Skip to content

Your Cart


You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist

The Forgotten Front
Patron-Client Relationships in Counterinsurgency

$34.99 (P)

  • Date Published: June 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316621806

$ 34.99 (P)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, Cambridge Core, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • After a decade and a half of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, US policymakers are seeking to provide aid and advice to local governments' counterinsurgency campaigns rather than directly intervening with US forces. This strategy, and US counterinsurgency doctrine in general, fail to recognize that despite a shared aim of defeating an insurgency, the US and its local partner frequently have differing priorities with respect to the conduct of counterinsurgency operations. Without some degree of reform or policy change on the part of the insurgency-plagued government, American support will have a limited impact. Using three detailed case studies - the Hukbalahap Rebellion in the Philippines, Vietnam during the rule of Ngo Dinh Diem, and the Salvadorian Civil War - Ladwig demonstrates that providing significant amounts of aid will not generate sufficient leverage to affect a client's behaviour and policies. Instead, he argues that influence flows from pressure and tight conditions on aid rather than from boundless generosity.

    • Addresses a problem of contemporary policy relevance that has been overlooked in the scholarly literature on both counterinsurgency and alliance behaviour
    • Offers counterintuitive policy recommendations for influencing local allies in counterinsurgency, providing both academic and practical insights for managing these difficult partnerships
    • Presents a vast amount of primary source material, some of which has only recently been declassified, to provide a more nuanced view of US relations with its local partners than exists in current literature
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Walter C. Ladwig III has identified one of the most vexing problems outside powers face in a counterinsurgency campaign: prodding the government afflicted by the insurgency to reform. More importantly, through the effective use of history, he has derived a way to increase the effectiveness of American assistance in counterinsurgency campaigns, with immediate implications for the ongoing campaign in Afghanistan. This work is in the best tradition of applying social science to solve real world problems.' John Nagl, lieutenant colonel, US Army (retired) and author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam

    'Clausewitz was right that war is an extension of politics, by other means. Ladwig is right that counterinsurgency support for other nations is also an extension of politics. It is not, and cannot be, a purely or even a primarily technical enterprise.' Michael O’Hanlon, Brookings Institution

    'Ladwig’s important book … shines a bright light on some of the deficiencies in counterinsurgency literature and the United States’ naiveté about its relationship with its clients.' Will Selber, War on the Rocks (

    'The book is essential reading for specialists of international relations and of strategy, as it critically examines the patron-client relationship in the context of COIN and contributes immensely to the scholarship on irregular warfare. I am hopeful that this book will pave the way for new works on other actors, for example Britain, and, especially, on contemporary conflicts, including the Syrian Civil War.' Spyridon Plakoudas, International Affairs

    'This clearly written, well-researched study brings welcome attention to the counterinsurgent government's interests and the client government's ability to resist patron pressure … more rigorous in its theoretical and empirical analysis than much other work in this area.' Parameters

    'All in all, this is an excellent and well-timed contribution. Moreover, despite being an academic work, it also is an example of the virtues of the more interdisciplinary, even subtle, approach to security studies embraced by European institutions such as King’s College. Drawing not only on well-researched history but on other social sciences such as economic theory, The Forgotten Front is refreshingly jargon-free and clearly written, thus making it an ideal study companion for readers of the Naval War College Review.' Iskander Rehman, Naval War College Review

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316621806
    • length: 360 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 150 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. A recurring obstacle
    2. Allies in counterinsurgency
    3. Inter-alliance influence
    4. America's boy? The Philippines, 1947–53:
    4.1 Crafting a strategy, 1947-50
    4.2 Implementing military and economic reform, 1950-1
    4.3 The political effort, 19513
    5. The puppet that pulled its own strings? Vietnam, 1957–63:
    5.1 The Eisenhower years, 1957–60
    5.2 The origins of the Kennedy commitment, 1961
    5.3 The illusion of progress and the end of diem
    6. The lesser of two evils? El Salvador, 1979–92:
    6.1 The Carter years, 1979–80
    6.2 The Reagan initiative, 1981–4
    6.3 Return to stalemate, 1985–92
    7. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Walter C. Ladwig III, King's College London
    Walter C. Ladwig III is an Assistant Professor in the Department of War Studies at King's College London and an Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, London. His work has appeared in International Security, the Journal of Strategic Studies, and Small Wars and Insurgencies, as well as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.