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Uprisings In An Age Of Uncertainty: A Look At The Potential For US Sponsored Social Movements To Achieve Reform

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Technical Report,05 Jun 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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Trends in American warfare indicate a gap between military operations in active war and military activities outside of war. Recent research identifies a space of state to state interaction that lies between diplomacy and war known as the gray zone. As state and non-state actors continue to resort to activities that threaten the interests of the United States but remain below the threshold of US commitment to military intervention, other options become necessary. Unconventional warfare, an option to disrupt, coerce, or replace an existing regime, is an activity executed historically in this gray zone. Due to its very nature, it lies in the spectrum nearer to war. But what options are available that lie nearer to diplomacy This monograph seeks to show that there can also be an option which leans closer to peace, a gray zone activity which provides space for policy and diplomacy. It argues that by exploiting vulnerabilities that exist within a target state, the United States can leverage a specific group or groups within that state to rise against a targeted policy or individual and enact moderate change through social movement for the sake of United States interests. This monograph generates a hypothesis of a specific type of activity called targeted collective action, which can capitalize on vulnerabilities during peace time with the purpose of enacting a social movement aimed at reform-oriented change for the sake of US interests through persuading andor co-opting existing organizations. The Arab Spring provides countries impacted by social movements with variable outcomes. This phenomenon allows substantial case studies for analysis to test the facets of targeted collective action.

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