WHAM: Winning Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan and Elsewhere

Authored by:
Thomas Henriksen
Published on 2/1/2012
Digital Only

Dr. Henriksen argues that America needs to get back to the basics of counterinsurgency lest it bankrupts itself in nation-building and reconstruction projects that are driven from the top, not the bottom.  Citing tremendously expensive “Winning Hearts and Minds” efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, he hypothesizes that “WHAM operations must be waged with much less expenditure of U.S. dollars in the years ahead.”  He offers Britain’s frugal victory in Malaya as one example of a low budget counterinsurgency success that started with protecting the people, over time formed a representative government, and linked the people and their support to that government.  Economic development was part of the strategy, but it was a supporting and complementary effort.  It wasn't a major effort in and of itself.