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A Great Perhaps? Colombia: Conflict and Convergence

Published 17 November 2015

Acclaim for A Great Perhaps? Colombia: Conflict and Convergence

“This book not only explains the steps the Colombian government has taken in its search for peace and prosperity, but highlights the areas where international co-operation can extend this model and its success. I recommend it to all engaged in what I see as the responsibility of my generation: ending conflict, ensuring stability and promoting development.”

Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

“A Great Perhaps? explains the drivers behind the success of Colombia's recent transformation: better governance and improved security. By illustrating the importance of local ownership of both the problem and the solution, and the role to be played by foreign partners, this volume is a handbook for those countries intent on dealing with problems of insecurity and violence.”

General Richard Myers (rtd), former Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff

“Colombia is a valuable analogue for those African and other countries engaged in the struggle to extend governance while meeting the often linked threats of criminality and political insurgency. A Great Perhaps? makes a unique contribution to explaining this hitherto relatively unknown campaign. It should be read widely, not least since it shows what is possible with dollops of leadership, application, vision, organisation and energy.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya

“To understand how centuries-old grievances can burst into violence, and the ways to resolve violent conflict while preserving the ethical foundation of democracy, I encourage everyone interested in guerrilla warfare in the modern world to read and savour this book, and to ponder its implications.”

Ambassador Juan-Carlos Pinzon, former Minister of Defence, Colombia

No country has managed as rapid and positive a turnaround in governance and security conditions this century as Colombia. A Great Perhaps? explains the drivers behind the success of Colombia's recent transformation.

In 1999, FARC and ELN rebels were at the gates of Bogot√°, and Colombia was a country synonymous with the antics of Pablo Escobar, known for rapacious corruption, weak government, drug smuggling and criminality. Fifteen years later the guerrillas, seriously weakened, have been persuaded to attend peace talks in Havana, and the Colombian economy had been a top performer in Latin America.

This book explains the steps the Colombian government has taken to manage such a rapid and positive turnaround, written by four international specialists with policy and practical expertise in counterinsurgency campaigns in Colombia and elsewhere.

To date, there has been no comprehensive examination of the different elements employed by the government to combat the guerrillas, win local and international political and military support, extend government authority to the 75 per cent of the countryside where it was seldom felt, and turn the Colombian economy around.

Based on field-work in Colombia's regions, the book provides a history of the conflict, compares it to other historical and contemporary case-studies, examines the war from the perspectives of the government and the guerrillas, delves into the development of special Colombian capabilities (notably in intelligence and the use of airpower and special forces), and explains the economic dimension in terms both of historical exclusion and ongoing attempts at growth and inclusion. Finally, it concludes with an assessment of the country's prospects.

Hurst Publishers | 12 November 2015 | Hardback | 230pp | £30 | ISBN: 9781849046282


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