Cultural Distance and Counterinsurgency Outcome

University essay from Försvarshögskolan

Abstract: Analysing how counterinsurgency outcomes relate to cultural distance has never been a focus for conventional COIN literature. Despite this, cultural distance seems to be a neglected variable influencing outcomes. This thesis explores this large gap by examining how the cultural distance between insurgents and the counterinsurgents relate to outcome. Four concluded COIN campaigns are analysed, compared, and checked for causal congruence. The most crucial case is also subjected to analytical process tracing to verify the causal path and determine its plausibility. The findings are that increased cultural distance leads to COIN losses due to cultural misunderstandings and non-contextual solutions that instead of leading to a win paves the way to strategic loss. 

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