The Long War - Insurgency, Counterinsurgency and Collapsing States: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Long War - Insurgency, Counterinsurgency and Collapsing States

1st Edition

Edited by Mark T. Berger, Douglas A. Borer


276 pages

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The rise and fall of the Cold War coincided with the universalization and consolidation of the modern nation-state as the key unit of the wider international system. A key characteristic of the post-Cold War era, in which the US has emerged as the sole superpower, is the growing number of collapsing or collapsed states. A growing number of states are, or have become, mired in conflict or civil war, the antecedents of which are often to be found in the late-colonial and Cold War era. At the same time, US foreign policy (and the actions of other organizations such as the United Nations) may well be compounding state failure in the context of the post-9/11 Global War on Terror (GWOT) or what is also increasingly referred to as the ‘Long War’. The Long War is often represented as a ‘new’ era in warfare and geopolitics. This book acknowledges that the Long War is new in important respects, but it also emphasizes that the Long War bears many similarities to the Cold War. A key similarity is the way in which insurgency and counterinsurgency were and continue to be seen primarily in the context of inter-state rivalry in which the critical local or regional dynamics of revolution and counter-revolution are marginalized or neglected. In this context American policy-makers and their allies have again erroneously applied a ‘grand strategy’ that suits the imperatives of conventional military and geo-political thinking rather than engaging with what are a much more variegated array of problems facing the changing global order. This book provides a collection of well-integrated studies that shed light on the history and future of insurgency, counterinsurgency and collapsing states in the context of the Long War.

This book was previously published as a special issue of Third World Quarterly.

Table of Contents

1. The Long War: Insurgency, Counterinsurgency and Collapsing States 2. From 'Shock and Awe' to 'Hearts and Minds': The Fall and Rise of US Counterinsurgency Capability in Iraq 3. From Collapsing States to Neo-Trusteeship: The Limits to Solving the Problem of 'Precarious Statehood' in the 21st Century 4. Engaging or Withdrawing, Winning or Losing? The Contradictions of Counterinsurgency Policy in Afghanistan and Iraq 5. The Battle for Iraq: Islamic Insurgencies in Comparative Perspective 6. Less is More: The Problematic Future of Irregular Warfare in an Era of Collapsing States 7. Things Come Together: Symbolic Violence and Guerrilla Mobilisation 8. Things Fall Apart: The Endgame Dynamics of Internal Wars 9. The End of War as we Knew it? Insurgency, Counterinsurgency and Lessons from the Forgotten History of Early Terror Networks 10. The Misleading Problem of Failed States: A 'Socio-Geography' of Terrorism in the Post-9/11 Era 11. Caudillos and the Crisis of the Colombian State: Fragmented Sovereignty, the War System and the Privatisation of Counterinsurgency in Colombia 12. The Insurgency of Global Empire and the Counterinsurgency of Local Resistance: New World Order in an Era of Civilian Provisional Authority 13. The Last Empire? From Nation-Building Compulsion to Nation-Wrecking Futility and Beyond 14. All Roads Lead to and from Iraq: The Long War and the Transformation of the Nation-State System

About the Editors

Mark T Berger is Visiting Professor in the Department of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School (nps), Monterey, CA. He is on leave from the International Studies Program and the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He is the author of The Battle for Asia: From Decolonization to Globalization (2004); editor From Nation Building to State Building (2007) and co-author, with Heloise Weber, of Rethinking the Third World: International Development and World Politics (2007, forthcoming).

Douglas A Borer is Associate Professor in the Department of Defense Analysis and a member of the Center on Terrorism and Irregular Warfare at the NPS. His research has focused on the topic of political legitimacy and warfare, nation building, and strategic thought. He is the author of Superpowers Defeated: Vietnam and Afghanistan Compared (1999) and co-editor, with John Arquilla, of Information Strategy: A Guide to Theory and Practice (2007).

About the Series


THIRDWORLDS will focus on the political economy, development and cultures of those parts of the world that have experienced the most political, social, and economic upheaval, and which have faced the greatest challenges of the postcolonial world under globalisation: poverty, displacement and diaspora, environmental degradation, human and civil rights abuses, war, hunger, and disease.

THIRDWORLDS serves as a signifier of oppositional emerging economies and cultures ranging from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, and even those ‘Souths’ within a larger perceived North, such as the U.S. South and Mediterranean Europe. The study of these otherwise disparate and discontinuous areas, known collectively as the Global South, demonstrates that as globalisation pervades the planet, the south, as a synonym for subalterity, also transcends geographical and ideological frontiers.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security