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Counterinsurgency in CrisisBritain and the Challenges of Modern Warfare$
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David Ucko and Robert Egnell

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164276

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164276.001.0001

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Untangling the British Counterinsurgency Legacy

Untangling the British Counterinsurgency Legacy

(p.19) 1 Untangling the British Counterinsurgency Legacy
Counterinsurgency in Crisis

David H. Ucko

Robert Egnell

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the British legacy in counterinsurgency at the turn of the twenty-first century. The narrative of British counterinsurgency is peppered with successful campaigns in Northern Ireland, Malaya, and Aden, as well as the theories derived from these engagements. However, it does not follow that the British armed forces has an almost natural talent for counterinsurgency as a result of these historical experiences. The chapter begins by tracing the genealogy of counterinsurgency literature that is built on a written tradition. Its genealogy primarily rests on the sheer frequency of the engagements with counterinsurgency of the British armed forces. British counterinsurgency literature reveals that the armed forces considered their past campaigns and knowledge of relevant principles as proofs of their mastery of the counterinsurgency operations, irrespective of political context or other circumstances.

Keywords:   British legacy, counterinsurgency, political context, Northern Ireland, Malaya, Aden, British armed forces, British counterinsurgency literature

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