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  • Author: J. Peter Pham, Erich Wagner, Robert G. Angevine, Kenneth H. Williams
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Advanced Military Studies
  • Institution: Marine Corps University Press, National Defense University
  • Abstract: What should be the role of the United States and other foreign powers in unstable areas of the world? gis question, which is as pertinent as it has ever been, may seem like an issue for presidents, cabinet members, and flag officers—and it is—but it also affects the military and foreign policy establishments all the way down to ground level, where junior officers, enlisted troops, and State Department/USAID personnel are engaging the local populations. Indeed, those of us who have served in a military or civilian capacity among the people in Iraq or Afghanistan will recognize many similarities in the challenges that we faced with those Robert Angevine describes that confronted the U.S. Army in the Philippines a century author quotes one Constabulary officer who noted that he “had to know not only military work, but he also had to be an executive as well as a tactful politician.” It is also important to know the local culture, including landmark historical events and how the memory of them continues to have impact. In his article on the Battle of Maiwand, fought by the British in Afghanistan in 1880, Erich Wagner quotes our current commanding officer with Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Lieutenant General Richard P. Mills, as saying that the Afghans regularly reminded him in 2010 of “the Maiwand War”and of how their ancestors had made Afghanistan the “the graveyard of empires.” As Wagner writes, and vividly details in his piece, “the memory of those times is still alive in the community.” Instability has been the order of the day in Somalia for decades now, but Peter Pham’s article offers at least some hope from the northern part of that country, which is known as Somaliland. Pham, who is widely recognized as one of the leading experts on the region and is a senior advisor to U.S. Africa Command, posits that lessons from the Somaliland experience may be applicable in other countries.
  • Topic: History, Armed Forces, Political stability, Conflict, State Building
  • Political Geography: Britain, Africa, Somalia