Ancient Roman Empire, Revolutionary France, And The Late 20th / Early 21st Century

Ancient Roman Empire, Revolutionary France, And The Late 20th / Early 21st Century

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Over the past few millennia, warfare has evolved. Counterinsurgent operations, though, have not evolved nearly as much. In fact, the historical trend is that counterinsurgent operations backtracked for a long period before becoming more dynamic once again. This paper will examine three different eras dominated by strong actors (the Ancient Roman Empire, Revolutionary France, and the late 20th/early 21st centuries focusing on the United States) and the defining characteristics of their counterinsurgent operations. Then it discusses internal issues states have in confronting insurgent groups. Finally, the contributing factors to insurgencies – political, social, and economic issues – are discussed and alternative courses of action are proposed.
Ancient Roman Empire
The Ancient Roman Empire saw its fair share of revolts against its rule. Tal Tovy, professor of history at Bar-Ilan University in his Small Wars Journal article “They Make a Solitude and Call it Peace’ Counterinsurgency – The Roman Model”, describes the four different ways which the Romans used to deter or quell uprisings. The four methods – widespread deployments of the Roman army throughout the empire, military suppression, Romanization, and creating dependent client kingdoms – show the dynamic nature of Ancient Rome’s counterinsurgent operations. The first two, deployments of Roman legions and military suppression, are not new approaches to countering insurgencies. By deploying legions throughout its empire, Rome looked to expand and protect its imperial borders. Part of Rome’s reputation stemmed from its use of overwhelming use of force to suppress those that opposed its rule. Rome used force to create stability within its realm and instill fear in those populations...


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...separating, isolating, influencing, and reintegrating populations and individuals that are likely to turn to insurgency shows an understanding of the prerequisite forces (political, economic, and social) that create insurgencies.
Additionally, the FM 3-24 recognizes that insurgencies happen in phases based on an area’s current conditions. This is significant because it shows an understanding of Mao Tse-Tung’s On Guerilla Warfare, which describes two of the three phases as preparatory and non-violent ones leading up to the violent, third phase. Besides demonstrating a knowledge of the phases of guerilla warfare, FM 3-24 recognizes that insurgencies revolve around the idea of flexibility. Consequently, counterinsurgent operations need to use the indirect methods according to the current phase of insurgency an area or population is experiencing for the most success.

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