H. de Jong
M. de Jong
- The Paradox of Leaving: Four Historical Case Studies on the Dynamics of Exit Strategies
- Book title
- Netherlands Annual Review of Military Studies 2015
- Book subtitle
- The Dilemma of Leaving: Political and Military Exit Strategies
- Pages (from-to)
- The Hague: Asser Press
- ISBN (electronic)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH)
When studying exit strategies and their (military) implications, historical parallels come to mind. Because they are full of analogies with present-day expeditionary missions, for the purpose of this book probably the most thought-provoking and informative exits are those related to the process of decolonisation. Then, as now, the fundamental question was how to manage the political and military disengagement, while safeguarding Western political and economic influence. The four cases discussed here (Indonesia 1945-1949; Malaya 1945-1960; New Guinea 1945-1962 and Vietnam 1969-1973) suggest that exits in order to retain influence are intricately paradoxical by nature. They can only be understood properly by acknowledging that such exits are shaped by the complex and often contradictory dynamics of the interaction of civilian and military actors of the sides involved and the domestic and international environments, rather than by a preconceived end-state. Adaptation and constant reconsideration are a prerequisite for success or avoiding failure.
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