"Nagl, once called the Johnny Appleseed of COIN, who reveled in his role as face man, tutoring reporters with practiced bookish charm on the “the new way of war,” and burnishing his personal story to convince everyone that he was a counter-insurgent before his time — a modern T.E. Lawrence — is packing up for good. Turns out that despite all the high hopes, the COINdinistas hit the brass ceiling with a smack, especially once it became clear that the magic they sold was a bag of beans. Among them is Michele Flournoy, who in 2007 founded The Center for a New American Security, the COIN-inspired, Democratically-charged think-tank which would become a feeder of the Obama administration. Flournoy was appointed Under Secretary for Defense Policy and the highest-ranking woman at the Pentagon in 2009. But not long after Obama appointed Leon Panetta — a career politician and bureaucrat, not a COINdinista — to Secretary of Defense, she left, citing family reasons. Her anticipated rise to Defense Secretary was thwarted as counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan, thanks to Commander Petraeus and COIN disciple Gen. Stanley McChrystal, became a huge albatross around the President’s neck." American Conservative
I debated this guy on the prospect of COIN success in Afghanistan. That was three years ago in NY City. This was a creepy "debate" in the IQ2 series. IMO the audience was stacked, the moderator understood the desired outcome and our side (Steve Clemons, Ralph Peters and I) lost by a small margin. The transcript is on the blog somewhere. I recommend that you read the unedited transcript.
After the debate I told Nagl over a drink that I was a practitioner of COIN in the 20th Century with a lot more resources than he would ever get. The efforts then pretty much failed as he would fail and he should get off the boat before it sank. He waved me off. Now he is done, finished. Good.
COIN was/is a colonial doctrine for putting down revolts in countries or colonies that one OWNS. The inputs in time, money and blood are too high to be borne on any other basis. pl