book explores the ways in which democracies can win counterinsurgencies when
they implement a proper strategy. At a time when the USA is retrenching from
two bungled foreign wars that involved deadly insurgent uprisings, this is a particularly
important argument. Succumbing to the trauma of those engagements and drawing
the wrong conclusions about counterinsurgency can only lead to further defeat
in the future. Rather than assuming that counterinsurgency is ineffective, it
is crucial to understand that a conventional response to an insurgent challenge
is likely to fail. Counterinsurgency must be applied from the beginning, and if
done properly can be highly effective, even when used by democratic regimes. In
fact, because such regimes are often wealthier; have more experience at
institution-building and functional governance; are more pluralistic in nature
and therefore enjoy higher levels of legitimacy than do autocracies,
democracies may have considerable advantages in counterinsurgency warfare.
Rather than give up in despair, democracies should learn to leverage these
advantages and implement them against future insurgencies.