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The problems facing the modern democratic state at war: a trinitarian analysis of government, armed forces and people

By Bart Schuurman


In warfare, as in any contest of strength, it seems only logical that the strong will defeat the weak. However, recent Western military history paints a very different picture. Despite vast military superiority, Western forces were strikingly unable to achieve meaningful victories against weaker opponents during the Cold War. While it may be argued that the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union kept Western states from utilizing their full military potential, the post Cold War period has not seen an improvement. The ongoing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan highlight the fact that Western states are still unable to effectively use their military superiority to attain the desired political aims. \ud This thesis aims to discover what political, military and societal factors can explain these paradoxical outcomes. It hypothesizes that a lack of understanding regarding fundamental aspects of war’s nature has been one of the prime reasons for a lack of Western military victories against weaker opponents. Although the volume of research concerned with this topic inevitably means that this work cannot claim to offer conclusive explanations nor straightforward solutions, it is hoped that readers will gain new insights, or expand existing ones, that will allow them to approach the subject of modern warfare from a revealing perspective

Topics: Letteren, military history, clausewitz, democracy, asymmetric conflicts, 1945 - present, government, armed forces, people
Year: 2009
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