CSM reports on a RAND study by Ben Conable and Martin Libicki of 89 major insurgencies in the 20th century and early 21st, and what they might tell us about the likelihood of Obama succeeding in Afghanistan.
Connable found that weak governments prevail militarily against insurgencies only 10 percent of the time.
Among the findings are that modern insurgencies go on for about a decade, and the longer they continue the more likely it is that the government will find a way to defeat them.
Where an insurgency has external state support, loss of that outside help is often fatal to the uprising.
Where the government attempting to face down the insurgency claims to be a democracy, in those instances where it is really only a pseudo-democracy it often proves unable to defeat its foe.
Where the insurgency has a safe area to which it can retreat at will, that external base of operations helps it prevail.
Where insurgents can learn to be careful not to kill innocents, they have a better chance of coming to power.
The Taliban and other Afghan insurgents look like winners in this scenario.
It seems clear that NATO is planning a withdrawal. Although abandoned governments often fall, so too do those perceived as puppets.
You couldn’t have a more pseudo-democracy than that in Afghanistan. The president, Karzai, stole the presidential elections last August-October. The ministries are inefficient and riddled with corruption.
Based on this historical study, you’d have to admit that things don’t look good for Obama’s grand toss of the dice in Afghanistan.