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Cover Strategy in the Contemporary World

10. Geography and Strategy  

Daniel Moran

This chapter examines how geographical setting shapes the conduct of war. It first provides an overview of the ways that physical geography influences the tactical identities of armed forces as well as their strategic effects, focusing on practices that lie at the heart of ‘joint’ warfare—in which land, sea, and air forces cooperate to their collective advantage. The discussion highlights the strategic possibilities presented by warfare in different physical environments—that is, land warfare, naval warfare, and air warfare. The chapter also considers the strengths and weaknesses of forces that fight on land and sea and in the air, unconventional warfare fought on land, the maritime strategy employed by navies, theory vs practice of air power, and coercive bombing. Finally, it analyses the strategic potential of space war, the expansion of war into cyberspace, and the use of ‘cyber’ weapons in information warfare.

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3. The Evolution of Modern Warfare  

Michael Sheehan

This chapter examines how the theory and practice of war has evolved over the past two centuries. It first provides an overview of modern warfare and the transformation in the way that wars are fought. In particular, it charts the decline of limited warfare and considers the ideas of Prussian career soldier Carl von Clausewitz, along with the emergence of the Napoleonic way of war and the legacy of Napoleon Bonaparte with regard to strategy. It then discusses the impact of the Industrial Revolution on the planning for and conduct of war, focusing on the ways that weapons technology transformed both strategy and tactics. It also explores the evolution of naval warfare, how nuclear weapons ended the era of total war, and the rise of revolutionary warfare. Finally, it reflects on how the transition to postmodernity can influence war as a politico-cultural institution.

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Cover The Politics of International Law

12. War and law in the twenty-first century  

New threats and new approaches

This chapter explicates the various ways in which contemporary warfare challenges post-1945 international law on the use of force and the conduct of war. It begins by exploring the rules governing the use of force against non-state actors. This is one of the most pressing issues of the war on terror, much of which has involved military operations against terrorist groups operating from the territory of states that cannot or will not suppress their activities. In particular, campaigns by the US and several other states against ISIS in Syria have seriously undermined the international law framework governing self-defence and the right of states to have their sovereignty and territorial integrity respected. The chapter then looks at another trademark policy of the war on terror: the use of targeted killings, often carried out by unmanned drones, to eliminate suspected terrorists. It also considers a new type of warfare altogether: the emerging phenomenon of cyber warfare, which, too, has implications for both jus ad bellum and jus in bello.

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14. Conventional Power and Contemporary Warfare  

John Ferris

This chapter examines how conventional power shapes warfare in the contemporary world. It considers the present and emerging state of conventional military power, how conventional forces function in areas such as distant strike and urban warfare, and how their role differs from that of other forms of force, including terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). The chapter first provides a historical background to demonstrate the important role played by conventional power in war before discussing the rise of new world orders in 1945, 1989, and 2001. It then describes states possessing power and hyperpower, along with the revolution in military affairs and how developing countries may trump it through various strategies. It also shows how the distribution of conventional power is changing, noting that Western countries are in decline and new world powers are emerging, especially China and India.

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Cover Contemporary Security Studies

18. Economic Security  

Gary M. Shiffman

This chapter provides an economic framework for analysing and countering organized violence. Looking closely at economics as a scientific approach to understanding human behaviour provides insight into the real-life of criminals, terrorists, and insurgents. Individuals make decisions under conditions of scarcity, and markets, firms, and entrepreneurs organize much of human behaviour. Understanding these dynamics can inform how policy-makers, analysts, and operators promote security.

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1. Introduction  

Strategy in the Contemporary World

John Baylis, James J. Wirtz, and Jeannie L. Johnson

This book examines strategy in the contemporary world. Part I considers the enduring issues that animate the study of strategy and tackles topics ranging from the causes of war to questions about culture, morality, and war. Part II deals with issues that fuel strategic debates, with chapters on terrorism and irregular warfare, nuclear weapons, arms control, weapons of mass destruction, conventional military power, peacekeeping and humanitarian intervention, and cyberwar. Part III discusses critical and non-Western approaches to the study of strategy and security that have emerged in recent years, and concludes by reflecting on future prospects for strategic studies. This introduction provides an overview of strategic studies, criticisms that are made of strategic studies, and how strategic studies relates to security studies.

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11. Irregular Warfare Terrorism and Insurgency  

James D. Kiras

This chapter examines two types of irregular warfare: terrorism and insurgency. It first considers the problematic definitions given to irregular warfare, terrorism, and insurgency before discussing the theory and practice of irregular warfare. In particular, it highlights the role of time, space, legitimacy, and/or support in insurgent and terrorist campaigns. It then analyses counterinsurgency and counterterrorism in theory and practice, focusing on three important elements of successful campaigns against insurgents and terrorists, namely, location, isolation, and eradication. It also explores contemporary and future irregular threats and how they are driven by a combination of culture, religious fanaticism, and technology. Finally, it comments on the role to be played by information technology in irregular wars of the future, which some observers expect to be fought in cyberspace.

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Cover Contemporary Security Studies

22. Terrorism  

Brenda Lutz and James Lutz

This chapter examines the global threat posed by terrorism. Efforts to deal with terrorism can be considered within the framework of terrorism as warfare, terrorism as crime, and terrorism as disease. Which of these views is adopted often plays a role in determining what kinds of measures to use to counter terrorism. Terrorism is a technique of action available to many different groups; security measures that work with one group may not be effective with others. As a consequence, dealing with terrorism in today’s world can be a very complex process. The chapter first discusses concepts and definitions relating to terrorism before describing various types and causes of terrorism. It also analyses counterterrorism measures within the scope of prevention, response to attacks, international collaboration, and the effects of security. Three case studies involving the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Irish Republican Army are presented.

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4. Strategic Theory  

Thomas G. Mahnken

This chapter examines strategic theory and how it provides a conceptual understanding of the nature of war. It begins with a discussion of the logic of strategy and how it applies not only in wartime, but also in peace. It then considers some of the most valuable concepts in strategic theory as articulated by Carl von Clausewitz in On War and compares them with Sun Tzu’s ideas found in The Art of War as well as in the military writings of Mao Zedong and jihadist writers. Clausewitz’s views on war as a ‘paradoxical trinity’—composed of violence, hatred, and enmity—and his understanding of the nature of a war, limited versus unlimited warfare, the rational calculus of war, and friction are explored. The chapter concludes with a commentary on the debate over whether classical strategic theory is obsolete.

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8. Technology and Warfare  

Ryan Grauer

This chapter explores the relationship between military technology and warfare, with a particular focus on the tools and the ways they are used in conventional wars between states. There are significant technological changes afoot in military affairs, and conventional wisdom suggests that countries failing to keep pace with developments risk being relegated to the dustbin of history. However, there is reason to doubt this general claim. Militaries have always been incentivized to develop weapons and to integrate them into existing and emerging forces. As a consequence, there have been several ‘revolutions in military affairs’ throughout history and it is possible that a new one is currently under way. Technological development in the warfighting realm is not easy, however. As militaries seek to develop new tools and processes, they are constrained by a variety of factors, including national capacities, strategic culture, and strategic requirements. When they do acquire new technologies, the utility of the tools is limited by the frailty of the humans using them, their own organizational processes, and the nature of war itself. Countries that solve these problems can bolster their efficiency, effectiveness, and power in combat and so gain a decisive edge in combat over those that do not. Perfect solutions are evasive, however, and, except in cases of extreme technological disparities, tools and processes only rarely determine outcomes. The challenges of technological development persist into the present day and will continue to confound attempts to weaponize tools like artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Nevertheless, because there is significant potential in such technologies, strategists ignore them at their own peril.

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2. The History of the Practice of Strategy from Antiquity to Napoleon  

Beatrice Heuser

This chapter discusses the history of the practice of strategy from Antiquity to the First World War. After introducing the reader to the various definitions of strategy, the chapter considers sources of Antiquity about warfare, from ancient Greece and Rome to the time of Rome’s Constantinopolitan (Byzantine) successors, Justinian I and Heraclius. It then examines episodes of European history since Antiquity for which historians claim to have found evidence of the practice of strategy. In particular, it looks at the West European Middle Ages, which saw the rise of complex decision-making involving multiple tools—strategy. It also analyses the transformation of warfare and of strategy in early modern Europe, covering case studies that span the wars involving Philip II of Spain, Louis XIV of France, and Frederick II of Prussia, as well as the American War of Independence and the Napoleonic Wars.

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7. Law, Politics, and the Use of Force  

Justin Morris

This chapter examines the place of international law in international politics, with particular emphasis on whether legal constraint is effective in averting or limiting the use of force by states. It begins with a discussion of the efficacy of international law in regulating the behaviour of states, focusing on the so-called perception–reality gap in international law. It then considers various reasons why states obey the law, from fear of coercion to self-interest and perceptions of legitimacy. It also explores the role and status of breaches of international law in international politics as well as the functions of the two laws of armed conflict, namely, jus ad bellum and jus in bello. Finally, it analyses the apparent paradox of legal constraint on warfare in relation to power politics and the mitigatory effects of norms governing the conduct of war.