Is Strategy an Illusion?

  title={Is Strategy an Illusion?},
  author={Richard K. Betts},
  journal={International Security},
  • R. Betts
  • Published 1 October 2000
  • Political Science
  • International Security
Strategy is the essential ingredient for making war either politically effective or morally tenable. It is the link between military means and political ends, the scheme for how to make one produce the other. Without strategy, there is no rationale for how force will achieve purposes worth the price in blood and treasure. Without strategy, power is a loose cannon and war is mindless. Mindless killing can only be criminal. Politicians and soldiers may debate which strategic choice is best, but… 


Questions animating this course include: Why is force often used in international politics? What causes peace? How do wars, or competitions shaped by the lurking possibility of war, affect

Irregular Enemies And The Essence Of Strategy: Can The American Way Of War Adapt?

Abstract : Can the traditional American way of war adapt so as to be effective against irregular enemies? To address this question constructively, the author is obliged to explore and explain the

Is Strategic Studies Rationalist, Materialist, and A-Critical? Reconnecting Security and Strategy

  • P. Vennesson
  • Political Science
    Journal of Global Security Studies
  • 2019
Between the 1940s and the 1960s, strategy was at the heart of security studies and closely intertwined with International Relations (IR). Over the past three decades, however, the study of strategy

Thomas Hobbes as strategist

ABSTRACT Hobbes’ relevance to the concerns of strategy has gone unappreciated. He is, after all, interested in escaping the condition of war, rather than exploiting its political utility. And yet,

Strategy, theory, and history: Operation Husky 1943

ABSTRACT In his 1987 work Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1987), Edward Luttwak described strategy as a field of activity characterised not only by an

Why the Weak Win Wars: A Study of the Factors That Drive Strategy in Asymmetric Conflict

Abstract : This thesis builds on the research and ideas of the school of thought that believes strategy is the most important factor in predicting war outcomes. One shortcoming of that school is the

After Iraq: The Search for a Sustainable National Security Strategy

Abstract : What should be the U.S. national security strategy after Iraq? An answer cannot be given unless a logically and politically prior question is posed: "What should be the purpose and

End-game : why American interventions become quagmires

Why have the major post 9/11 U.S. military interventions turned into quagmires? Despite huge power imbalances, major capacity-building efforts, and repeated tactical victories, the wars in

Looking Before You Leap: Coercive Military Interventions by Powerful States

States may fail to obtain their political objectives in military interventions because of the difficulties of ascertaining the costs of victory. However, the ways in which state leaders cope with

Principal-Agent Problems: Why War Strategy Doesn't Always Match Policy Aims 1

Policy-strategy alignment in war gives the military the best chance of accomplishing national objectives without wasting lives. Thus, ensuring military endeavors are synchronized within the nation’s



Arms and Influence

Traditionally, Americans have viewed war as an alternative to diplomacy, and military strategy as the science of victory. Today, however, in our world of nuclear weapons, military power is not so

Rationalist explanations for war

  • J. Fearon
  • Economics
    International Organization
  • 1995
Realist and other scholars commonly hold that rationally led states can and sometimes do fight when no peaceful bargains exist that both would prefer to war. Against this view, I show that under very

Man, the State, and War

Disarmament measures for small arms, light weapons and ammunition are becoming routine and widespread. For centuries, the vision of disarmament has tantalized with revolutionary possibilities to

Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace

Preface Part I: The Logic of Strategy 1. The Conscious Use of Paradox in War 2. The Logic in Action 3. Efficiency and the Culminating Point of Success 4. The Coming Together of Opposites Part II: The

Bureaucratic politics and American foreign policy: A critique

Bureaucracies, we are told, have become central to the forging and wielding of American foreign policy, but with consequences adverse to the substance of that policy.* In the words of a past critic

A History of Warfare.

He examines every branch of warfare in its history, psychology, metallurgy, genetics, logistics, archaeology, tactics and strategy...He is as much at home in the Empire of Babylon as he is on the

Perception and misperception in international politics

This study of perception and misperception in foreign policy was a landmark in the application of cognitive psychology to political decision making. The New York Times called it, in an article

The making of strategy : rulers, states, and war

Introduction: on strategy Williamson Murray and Mark Grimsley 1. Athenian strategy in the Peloponnesian War Donald Kagan 2. The strategy of a warrior state: Rome and the wars against Carthage,

"Roosevelt and the Munich crisis. A study of political decision-making", Barbara R. Farnham, New Jersey 1997 : [recenzja] / Hanna Marczewska-Zagdańska.

Franklin Roosevelt's intentions during the three years between Munich and Pearl Harbor have been a source of controversy among historians for years. This book offers both a theory of how the domestic

The foreign policy of the Third Reich

In this short outline history of Hitler's foreign policy, Professor Hildebrand contends that the National Socialist Party achieved popularity largely because it integrated all the political, economic