The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

Mao and Current Insurgencies H302

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 13, 2015 - Posted by | H300, military history, Professional Military Education | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Test

    Comment by test | February 18, 2015

  2. According to Mao Zedong, the key to conducting a successful revolutionary insurgency is following a sequential and phased approach, with three distinct lines of operation – political action, guerilla warfare, and conventional warfare. Some analysts believe that Mao’s strategy is irrelevant when applied to the type of adversaries faced by the U.S. in the GWOT. However, I believe that Mao’s strategy on an insurgency is still relevant in the current operating environment.

    ISIS, being the most prominent example, depicts several elements of Mao’s insurgency strategy. One element can be seen in the political action line. According to Mao, the political action or gaining of public support is the main effort. ISIS has been able to garner support of the population in the disenfranchised regions of Iraq and Syria, where ISIS has control. This support has allowed ISIS to escalate through the next phases of guerilla warfare and convention warfare as prescribed in Mao’s Insurgency Strategy. Without the people’s support, the guerillas would be unable to sustain their cause and operations in the follow-on phases would be short lived or non-existent. A short-lived insurgency is not the case with ISIS, who now owns territory throughout Iraq and Syria, and is engaged in conventional warfare to defend that territory.

    Comment by Alailima, SG 17B | March 29, 2015

  3. I’m surprised you write a Maoist strategy has never been followed in Afghanistan. One of the principles of Maoist strategy was to gain control of the countryside, then cut the land lines of communication between cities, towns etc. I think they used it against the Russians in the eighties (check that). Probably they could use it against Afghan government forces. I doubt it works against the modern US Army, given their ‘firepower’, they can probably cut through any attempt by insurgents to block roads etc.

    Comment by anniepani | July 19, 2015

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