Unconventional Warfare in U.S. Foreign Policy: U.S. Support of Insurgencies in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and Iraq from 1979-2001.
Abstract: 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 th... read moree 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&rsquos 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.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2013.
Submitted to the Dept. of Diplomacy, History, and Politics.
Advisor: Richard Shultz, Jr..
Committee: Ruth Beitler, William Martel, and Robert Pfaltzgraff, Jr..
Keywords: International relations, and Military studies.read less