conclusions:The Unpredictability of War and Its Consequences

Julian Lindley-French and Yves Boyer

in The Oxford Handbook of War

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199562930
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

conclusions:The Unpredictability of War and Its Consequences

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War is unpredictable, as are its consequences. However, it is the job of militaries to prepare for and if necessary fight and win future wars, whatever the uncertainties. Equally, the very fact that war and its consequences are unpredictable remains one of the few great constants in international relations. Therefore, history suggests that the armed forces of the great liberal democracies, whilst of course aware of the political and strategic context of their mission and the societies they serve, must ultimately be permitted to focus on one uncompromising but critical requirement — to win. Furthermore, because armed forces are, have always been, and will likely always be the last resort of the state and its possible recourse to violence as a tool of policy, it is also critical that the very nature of unpredictability and the dangers it portends are at least understood by those who lead and those who command. Unpredictability has of course many dimensions but essentially there are two upon which leaders and commanders must focus and which must drive the act of war in state policy: when war will take place and what form it will take.

Keywords: war consequences; war preparation; military preparedness; international relations; liberal democracies; violence; war policy

Article.  2448 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations

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