Strategy

Authored by: Thomas G. Mahnken

Routledge Handbook Of Defence Studies

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138122505
eBook ISBN: 9781315650463
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315650463-12

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Abstract

Strategy involves how a political actor arrays the limited resources at its disposal in space and time to achieve its aims in competition with an adversary. It is the vital link between the ends a political actor seeks and the capabilities that actor possesses. Strategy is about making force useable for political purposes. The logic of strategy applies not only in wartime, but also in peace; it is done not only by states but also non-state actors. In recent years, three broad critiques of strategy have emerged: that technology has rendered traditional notions of strategy obsolete, that the utility of strategy is limited to wars between armies and states, and that strategy itself is an illusion. Upon inspection, however, each of these arguments is based upon a flawed conception of strategy. The conduct of World War II and the Cold War demonstrate that modern democracies can be strategically effective in war and in peace.

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