The Direction of War: Contemporary Strategy in Historical - download pdf or read online

By Sir Hew Strachan

ISBN-10: 1107047854

ISBN-13: 9781107047853

The wars for the reason that 11th of September, either in Iraq and Afghanistan, have generated frustration and an expanding feel of failure within the West. a lot of the blame has been attributed to bad technique. In either the us and the uk, public enquiries and defence imagine tanks have detected a scarcity of constant path, of powerful verbal exchange, and of governmental coordination. during this vital ebook, Sir Hew Strachan, one of many world's prime army historians, unearths how those mess ups resulted from a basic misreading and misapplication of process itself. He argues that the wars seeing that 2001 haven't in truth been as 'new' as has been commonly assumed and that we have to undertake a extra historic method of modern method to be able to determine what's quite altering in how we salary warfare. If struggle is to fulfil the goals of coverage, then we want first to appreciate struggle.

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Additional info for The Direction of War: Contemporary Strategy in Historical Perspective

Example text

And so it focused on finding a new methodology, building scenarios and borrowing from mathematics and probability theory. Indeed methodology itself seemed on occasion to be the rason i d'etre of strategic thought. Nuclear strategy abandoned the focus on victory. It was, in the opinion of one French commentator, 'astrategic'. 3 8 Another Frenchman, General Andre Beaufre, demonstra­ ted in his Introduction to strategy, first published in 1963, the impasse which strategy had reached. War, he declared, was total, and therefore strategy must be total.

However, in doing so, they still accepted the superstructure of the Cold War and the final arbitration of nuclear deterrence, and so con­ tinued to allow strategy to be a synonym for policy. When generals now thought about war, they called it 'operational art', although at one level it was no more than a reiteration of classical strategy. Its obvious prod­ uct, 'manoeuvre warfare', drew a reasonably straight line from Napoleon at Marengo or Jena to Norman Schwarzkopf in the first Gulf War. Two major deficiencies have, however, increasingly dogged the dominance of operational thought in military doctrine.

Even the application of over­ whelming military force by one side against another is 'asymmetric'. 'Symmetrical warfare' was a product of the Cold War, of the absence of war: it is what armies do in their peacetime imaginations, when they compare a putative enemy's capability with their own and then convert their conclusions into demands for fresh equipment in the defence budget. The popular belief that 'asymmetric war' is new is therefore a reflection of the way in which peacetime norms have shaped the under­ standing of strategy.

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The Direction of War: Contemporary Strategy in Historical Perspective by Sir Hew Strachan


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