February 12, 2008

Peaceful Insurgency?

Kip has always been more interested in irregular warfare than insurgency, per se (just as another day he'll go into why he hates the word "counterinsurgency," even as one of its junior proponents). The success of some peaceful protest, and particularly of Ghandi in India and Solidarity in Poland provide some abject lessons on other ways that military power can occasionally be defeated. (If you have not read Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall's A Force More Powerful, I heartily recommend it as a must-read for the now-skeptical-of-Kip's-sanity 21st century counterinsurgent).

Today a peaceful protest of about 20 people erupted in Myanmar long-running conflict to restore (or inhibit from the standpoint of the government) democracy. Burma has an incredibly complex colonial history, on which Kip is insufficiently expert and on which there is insufficient space to outline. Yet in a long struggle for democracy in Burma, Kip believes the jury is still out on whether nonviolent protest will have proven the most effective means of gradual change in one of the world's most isolated countries (probably on par with North Korea)...you know you're in trouble when even China occasionally complains about your human rights record.