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September 09, 2008



Didn't Ken Livingstone use to propose a Resistance model years ago as a non-aggressive alternative to NATO and the nuclear deterrent? I rather agreed with him then, and still do.


The problem is that you have to prove that it works by being invaded and giving the invaders a horrible time first, giving yourself a horrible time in the process. No one knows you're poison until they eat you.


That's so for the worth of any army, though, is it not?

Nick L

The problem with any 'resistance' model is that populations fighting guerilla wars normally incur much greater costs than their enemies. This means it is only really feasible when there is no other option and the populace is totally dedicated to ousting the invader, as in Vietnam. The other problem is if the enemy doesn't plan on long term invasion and just wants to inflict crippling damage. Whilst you are hiding in the hills with your AK, they can happily flatten your cities and cart off your tractors.


you basically need to be pretty confident that your enemy isn't genocidal; if this "Hezbollah model" was instead referred to as the "Darfur model" of resistance I doubt it would be as popular.

Martin Wisse

Also, the Hezbollah method worked largely because the Israeli army was loath to risk its troops once it became clear fighting its way through South Lebanon would not be as easy as it was in '82.

Martin Wisse

Nor does this model work if, you know, you actually want to invade seccessionist areas protected by the resident superpower.


The problem with any 'resistance' model is that populations fighting guerilla wars normally incur much greater costs than their enemies.

Such is true of any side that gets successfully invaded: and indeed of any side where the would-be invaders decide it would be cheaper from a manpower point of view to flatten their cities instead. Having a regular army doesn't necessarily do much for you if the other side is substantially stronger, and history is full of regular armies that lost. Which means you very often end up with the resistance model anyway, no?

I think there's a case for cutting out the "getting beaten" stage, although I agree that among my reasons is that this way we also cut out the potential of the armed forces for going and forcing other populations to exercise their resistance models. Which has, of course been historically (as it is contemporaneously) almost the entire role of the UK armed forces.

I also like this model.

Chris Williams

A resistance model creates an embryo people's army which might decide to mobilise _before_ they get the codeword from the regional seat of government. This might be in a good way (Barcelona 1936, Wintringham et al), or in a bad way (Gladio). After what happened in the summer of 1941, I'm a little reluctant to arm Balts to the teeth, unless their Russian neighbours are also getting their own guns. Which is unlikely, seeing as they are denied full citizenship rights. B Specials, anyone?

There's an article somewhere or other about how in the 1920s the Irish army took up the regular model, rejecting the resistance one which had served them so well. Perhaps O'Duffy went for that on the basis that he already had enough headaches with an insurgency, and wanted his troops lined up in barracks where he could keep an eye on them.


When people talk about Hezbollah at the moment, they usually mean the war of 2006 rather than 1982-2000, which is a flaw in the argument.


The upside of having somewhat capable regular forces instead of a guerrilla army is that you are able to repel, or rather deter, limited violations of your sovereignty -- forcing even a much stronger neighbor to either treat you with some minimal respect, or prepare a full assault to get away with his petty harrassment, which he will not normally want to do. This is stuff like overflights, force buildups, border skirmishes, blockades, and so on, all intended by the local hegemon to point out that you're his bitch and should act like it if you want to lead a decent life. (Witness the Israel-Lebanon relationship between wars; also witness how Hizbullah has spent a lot of effort trying to build its very non-guerrilla missile stock into a balance-of-terror weapon, to simulate the effect of having a credible regular army.)

Such minor but persistent violations and pressures to undermine the government is what will be Georgia's likely problem from now on, if they can avoid being invaded again (which would presumably settle the debate in favor of the guerrilla defense). Having lots and lots of swarming guerrillas will not help them one iota in that situation, but stiff air defenses and border patrols will.


They might. From the UK point of view I'm really not in favour of armed forces whose major purpose is overseas intervention, which is most of them. I'm also not much in favour (in any situation) of a defence policy which involves calling to one superpower for aid against another, for an anlysis of the outcome of which policy I recommend William Tenn's The Liberation of Earth.

Chris Williams

Suck air! Suck air!

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