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

By Sam C. Sarkesian | Go to book overview

2 The State of the Nation: Great Britain, the United States, and Unconventional Conflicts

This study begins with some attention to the political scene and leadership in Great Britain and the United States during the periods of conflict in Malaya and Vietnam, respectively. However, this section is not intended to substitute for a serious reading of original studies of these periods. Rather, the purpose is to identify several critical features that serve as a general guide to the political landscape linking Malaya to Great Britain and South Vietnam to the United States. Only in such a context can the full import of the conflicts be understood and properly analyzed.

It is a difficult proposition for a democracy to provide direct assistance to a Third World state engaged in counterrevolutionary warfare. The very nature of democracy--its free press and pluralistic politics--precludes visible involvement in counterrevolutionary efforts without considering the impact on domestic public opinion, the role of major domestic political actors, and the credibility of the domestic governing system. It follows that any examination of the counterrevolutionary efforts of Great Britain and the United States be placed in the context of domestic politics--issues moving the public, the national will, and political resolve of the times. Too often, political analysts and academics neglect this issue and presume that there is no relationship between the political issues of the day or the domestic scene and temperament and the ability to engage in counterrevolutionary efforts.

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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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