Unconventional Conflicts in a New Security Era: Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam

By Sam C. Sarkesian | Go to book overview

1 Conflict Analysis: The Comparative Framework

The decade of the 1990s began with a dramatically changed strategic landscape. Triggered by the Gorbachev reforms of glasnost and perestroika, communist systems throughout Eastern Europe collapsed and Marxist- Leninist ideology became irrelevant. Not only did the "wall" between East and West disappear but Germany was reunited. The Baltic states became independent, starting the process of unraveling the Soviet Union. By 1992, the face of Europe had changed and the Soviet Union had become history. While it is still unclear as to where all of these changes will lead, a new world order has emerged and with it a new security landscape.

Although danger still exists in unsettled regions, by the beginning of the 1990s there was a significant reduction in tension within Europe and between the United States and the Soviet Union. As a result, U.S. strategy and force posture were in the process of being redefined. Another result was that many Americans questioned the need for large ground forces in Europe. Some even questioned the need for an army in an increasingly peaceful world. 1 In the larger sense, U.S. national interests and national security shifted to the economic realm. Yet there is no assurance that chaos and repression will not occur in Europe, such as the conflict between Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992, or in parts of the former Soviet Union, such as the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Thus, while the 1990s brought important changes, it also created an air of uncertainty and recognition that Europe and the international order are in transition. In such circumstances, it is no wonder that some Americans look with nostalgia to the "good old days" of the Cold War, in which the threat was clear and the adversary well defined. 2

-3-

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Unconventional Conflicts in a New Security Era: Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xi
  • Part I - Introduction 1
  • 1 - Conflict Analysis: The Comparative Framework 3
  • Notes 22
  • Part II - Comparative Analysis 25
  • 2 - The State of the Nation: Great Britain, the United States, and Unconventional Conflicts 27
  • Notes 53
  • 3 - Military Posture and Nature of Conflict: Malaya 55
  • Notes 76
  • 4 - Military Posture and Nature of Conflict: The Diem Period in Vietnam 79
  • Notes 93
  • 5 - Military Posture and Nature of Conflict: The United States and the Second Indo-China War 95
  • Notes 119
  • 6 - Nature of Indigenous Systems: Revolutionary Systems 123
  • Notes 136
  • 7 - Nature of Indigenous Systems: Counterrevolutionary Systems 137
  • Notes 161
  • 8 - Conclusions: Malaya and Vietnam 165
  • Part III - Conclusions: What Needs to Be Done 183
  • 9 - The United States and the Emerging Security Agenda 185
  • Notes 198
  • Selected Bibliography 201
  • Index 217
  • About the Author 227
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