Revolutions Without Guerrillas

by Jeffrey D. Simon

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For many years, U.S. thinking about Third World conflicts has focused on guerrilla warfare. However, another type of "low-intensity" conflict is emerging as a critical issue for the United States to address. Revolutions without guerrillas have created a global environment that will demand increasing U.S. attention in the years ahead. Among the developments contributing to this environment are growing popular challenges to the legitimacy of authoritarian regimes, rising ethnic-religious and nationalistic aspirations, and economic grievances, some of which are aggravated by a deteriorating external debt situation. The author suggests that the diversity in the countries that are experiencing revolutions without guerrillas and the consequences that U.S. action or inaction can have ensure that no single doctrine or policy stance will be consistently appropriate for addressing these contingencies.

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