Institutional Scholarship

Cooperation in Counterinsurgencies: Examining the Uneven Partnership of a Host Nation and a Foreign Power.

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dc.contributor.advisor Mendelsohn, Barak, 1971- McGettigan, Andrew 2019-04-05T14:43:46Z 2019-04-05T14:43:46Z 2018
dc.description.abstract The purpose of this thesis was to identify a viable explanation for the presence or absence of cooperation within a counterinsurgency partnership between a host nation and a foreign power. Before the completion of this thesis, no scholar has exclusively focused on the question of counterinsurgency cooperation. This thesis intended to build a nascent theoretical framework to explain cooperation between counterinsurgency partners. The thesis chose to specifically focus on the cooperative relationship between a strong foreign nation and a weak host nation because it is a common type of counterinsurgency partnership in the modern security environment, and because explaining cooperation across a range of different counterinsurgency partnership dynamics was too large of a task for a single study. Four hypotheses for effective and ineffective cooperation between a host nation and a foreign power were presented in the thesis. The first hypothesis was that a build-up of trust between the host nation and the foreign power positively affects cooperation. Under this hypothesis, greater trust between counterinsurgency partners would increase the willingness on both sides to mutually align preferences in order to achieve mutual benefits. In political behavior and international relations literature, trust between actors was found to be associated with shared characteristics, which is why this thesis selected cultural similarity as one of the sub-variables that could be explanatory of more or less trust between counterinsurgency partners. The three main indicators for cultural similarity were shared ethnicity, shared faith, and value sharing. Insurgent disruption was the other identified sub-variable. Insurgent disruption’s relation to trust was determined from literature on counterinsurgency where counterinsurgency actors were found to lose morale and the will to cooperate through the stagnation of the security environment and the prevalence of insider attacks. The three main indicators for insurgent disruption were green on blue violence, green on green violence, electoral violence, and overall foreign power casualties. The second hypothesis was that a stronger host nation chain of command positively affects cooperation, meaning that more cooperation will be expected given greater institutional control on the part of the host nation. The thought process here was that a weak chain of command would result in the inability to execute the mutual adjustment of preferences that may have been agreed upon at the administrative level. There were no sub-variables for chain of command, and the indicators for chain of command were corruption levels, government legitimacy, and desertion rates. The third hypothesis for cooperation was that strategic preference closeness between the host nation and the foreign power positively affects cooperation. Strategic preference closeness was assessed by identifying how unharmonious preferences of the host nation and the foreign power were, via a counterfactual analysis where stated preferences were 100% manifested in state behavior. In this hypothesis, it was expected that mutually closer preferences in regard to the means of executing the counterinsurgency would make it easier to mutually adjust preferences since compromising would be less difficult. The fourth hypothesis for cooperation was that the absence or de-emphasis of a patron client relationship between the host nation and a foreign power positively affects cooperation. A patron client relationship is a different cooperative relationship that relies on an exchange of autonomy for aid. However, the exchange of autonomy in the patron client relationship conflicts with the goal of building competent sustainable host nation institutions within the counterinsurgency relationship. Indicators for the existence of a parallel patron client relationship between the host nation and the foreign power were the construction or continued activity of foreign power oversight organizations, and stipulations that erode autonomy of the host nation within legal cooperative agreements. Hypotheses were tested in a single case study of the counterinsurgency partnership between Afghanistan and the United States from 2003-2014. Since only one case study was used throughout the thesis, the case was divided into three time frames in order to achieve a more comparative analysis: 2003-2006, 2007-2010, and 2011-2014. Cooperation was assessed in three sectors according to the three pillars of counterinsurgency identified by David Kilcullen. These pillars are Security, Politics, and Economics. For each sector, a qualitative analysis combined with a simple empirical scoring method was used to assess the cooperative relationship in each sector of counterinsurgency through each of the three time frames. Cooperation was scored from (0-2), with 0 corresponding to no cooperation, 1 corresponding to some cooperation, and 2 corresponding to strong cooperation. An overall qualitative methodological approach was also used to assess the independent variables and indicators associated with the hypotheses. However, there were some quantitative aspects of this section of the analysis as well, such as Afghan National Army desertion rates, and American casualties from each year of the war (part of the chain of command hypothesis and trust building hypothesis respectively). The results of the study reject the trust building hypothesis and strategic preference hypothesis, partially reject the chain of command hypothesis, and accept the patron client hypothesis as explanatory of observed cooperation. The sub-variables associated with the trust building hypothesis actually appeared to increase efforts on the part of the United States to cooperate, and generally acted as barriers to success of the overall counterinsurgency, rather than impeding the cooperative relationship in a significant manner. Alternatively, the parallel patron client relationship in Afghanistan was used to accelerate counterinsurgency success, particularly in the first time frame of the case study, but damaged long-term cooperation by creating Afghan institutions that relied on U.S. funding and leadership. These institutions undermined their own ability to act as independent institutions in order to maintain the aid for autonomy exchange of the patron client relationship, contributing to observed cooperative failures within the counterinsurgency partnership.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Political Science
dc.language.iso eng
dc.title Cooperation in Counterinsurgencies: Examining the Uneven Partnership of a Host Nation and a Foreign Power.
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Dark Archive until 2023-01-01, afterwards Haverford users only.

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