Of Shoes and Sites: Globalization and Insurgency

By Ford, Christopher M. | Military Review, May/June 2007 | Go to article overview

Of Shoes and Sites: Globalization and Insurgency


Ford, Christopher M., Military Review


IN 1965, two years before his execution at the hands of Bolivian counterinsurgent troops, Ernesto Rafael "Che" Guevara, the famed South American Marxist insurgent and guerrilla fighter, found himself deep in the African jungles of the Congo passing along advice similar to that found in his book On Guerrilla Warfare: "The vital necessities of the guerrillas are to maintain their arms in good condition, to capture ammunition, and, above everything else, to have adequate shoes."1

Guevara had been dispatched from Cuba to assist the Marxist Simba insurgency against the government of Mobutu Sese Seko.2 His Congolese acolytes must have presented a conventional picture of an insurgency: a group of scruffy, ideological men huddled in secrecy around a charismatic leader, learning the ancient art of guerrilla warfare.

Guevara's instruction traded on insurgents of the past, most notably Mao Tse-tung, and focused on the principles of rural insurgency, a form of warfare distinguished by small cells of insurgents exploiting their knowledge of the terrain and their ability to operate independently with few organizational needs-save functional arms and, of course, good shoes.3

At roughly the same time, in another jungle across the globe, the United States was busily engaged in its distinct brand of counterinsurgent operations-Operation Rolling Thunder, the bombing campaign of North Vietnam. During the course of the campaign, which lasted until late 1968, the U.S. Air Force flew 306,380 bombing sorties.4 By all accounts the operation was a failure, and quite possibly the model for how not to fight an insurgency.5

Today, 42 years later, the United States is again fighting a robust insurgency. The intervening four decades, however, have wrought a worldwide change in technology, information, mobility, culture, and warfare. These changes, collectively defined as "globalization," have touched virtually every aspect of human conduct, counter-insurgency warfare included.6 Thus, the picture of the modern counterinsurgent is that of a soldier on the streets of Baghdad, dressed in an Advanced Combat Uniform, protected by ceramic body armor, communicating with a satellite phone, and armed with an M-4 carbine and a fistful of reconstruction dollars.

What Is Insurgency?

In examining insurgency and globalization, two questions become readily apparent: (1) What is insurgency and (2) What aspects of globalization are pertinent to the discussion? We can define an insurgency as "an organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict."7 Insurgency movements traditionally find their roots in a desire for social and/or political change, and then insurgencies utilize guerrilla warfare to accomplish their goals.8 This distinction between insurgencies and insurgency movements is important because counterinsurgent operations are more expansive than counterguerrilla operationsthe latter term refers exclusively to the engagement of the insurgency's military force. In this article, "counterinsurgency" refers to full-spectrum operations designed to target the insurgency politically, economically, and militarily.

Successful insurgencies have certain fundamental prerequisites. Field Manual (FM) 31-20-3, Foreign Internal Defense Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Special Forces, summarizes these as a vulnerable population, strong leadership, and lack of government control.9 The most basic requirement is the positive support or at least the acquiescence of the population. As noted by Mao Tse-tung, "Because guerrilla warfare basically derives from the masses and is supported by them, it can neither exist nor flourish if it separates itself from their sympathies and co-operation."10 A vulnerable population, electrifying leaders, and a government's failure to control movement allow insurgencies to garner popular support more efficiently and effectively. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Of Shoes and Sites: Globalization and Insurgency
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.