 1992 in Somalia. Finally I would state that fundamentally we must understand that at its heart an NGO is a business seeking work.

    Best
    Tom

  3. #623
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Welcome back Tom, been wondering what happened to you and Stan?

  4. #624
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Mike

    Finally I would state that fundamentally we must understand that at its heart an NGO is a business seeking work.
    Without entering in the debate of NGO being spies,disguised governemental actors and funding mechanism for insurgents... I concure with Tom.
    But also, NGO have changed from purely "charity"/saving life oriented action to a fully political adgenda which is not as neutral as it first appears.

    On that point, I would recommand to read the work of Marc Antoine Perouse de Montclos: Aide humanitaire, aide a la guerre.
    But I believe that it is not translated yet in english.

    M-A

  5. #625
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Strategy and insurgency: an evolution in thinking?

    This appeared on an email and appears to be an amalgam of thoughts, one author appears on SWJ regularly. Sub-titled:
    America's internecine counter-insurgency debate is now making some progress, though not on a single predefined path.
    Big compliment paid to Steve Metz:
    Army War College professor Steven Metz’s 2007 monograph Rethinking Insurgency is a seminal—if under-referenced—work in the emerging understanding of insurgency. Metz helped move the field away from its 50s-60s roots in countering broadly “Maoist” Vietcong-style movements, incorporating a wider template of data on conflicts over the last thirty years, Metz particularly focused his research on the emerging blurring of crime and war. His eye was not on the Algeria of the 1950s but more fractured and chaotic places like Mexico, Somalia, and Afghanistan. The complex blurring of greed, grievance, and criminal insurgency promises greater challenge for aspiring counterinsurgents on tactical, operational, and strategic levels.
    Concludes with:
    The narrow focus of the COIN debate in America will eventually end, but as long as irregulars defy state authority, police and military forces will employ a variety of means—some new, others stretching back thousands of years in origin—to combat them.
    Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/john-p-...-08-16%2013:27
    davidbfpo

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    Default Hey Tom - Welcome home

    Unless Stan was left out in the bush somewhere, might we see his cranium raised here also. If so, you can keep me on the right path and he can lead me astray off of it.

    Regards

    Mike

  7. #627
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Finally I would state that fundamentally we must understand that at its heart an NGO is a business seeking work.

    Best
    Tom
    Quite true, Tom. I'd also add that in many cases the NGO is a business with an agenda (aside from 'simple' profit) seeking work. In some cases that agenda might be helping those in need, but that isn't always the case. And in some cases the agenda puts the NGO at odds with many in the region, including those they may be trying to 'help.'
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Best
    Tom
    Who was that Masked Man?

  9. #629
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Who was that Masked Man?

    That would be, me, Pete

    Hi to all. Been catching up and at 33% strength it is tough getting back on track. Making progress but it is the proverbial 2 steps forward one step back.

    Stan is still out there being Stan. He peeks in to see what is happening.

    Again hello all and best regards,

    Tom

  10. #630
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    How'd your new artillery-sized pistol work out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    You'd have to read the book and then give your opinion on how well Lomperis covered the situation. He goes back in time well before the Huks and also briefly covers NPA.
    Yes, I'd have to read it, though the chances of finding a copy in my corner of the world are remote. The classification of the Huk Rebellion as a "win" - and the consequent veneration of Edward Lansdale - has become so common that I admit to anticipating it, and getting cranky before being provoked. Guess we all have our hot buttons.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    You have the viewpoint of someone who is neither government nor insurgent; and therefore closer to an NGO.
    Less NGO, I'd say, than member of the populace, albeit one with the option of leaving. A remote option - we'd have to have a full scale war on before the wifelet would consider an exit - but more than most have. As discussed above, and NGO is involved and has an agenda; like most of the populace I'm not involved and have no agenda beyond wanting those with agendas to shoot each other elsewhere. Still, a different viewpoint when it's going on around you.

  12. #632
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    How'd your new artillery-sized pistol work out?
    It is fine. Shoots like a dream. Long slide really tames 10mm and gives a very nice sighting plane. I found iron sights to be faster than an ACOG (Trijicon RMR) and much more natural to me as I kept wanting to sight along the barrel with the ACOG versus looking through the sight. I may tap a deer with it this fall.

    Tom

  13. #633
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    Default External War as a Pallative Against Insurgency

    Here's an idea I'm playing with as I continue to work on the "reconceptualizing insurgency" manuscript I've been struggling with for the past couple of months.

    Internal conflicts involving a strategy of insurgency often arise in nations where there are poorly integrated peripheral regions. Governance in these places is a form of internal colonialism, with the core--often simply the capital--having a parasitic relationship with the periphery. The national government is seen as an outsider in the periphery. Develop programs are seldom enough to overcome this.

    History suggests that the most effective method for forging a nation is involvement in successful interstate war. (This is what Mike Vlahos calls "sacred wars.") It took the Civil War and the world wars to truly make the United States a nation. The same happened in many other places such as Britain, France, and Russia.

    In other words, states which have been involved in successful interstate wars are much less likely to have major internal, sectional conflicts, whether ones that take the form of insurgency or conventional civil war. (Failed external wars also do not serve the "forging" function, e.g. Iraq and Pakistan).

    But, and here's the rub, the current international system constrains major interstate wars, thus preventing nations from undergoing the "forging" process that lowers their chances of facing major internal conflict.

    There also seems to be a couple of other factors at play. First, the external war has to be big--"sacred" in Vlahos' term. India's wars with China and Pakistan, for instance, didn't work. Second, the "forging" effect of external war declines over time. E.g. post-Soviet Russia.

  14. #634
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    The "forging process" that is an interesting concept. I would say that requires leadership or as CvC says a Moral Center of Gravity.

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    So if i get this right, your general idea is that insurgencies occur primarily in countries where certain groups do not consider themselves as part of the nation as a group, the lack of a feeling of shared identity troughout the nation, the fact that the people that rise up (insurgents) do not consider themselves part of the nation they are officialy part of. And that thanks to the lack of major wars between countries, which serves as a sort of bonding experience that shapes the nation as an identity, the chance that insurgencies occur increases.

    This would be a valid conclusion if you would leave other potential causes of rebellion out of consideration, causes such as poverty, repression (political, cultural...etc),corruption...etc.So lack of a shared national identity would be a good addition to that list, but taking mismanagement by a governement and replacing it with lack of a national identity is everything but a valid conclusion.

    Secondly, the use of war as a nation forger can just as well lead to a polarisation of the country and the creation of a sort of blind nationalism where the feeling of frustration towards the inept governement is simply replaced by feelings of hate towards a third party, and the persecution of anyone that criticizes the regime in any way by linking him to the hated enemy. A bit like the perpetual war in the novel "1984".

    In the end the lack of a national identity can be a factor in rebellion, but arguing for the "forging" of national identities to prevent rebellions feels more like indoctrinating a group of people so that they will overlook the core issues that would eventually cause them to rise up, instead of actually adressing them.

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    If I read you correctly, you are using the history of states such as Britain, France, Russia, and United States, as examples of the nation forging process and that it may be applicable in the 20th and 21st century. (if this is not the case then feel free to shoot me down).

    One idea to consider is to separate the nation forging process as it existed pre-20th century and afterwards.

    WWI was a watershed in many respects and one of the main ones is in relation to nation forging in that before WWI there was general agreement among the larger powers in nation building (and indeed expansion or colinisation) by “right of conquest”. Following WWI, the general agreement was for self determination. The principle of self-determination can then be seen as a driver for nation forging via decolonisation and as a way to roll-back some of the "nation building/expansion" of previous centuries.

    If you accept this "right of conquest"/"self-determination" watershed then countries such as Britain, France, Russia, and United States may not be good examples of how states can be forged today.
    Last edited by mic; 10-29-2010 at 05:08 PM.

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    This would be a valid conclusion if you would leave other potential causes of rebellion out of consideration, causes such as poverty, repression (political, cultural...etc),corruption...etc.So lack of a shared national identity would be a good addition to that list, but taking mismanagement by a governement and replacing it with lack of a national identity is everything but a valid conclusion.
    where has poverty ever been the cause for rebellion?

  18. #638
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    Not only a succesfull interstate wars but a peace able to cast a strong legitimacy over the "winner" government.

    In Italy the succesfull WWI was followed by the fascist insurrrection and coup. One of the reasons? The italian fiasco in Versailles.

    In my opinion the impact of an external conflict is all about the strenght of the government at the end. Even a a victory could be a disaster.

    For what about the current international system I recall Colin Gray saying: give war a chance!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Global Scout View Post
    where has poverty ever been the cause for rebellion?
    America,The Civil Rights Movement.

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    wasn't there a recent movie along these lines...Invictus?

    There is something to the bonding effects of common challenge, but I would argue that it does not have to be war. It could be over coming a major financial crisis perhaps, such as the bonding we see in Americans who experienced the Great Depression. Or perhaps a sporting event such as the World Cup.

    Such events are important, but I would put them in a supporting role, rather than as a decisive one.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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