By focusing on four specific hotbeds of instability-Somalia, Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Iraq-Richard H. Shultz Jr. and Andrea J. Dew carefully analyze tribal culture and clan associations, examine why "traditional" or "tribal" warriors fight, identify how these groups recruit, and where they find sanctuary, and dissect the reasoning behind their strategy. Their new introduction evaluates recent developments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the growing prevalence of Shultz and Dew's conception of irregular warfare, and the Obama Defense Department's approach to fighting insurgents, terrorists, and militias. War in the post-Cold War era cannot be waged through traditional Western methods of combat, especially when friendly states and outside organizations like al-Qaeda serve as powerful allies to the enemy. Bridging two centuries and several continents, Shultz and Dew recommend how conventional militaries can defeat these irregular yet highly effective organizations.
Some academics can see clearly what military generals and Pentagon civilian planners apparently cannotthat the nature of warfare has changed drastically in the past few decades. Shultz and Dew, of the Tufts University International Security Studies Program, grasp that combat involving nongovernment forces calls for innovative tactics by the U.S. military. Failing to understand the changed nature of warfare can lead to deadly consequences, the authors write, as the Iraq insurgency shows. This scholarly book is grounded in warfare theory, but is easily accessible for generalist readers. Looking at post-1990 conflicts in Somalia, Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq, "in which the armies of modern nation-states fought armed groups, often with great difficulty, in traditional societal settings," Shultz and Dew propose new taxonomies, describe the reasons nongovernment combatants wage war, and the nontraditional approaches those combatants use. Government strategists hoping to defeat these nonstate warriors must learn about the cultures and traditions of those groups rather than relying solely on how much firepower they possess, the authors argue. Helpfully moving beyond theory, they suggest ways that Pentagon policy makers and field commanders can mine historical, anthropological and cultural studies to understand shadowy enemies. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.