Democratic Counterinsurgents

How Democracies Can Prevail in Irregular Warfare

  • William Patterson

Part of the Rethinking Political Violence book series (RPV)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. William Patterson
    Pages 1-9
  3. William Patterson
    Pages 11-37
  4. William Patterson
    Pages 39-59
  5. William Patterson
    Pages 61-83
  6. William Patterson
    Pages 85-120
  7. William Patterson
    Pages 121-148
  8. William Patterson
    Pages 149-158
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 159-170

About this book


This book explores the ways in which democracies can win counterinsurgencies when they implement a proper strategy. At a time when the USA is retrenching from two bungled foreign wars that involved deadly insurgent uprisings, this is a particularly important argument. Succumbing to the trauma of those engagements and drawing the wrong conclusions about counterinsurgency can only lead to further defeat in the future. Rather than assuming that counterinsurgency is ineffective, it is crucial to understand that a conventional response to an insurgent challenge is likely to fail. Counterinsurgency must be applied from the beginning, and if done properly can be highly effective, even when used by democratic regimes. In fact, because such regimes are often wealthier; have more experience at institution-building and functional governance; are more pluralistic in nature and therefore enjoy higher levels of legitimacy than do autocracies, democracies may have considerable advantages in counterinsurgency warfare. Rather than give up in despair, democracies should learn to leverage these advantages and implement them against future insurgencies.


counterinsurgency Insurgency International Relations Violence Conflict Democratic Regimes Malaya Iraq Vietnam

Authors and affiliations

  • William Patterson
    • 1
  1. 1.Bureau of HR, Records, HR/EX/ADM/RM, MVU.S Dept of State, Mission SupportWashingtonUSA

Bibliographic information