Government Responses to Armed Insurgency in Southeast Asia: A Comparative Examination of Failures and Successes and Their Likely Implications for the Future

by Guy J. Pauker

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This paper was originally presented at a workshop sponsored by the Regional Strategic Studies Programme of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, in December 1984. It reviews the efforts of governments of various Southeast Asian countries, newly independent following World War II, to counter Communist and/or separatist insurgencies. The leaders of these fragile new governments discovered that democratic processes were at best partial answers against armed insurgencies and had to be buttressed by military and psychological operations and by social and economic incentives. The author suggests that counter-insurgency operations are successful if military activities are blended skillfully, in the short term, with socio-economic policies that give the people hope that the future will be better than the present.

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