Beyond Sticks and Carrots: Local Agency in Counterinsurgency

The British Way in Counter-Insurgency, 1945–1967
David French, New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. x + 283 pp.

Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgency
Laleh Khalili, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013. xiii + 347 pp.

Counterinsurgency—in theory and practice—has made a stunning comeback after its high point from the wars of liberation in the 1950s to the dying embers of the Iberian empires in the 1970s. While their wounds were still fresh, those episodes, whose most infamous cases include the wars of national liberation in Indonesia (1945–50), Malaya (1948–60), Kenya (1952–60), and Algeria (1954–62), were the subject of research that traced the contours of decolonization’s “dirty wars.” Much of the older research dealt with regions as a whole, or with politico-diplomatic bargaining between the colonial powers involved and their opponents, the national liberation movements.1 More recently, a new generation of scholars has added to the ever-growing body of counterinsurgency literature, which has brought the violent nature of this particular mode of warfare to the fore.2

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About Roel Frakking

is a Ph.D. researcher at the European University Institute in Florence. He holds an M.A. in international relations in historical perspective from the University of Utrecht, where he graduated with distinction. His thesis dealt with the rise and fall of the Plantation Guard during the Indonesian War of Independence. His most recent publication, entitled “ ‘Who Wants to Cover Everything, Covers Nothing’: The Organization of Indigenous Security Forces in Indonesia, 1945-50,” was published in the Journal of Genocide Research in 2012. It analyzes how a multitude of Dutch-owned security forces precluded proper command and control in that context.