Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Unconventional warfare in U.S. foreign policy: U.S. support of insurgencies in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and Iraq from 1979-2001
by Linnington, Abigail T., Ph.D., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), 2013, 367; 3559052
Abstract (Summary)

In the post-World War II era, the United States has regularly supported armed and nonviolent resistance against regimes deemed hostile to U.S. national interests. Today, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) are the institutions most frequently associated with covert, clandestine, or overt support of an insurgency. Examination of the U.S. campaigns since World War II illuminates the broader roles and missions that the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and other U.S. government entities have played in the provision of moral and political support, lethal and nonlethal material support, and sanctuary to opposition groups. Due to the sensitive politico-military nature of these campaigns, decision making in and oversight of these campaigns usually resides with the statutory members and advisers to the National Security Council.

This dissertation examines the policy and strategy of U.S. campaigns in support of an insurgency or a resistance movement within another state. The central question of this research is what factors best explain the success and failure of U.S. campaigns in support of insurgencies? This study provides generalizations about how a state provides external support to an insurgency consistent with its national security goals. More specifically, it examines the U.S. historical experience to find evidence of a campaign's strategic effectiveness and determine what variables pertinent to decision making at the national level explain that effectiveness. The dissertation closes with recommendations on the policy, strategy, and implementation of unconventional warfare.

This study draws from an interdisciplinary body of literature to build a theoretical model to describe past experience and prescribe future strategy development and implementation of support to insurgencies. The model is tested against three cases: U.S. support for the Afghan mujahedin from 1979 to 1991, U.S. support to the Nicaraguan contras from 1981 to 1989, and U.S. support to Iraqi opposition groups from 1991 to 2001.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Shultz, Richard H., Jr.
Commitee: Beitler, Ruth M., Martel, William C., Pfaltzgraff, Robert L., Jr.
School: Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University)
Department: Diplomacy, History, and Politics
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 74/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: American history, International Relations, Military studies
Keywords: Afghanistan, Indirect approach, Insurgency, Iraq, Nicaragua, U.S. foreign policy, Unconventional warfare
Publication Number: 3559052
ISBN: 9781303039157
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