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Insurgency and counterinsurgency
Frustrated by the historically inconclusive outcome of the Vietnam War, the American military has all but turned its back on the study and preparation for low-intensity conflicts and has concentrated its efforts on worst-case scenarios involving nuclear deterrence and a major war against the Warsaw Pact in Europe or Southwest Asia. The military calculated avoidance of serious study in the low-intensity arena should not have come as a surprise to knowledgeable observers. Such shadow wars have been anathema to the American military establishment for at least three decades. In the aftermath of the Korean War and before heavy combat involvement in Vietnam, the United States pinned most of its hopes on nuclear weapons in the belief (disputed by some) that atomic airpower could deter all forms of war, and, if deterrence failed, could quickly end any conflict large or small. Because atomic airpower strength lay in technology rather than massive manpower, it was relatively inexpensive -- a prime policy requirement of the Eisenhower administration.