The strategy-legitimacy paradigm getting it right in the Philippines
Hastings, Jonathan P.
Mortela, Krishnamurti A.
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Political legitimacy is at the heart of any conflict or war. Based on the idea that wars cannot be won without establishing and maintaining political legitimacy, this thesis examines how the COIN strategies developed in Basilan, Bohol, and Sulu address the legitimacy problem. It also offers recommendations for developing a COIN strategy for Mindanao. The thesis uses Ted Gurr's theory of relative deprivation as a framework to explain the factors that lead a society to revolt. It also underscores the importance of providing a long-term solution to the insurgent problems by correcting the underlying issues of poverty, deprivation, and lawlessness. In Basilan, Bohol, and Sulu, the Philippine government and its U.S. allies successfully engineered what Borer describes as the "strategy-legitimacy nexus." By promoting the legitimacy of the Philippine government, the insurgent capabilities and influence were substantially reduced by isolating them from the population. Using the same framework, the three case studies demonstrate that while conditions in Mindanao are very different, the case studies offer valuable lessons. These are applied to conducting COIN in the region utilizing an Indirect Approach strategy and are based on McCormick's Diamond Counterinsurgency model that promotes legitimacy through good governance, improved security, and socioeconomic conditions.
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