Winning Wars Amongst the People: Case Studies in Asymmetric Conflict

Winning Wars Amongst the People: Case Studies in Asymmetric Conflict

Winning Wars Amongst the People: Case Studies in Asymmetric Conflict

Winning Wars Amongst the People: Case Studies in Asymmetric Conflict

Synopsis

Since the end of World War II a paradigm shift has occurred in armed conflict. Asymmetric, or fourth-generation warfare- the challenge of nonstate belligerents to the authority and power of the state- has become the dominant form of conflict, while interstate conventional war has become an increasingly irrelevant instrument of statecraft. In asymmetric conflicts the enemy is often a fellow citizen with a different vision for the future of the country- waging war among the people, maneuvering on the borderlines between parliamentary politics, street politics, criminal activity, and combat operations.

Winning Wars amongst the People analyzes the special circumstances of asymmetric conflicts in the domestic context and seeks to identify those principles that allow a democratic state's security forces to meet the challenge, while at the same time obey their homeland's laws, protect its culture, observe its values, and maintain its liberties, traditions, and way of life. Using five detailed case studies, Peter A. Kiss explains the fundamental differences between the paradigm of conventional warfare and that of asymmetric warfare as well as the latter's political, social, and economic roots and main characteristics. Most important, he identifies the measures a government must take to prepare its security forces and other institutions of state for an asymmetric conflict.

Excerpt

This work started its life as a doctoral dissertation. The idea of eventually publishing it as a book was born quite early in the preliminary research phase, when I perceived a gap in Western professional literature. I found that nearly all international and national security documents accessible to the public, as well as most current academic analysis, treat the question of asymmetric warfare in the context either of the fight against terrorism or of expeditionary operations in the third world. This focus reflects recent European and American experience, but some clouds on the Western political horizon suggest that governments in the European Union’s core areas may also face asymmetric challenges in the future. The experience their armed forces have gained in expeditionary operations will mostly be irrelevant in these conflicts; a new approach will be needed to fight fellow citizens, brothers, neighbors.

I fully acknowledge my admiration for, and my debt to, the authors who traveled this road before me. I borrowed the phrase “war amongst the people” from a distinguished British soldier, General Rupert Smith. I relied heavily on the works of the older classics (Callwell, Gwynn, Lawrence), the more recent classics (Trinquier, Galula, Kitson, Nasution), the moderns that are likely to become classics (Lind, Hammes, Nagl, Kilcullen), as well as the less well known professionals. I do not claim that this book is better than their works— it probably is not. I only claim that it is different . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.