GPIS Dissertation Defense

Old Dominion University

College of Arts and Letters

The Graduate Program in International Studies


Doctoral Dissertation Defense


William R. Patterson


Can Democracies Win Counterinsurgencies?


This dissertation focuses on the question of whether democracies can win counterinsurgency conflicts by examining the arguments on both sides.  This is done first by a conceptual analysis of the arguments and secondly by an examination of three case studies: Malaysia, Vietnam, and Iraq.  This analysis demonstrates that the arguments against the ability of democracies to win counterinsurgencies is not as strong as many scholars currently believe.  Secondly, this research demonstrates that a population-based, culturally-informed, counterinsurgency strategy provides a plausible avenue of victory for democratic states faced with insurgencies.  Though such a strategy cannot guarantee success, the more closely it is followed the more likely success will be.


Committee Chair:              Dr. Kurt Taylor Gaubatz

Committee Members: Dr. David Earnest

                                  Dr. William Brenner




8009 Batten Arts and Letters Building

December 4, 2013

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

* Patterson flyer.docx  (15.9 KB)

Posted By: Margo Stambleck
Date: Mon Nov 25 09:27:12 EST 2013