Though some claim counterinsurgency is dead, the debate about it is still going strong. It remains to be seen whether the raft of recently released and soon-to-be-published books on the topic are the last, parting shots or just another salvo in a campaign with no end. What is certain is that there is still much to be said and understood about the wars in Iraq in Afghanistan, about military intervention, and the proper application of strategy. As contributions to this debate, I alert you to three recent items by Kings of War authors (myself, of course, and also Ryan Evans):
- For your listening pleasure, consider this podcast recorded by the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Advanced Governmental Studies. Mark Stout, Global Security Studies Program Director, interviews me about my recent book and the strategic context of counterinsurgency. The conversation touches upon the British campaign in Basra, the relevance of counterinsurgency principles to modern warfare and the relation between counterinsurgency and the campaign plan.
- Over at War on the Rocks, I have penned a short essay on clear-hold-build, examining the central contradiction between the dominance of this approach in counterinsurgency theory and its extremely patchy track-record when put into practice. What accounts for the gap between theory and practice and does ‘clear-hold-build’ have any utility as an approach to local-level counterinsurgency? The article links to a longer treatment of this topic, within Contemporary Security Policy, which the editors and Taylor & Francis have temporarily made ‘free-for-view‘.
- Finally, Ryan Evans has penned a very useful review for Foreign Policy of three books dealing with Afghanistan: Matt Zeller’s Watches Without Time, Ben Anderson’s No Worse Enemy, and Carter Malkasian’s War Comes to Garmser. While on the topic of book reviews, I will be reviewing Douglas Porch and Gian Gentile’s counter-COIN books in a forthcoming issue of Small Wars & Insurgencies dedicated in its entirety to counterinsurgency and the debate that it has fostered. Something to look forward to, right?
More to follow, no doubt…