The more we think about post-SHTF threats to our communities, the more concerned we become about the local police state and gang/tribal warfare. Tribal conflict arises around the world in places where the previous governing bodies vacate or simply lack authority. This power vacuum is a marquee enabler of every swinging-Richard who thinks things should be run his way.
Warlordism during peacetime is called politics. So it’s not irrational to expect warlordism to arise in communities where previous governance lacks authority or control, as political warlordism devolves into armed conflict.
And that’s why I so strongly favor counterinsurgency (COIN) as a model for community security. Legitimacy and authority come from the consent of the governed. Consent can be gained when the populace is baited with desired outcomes, or it can be gained through intimidation. Most third-world warlords rule by the stick (as opposed to the carrot); it’s through coercion that consent is gained. Anyone who’s served in Iraq or Afghanistan knows that coercion against one’s will breeds contempt and resentment, and so COIN presents us a way to capitalize on those feelings. COIN provides us a community-centric approach to overthrowing (or preventing) coercive warlords.
Carter Malkasian is the author of several books, one of which I’m reading right now (Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare). In an interview with Small Wars Journal, Carter says the following of COIN in Afghanistan: