Studying Soviet Low-Intensity Conflicts
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL AIRPOWER RESEARCH INST
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Almost all of the wars currently occurring in the world are low- intensity conflicts. Much of the available literature on low-intensity conflict either openly or implicitly renounces any US ability to participate in such wars, presumably even where vital interests are threatened, and decries our seemingly inherent conceptual and institutional incapability to prepare for such wars. The superpowers shared learned incapacity in low-intensity wars, and their failure to ponder their mutual experiences, is a great source of danger. Any really sound grasp of the military and political dimensions of contemporary insurgencies or counterinsurgence can derive only from such a comparative perspective. Thus we must ask what we can learn from the extensive experience of Soviet conduct of such wars. These analyses should also pertain to Soviet military doctrine, force structures, and foreign policies. It seems short- sighted to ignore Moscows experiences. To the extent that both sides heed the importance of being indigenous and are not so eager to increase the stakes in a vain guest for influence, prestige, and power, they may facilitate peaceful solutions at the lowest levels rather than the highest ones. Failure to consider both US and Soviet histories of such conflicts not only means repeating the past by precipitating direct conflicts, such failure can also foreshorten our future.
- Defense Systems
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics