Small Wars Journal

Myth-Busting French Counterinsurgency

Thu, 12/03/2015 - 11:16am

Myth-Busting French Counterinsurgency by Terrence Peterson, War on the Rocks

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, French President François Hollande’s declaration of war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State and U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s deployment of a new permanent “expeditionary force” to Iraq make it clear that “small wars” have not yet become a thing of the past. As these limited operations move forward, policymakers and military leaders in America and Europe have to prepare for the very real possibility that mission creep will bring the need to wage another large-scale counterinsurgency.

The counterinsurgency (COIN) debate is one of the most controversial and divisive in recent strategic memory, and I will not weigh in on the utility — or futility — of COIN writ large. Rather, I suggest that as we consider the future of irregular warfare, we fundamentally rethink our approach to the historical case studies that have stood at the center of American counterinsurgency since 2007…

Read on.