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March 1, 2008

The Political Context Behind Successful Revolutionary Movements, Three Case Studies: Vietnam (1955-63), Algeria (1945-62), and Nicaragua (1967-79)

By LTC Raymond A Millen

Author: LTC Raymond A Millen

Following the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the new world order did not bring about a closure of revolutionary warfare. In fact, the Soviet-inspired wars of liberation against imperialism have been eclipsed by reactionary, jihadist wars. By all indications in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, and Iraq, Islamic militants have embraced revolutionary warfare, although not Mao’s People’s War model. Therefore, a study of revolutionary warfare is apt because the conflict between the West and radical jihadism will continue to take place in dysfunctional, collapsing, or failed states. The author examines the political-military lessons from these conflicts and suggests that the United States should minimize the level and type of assistance to states fighting in an insurgency because these states possess greater advantages than previously supposed.

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