Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Iraq, Afghanistan and British Strategy

Iraq, Afghanistan and British Strategy

Until recently, the British were considered to have an unusually high aptitude for counterinsurgency. In contrast with other major armies of the world, the British Army has a record of relative success in this form of warfare. In staff colleges worldwide when the syllabus turns to counterinsurgency it is C.E. Callwell’s work on ‘‘small wars,’’ as well as post-war quasi-doctrinal British books by the likes of Robert Thompson and Frank Kitson, that form the canon. In the words of Thomas Mockaitis:

The British Army has excelled in small-unit, antiguerrilla warfare as they did in other aspects of counterinsurgency. History had given them an army that was relatively small and decentralized and, therefore, ideally suited to such warfare.

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