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Strategy in the Contemporary World: An Introduction to Strategic Studies 3rd Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The writers all refute technological determinism: new weapons - artillery in World War One, tanks in World War Two, guided missiles in the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, precision bombing and superior ground force technology in the Gulf War - were none of them unbeatable. They show that the basic principles of conducting land warfare have hardly changed in the last hundred years. Armies need to combine their arms, defend in depth, keep large reserves, use cover and concealment, and integrate movement and suppressive fire. In particular, Stephen Biddle shows that, contrary to many claims, the USAF air war in the Gulf did not destroy all the Iraqi armour. Possibly 4,100 armoured vehicles later fought the US ground forces, but they did not fight according to the basic principles, so they were beaten.
However, the editors err in dividing what they call `20th-century theories' - deterrence, arms control, terrorism and `irregular warfare' (national liberation struggles) - from the `contemporary issues' of technology, weapons of mass destruction, and humanitarian intervention. These are all still live issues. Further, the editors could have presented them in the livelier form of debates.
As with any collection of pieces by many hands, the quality is uneven, but generally the better essays are more grounded in the realities of 20th-century military history.Read more ›