Civilianising warfare: ways of war and peace in modern counterinsurgency

Colleen Bell
Content Type
Journal Article
Journal of International Relations and Development
Issue Number
Publication Date
July 2011
Central and East European International Studies Association
This article examines the emergence of counterinsurgency doctrine in Coalition interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. While counterinsurgency is complimentary to the tenets forwarded by its classical military predecessors in several respects, the article shows that it is also more than a refashioning of conventional military practice. Counterinsurgency is intimately tied to institutional practices that shape global liberal governance. It can be traced to dominant trends in international humanitarian, development and peace interventionism since the end of the Cold War and it deepens the links between the social development of war-affected populations and the politics of international security. Rather than simply a shift in military practice, counterinsurgency is distinguished by its investment in civilian modes of warfare. Counterinsurgency retells the narrative of intervention as part of the evolution of political and economic liberalisation, marking a passage from interventionary force to post-interventionary governance. Modern counterinsurgency, it is concluded, exposes the widening indistinction between contemporary modes of peace and those of war in international relations.
International Relations, Cold War, Economics, War, Counterinsurgency, Governance
Political Geography
Afghanistan, Iraq