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Strategy in the Contemporary World

Strategy in the Contemporary World (7th edn)

John Baylis, James J. Wirtz, and Jeannie L. Johnson
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date: 29 September 2023

p. 41323. Does Strategic Studies Have a Future?locked

p. 41323. Does Strategic Studies Have a Future?locked

  • Lawrence Freedman


This chapter considers whether the field of strategic studies has a future, beginning by tracing its development in universities and think tanks as traditional military patterns of thought appeared inadequate in the thermonuclear age, and how it evolved into a broad field of enquiry by the end of the cold war. The chapter then describes the ‘golden age’ of strategic studies that created a market for professionally trained civilian strategists, and examines how strategic studies had become more diffuse as the political context of international relations changed. It also explains how the study of strategy posed a particular challenge to the social sciences, and how ethical and practical difficulties created tensions between academics and policymakers. The chapter goes on to discuss elements of realism that are useful in the study of strategy, strategic studies’ focus on the role of armed force both in peacetime and in war, and future prospects for strategic studies.

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