Political warfare and contentious politics
Steward, Aaron L.
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This thesis examines if increased Department of Defense (DOD) involvement in political warfare (PW) is justified through a qualitative, comparative analysis of U.S. PW actions conducted by the Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency, and DOD in two Cold War cases: Italy from 1943–1948 and Chile from 1961–1973. Concepts of strategy and social movement models of Doug McAdam, Charles Tilly, and Sidney Tarrow are applied to historical PW actions, both overt and covert. The case-study analysis clarifies each agency’s conduct of PW and develops analytical tools to classify PW actions by approach and impact within the political setting. Data was collected from archives, declassified government documents, and expert analyses. Results indicate that, compared to other U.S. agencies, the DOD had a limited direct role in PW in the cases studied, but was an important enabler. In applying models of social movement theory to historical analysis, this thesis identifies and develops the contentious politics mobilization model’s potential use in planning and evaluating PW strategies.