The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

H302: Its the Economy Stupid… Comrade!

Maoist revolutionalry war theory puts the priority of effort on the political line of operations. Our experience with our own domestic politics indicates that the key to successful politics is the economy. Therefore… maybe:

COIN = Politics

Politics = Economy

.’. COIN = Economy


Consider this:  Do populations whose economic aspirations are being met ever revolt?

March 16, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Dr. DiMarco makes a good argument in the above. When a nation is prospering economically, the people will likely be satisfied provided there are plenty of jobs and the ability to buy goods and services. But it is extremely more likely for a population to rise up against the government when it is the other way around. The irony in this is that communism is its base form preaches equal distribution for the masses whereas once instituted is likely to make situations as worse or worse than they were in the beginning. Therefore the people recruited to overthrow the government are essentially making themselves worse off by doing so. Is it possible that communism will ultimately collapse as an ideology over time? How many lessons do the former Soviet Union have to offer on this topic?

    Comment by Justin Reddick | March 16, 2017

  2. Using America as an example of a people who have their economic needs met, I would have to say there hasn’t been nor will there be a revolt. A revolt is a highly emotionally charged event that needs to build up momentum over time. There needs to be mass injustice to spark the interest to revolt. But, when the economic needs are being met the need to revolt does not exist. This links to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The basic levels are easily met through strong economics. Compared the other countries Americans have a far easier daily life, not many people are concerned where their next meal is coming from. Until the basis of the hierarchy becomes an issue, there is no revolt.

    Comment by Jeffery Hoover | March 16, 2017

  3. Several years ago, a state department representative appeared on a cable news segment and declared that if the US could simply “give terrorists jobs,” the violent extremist problem would go away in Iraq and Syria. She was widely criticized by many for her remarks.

    While perhaps not elegantly stated by her, I believe the idea behind her comment is absolutely valid. People who can provide for their families and enjoy life typically will not have enough incentive to violently revolt. However, COIN strategy cannot simply aim to establish these conditions against adversaries because of two inconvenient truths that surround the idea that “economy is king” and therefore should be the focus of COIN. First, promoting and establishing the type of free-market economic conditions in foreign countries may often undermine our own economic interests at the same time. America sets the conditions for economic markets around the world in many cases because we have the power and will to do so (where other countries cant)…surrendering this power to others as part of a COIN strategy to bolster a foreign land will come with a price…and lets not forget that economic interests often undergird our intervention in a country to begin with (its about OUR interests…not the host nation). Second, as Jared Diamond points out in his book “Collapse,” there simply are not enough resources on the planet for every single person to enjoy a 1st world life-style. This inconvenient truth points to the limits of implementing a COIN strategy where COIN = ECONOMY

    Comment by Scott Harr | March 17, 2017

  4. While I intent to agree with all the comments above there is an element that needs to be consider when looking at developed countries. The human factor is inconsistent by nature and therefore unable to quantify when enough resources are enough based on insecurities and character flaws. I am not trying to be dismissive of the concept that while resources are available people are satisfied and therefore probably unlikely to revolt against their government. However, the housing crisis was created by entities in a quest to mass greater financial gains. Now that being said, the U.S. was never in danger of civil instability (COIN=Economy). But less stable countries like Greece, as an example, came close to implosion because of wrongful economic policies (Economy=Politics) based on high lending and an aging population. The analysis of Greek’s economy from 2008 to 2016 shows an unprecedented evidence for a developed country that was not in a military conflict or afflicted by a natural disaster that entered in an internal civil crisis. This is even more troublesome when you consider Greek as a part of a large system such as the European Union which stated to become frail as individual economies felt the decline in global economy. To Dr. Dimarco’s point, populations that are economically pleased are less likely to revolt but this is not an absolute concept.

    Comment by Diego Alvarado | March 25, 2017

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: