News | Feb. 22, 2023

Counterinsurgency as fad: America’s rushed engagement with irregular warfare

By Dr. Thomas Marks, Dr. David Ucko Journal

The counterinsurgency era that dominated American military discussion post-9/11 has passed. The desire to move on, particularly since the loss of Afghanistan in August 2021, has left unsettled a conversation on counterinsurgency that, both among supporters and detractors, was often dangerously narrow. Too hastily embraced and too rapidly abandoned, counterinsurgency generated false promises and then became the scapegoat for poor strategy. This article examines the counterinsurgency era that was and demonstrates how fad-like engagement with the topic in both military and academic circles subverted the supposed learning process taking place. It argues that the lessons from this engagement are mostly misleading or at least incomplete, but it also notes that there is minimal appetite to look deeper into a topic now deemed toxic. Therein lies significant danger.

Read the research article here.