8. The Protean Nature of War

David Fisher

in Morality and War

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199599240
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725692 | DOI:
8. The Protean Nature of War

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Changes in the nature of warfare are traced from the 1945–89 era of strategic stability through the Balkans imbroglio of the 1990s to the advent of the new threat of global terrorism marked by 9/11. The current fashion, inaugurated by Kaldor and Smith, to talk of ‘new wars’ that have replaced industrial inter‐state war, is criticized. War is a protean monster that regularly changes its nature. It is mistaken to suppose that the latest protean mutation is the form war will henceforth take. Recent trends, including the shift from wars of necessity to wars of choice, have underlined the importance of both moral clarity on why war is being undertaken and of virtuous behaviour by all involved in its conduct. Morality not just provides a necessary external constraint on war but may also furnish both the ground for undertaking military operations and a vital internal tool for their successful conduct.

Keywords: Balkans wars; Mary Kaldor; new wars; protean nature of war; 11 September 2001; 9/11; General Sir Rupert Smith; strategic stability; terrorism

Chapter.  6157 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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