The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

Mao and Current Insurgencies

There are a wide variety of insurgent groups who have operated against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. Very few, if any, have followed a Maoist strategy. Some analysists believe that this fact proves that Mao’s Revolutionary War theory is not relevant to the type of adversaries faced by the U.S. in the GWOT. Are these analysists correct?

February 17, 2012 - Posted by | H300, military history, Professional Military Education | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I don’t believe the analysts are entirely correct. Not every insurgency or revolutionary strategy works for all regions or cultures but that doesn’t make one obsolete over another. I believe that the Asian culture in Mao’s time were more tolerant to strategies that had a long time horizon for success. The Maoist strategy also relied upon a populace that was a captive society with little option but to be patient. The insurgents/terrorists that we face on the GWOT expect more immediate results because modern society conditions them for a more immediate cause/effect relationship. However, it is unreasonable to expect that other countries and cultures (specifically those predisposed to communism) would not be receptive to Maoist ideals and we therefore need to continue to be aware of the conditions that support such a revolution.

    Comment by Matthew Wilder 17D | February 21, 2012

  2. I agree that with Matthew that not every insurgency or revolutionary strategy works for all regions. The Maoist strategy indeed relied heavily on the local populace. However this was slow process and sometimes an option that required a significant amount of patience. I am not sure if having Maoist mindset would support such a revolution today or be against such ideas. This would be interesting to see its affect in regions such as Afghanistan, Syria or in Africa.

    Comment by MAJ LaShaunda Jackson 17A | February 27, 2012

  3. Mao’s theory is based off a revolution against a standing government. However, the US destroyed the standing governments in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The insurgencies developed based off a power struggle for the developing government. The second problem with analyzing the Mao theory is time. Mao’s theory of revolution is a protracted one. This means it could take 20 years for the final revolution to occur in these countries. Someone in one of these two countries may only be in their seventh year of execution and will not take power until 10 years after the US departs.
    A different question is: Can Mao’s theory be expedited through the use of social media? Can an individual or group quickly gain power and backing of a political base with social media? Does Mao’s theory apply to Libya?


    Comment by MAJ Ryan Barnett, SG17D | March 15, 2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: