The Forgotten Front: Patron-Client Relationships in Counterinsurgency by Walter Ladwig III

Walter Ladwig III (DPhil International Relations 2005) has written The Forgotten Front: Patron-Client Relationships in Counterinsurgency

After a decade and a half of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. policymakers are seeking to adopt a different approach to counterinsurgency: providing aid and advice to partner governments rather than directly intervening with American forces.  The Forgotten Front: Patron-Client Relationships in Counterinsurgency (Cambridge University Press 2017) examines the challenges that arise when a major power, in this case the United States, attempts to support the counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts of another state and explains why efforts to build the capacity of local security forces rarely achieves the desired results. Although a patron and its client are often presumed to be partners in such an endeavor, Walter Ladwig argues that the stark differences of preferences and priorities that can exist between the two means the U.S. must often give as much attention to modifying the behavior of its local partner as it does to countering the insurgents. Without some degree of reform or policy change on the part of the insurgency-plagued government, American support will have a limited impact. Using three detailed case studies - the Hukbalahap Rebellion in the Philippines, Vietnam during the rule of Ngo Dinh Diem, and the Salvadorian Civil War - Ladwig demonstrates that providing significant amounts of aid will not generate sufficient leverage to affect a client's behavior and policies. Instead, he argues that influence flows from pressure and tight conditions on aid rather than from boundless generosity.