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The Political Impossibility of Modern Counterinsurgency – Strategic Problems, Puzzles, and Paradoxes - Columbia Scholarship Online
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The Political Impossibility of Modern Counterinsurgency: Strategic Problems, Puzzles, and Paradoxes

David Jones and M.L.R. Smith


The counterinsurgency (COIN) paradigm dominates military and political conduct in contemporary Western strategic thought. It assumes future wars will unfold as “low intensity” conflicts within rather than between states, requiring specialized military training and techniques. COIN is understood as a logical, effective, and democratically palatable method for confronting insurgency—a discrete set of practices that, through the actions of knowledgeable soldiers and under the guidance of an expert elite, creates lasting results. Through an extensive investigation into COIN's theories, methods, an ... More

Keywords: counterinsurgency, COIN, intellectual identity, military practice, war, modernization, political conduct, Western strategic thought, low intensity

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780231170000
Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015 DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231170000.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

David Jones, author
University of Queensland

M.L.R. Smith, author