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Leadership winning over FARC insurgency

Reader comment on item: Must Counterinsurgency Wars Fail?

Submitted by Dan Schwartz (United States), Sep 14, 2008 at 14:20

Professor Pipes,

Looking over your list of counterinsurgencies and why they fail, I believe you overlooked an important factor: Political leadership to rally the people against the insurgency. Case in point: FARC. Under President Uribe's leadership, the Colombian insurgency has been all-but crushed. What Uribe did was to rally anger in the populace against the terrorists, and they basically said "Enough!" That, coupled with economic growth, helped knock FARC down, despite their financing from Hugo Chavez and narcotics.

I can also argue the converse: Weak leadership leads to insurgencies to begin with. Shining example Number One: Israel in 2006. Mark Steyn skewered Israel a couple years ago when he wrote it was goverened like the mythical land of Chelm (Helm).

We have an insurgency situation right over our southern border in Mexico with the drug gangs, especially around Nuevo Laredo. This situation was allowed to fester under Vicente Fox; but the new President, Philippe Calderon, has taken steps to rally popular anger against these thugs.

Yours truly,
Dan Schwartz
Sayreville, NJ

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