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Why do we try to use military force to solve our political problems? And why, when our forces win the military battles does this still fail to solve those problems? It is because the force lacks utility. From Iraq to the Balkans, and from Afghanistan to Chechneya, over the past fifteen years there has been a steady stream of military interventions that have not delivered on their promise for peace, or even political resolution. The Utility of Force explains this anomaly at the heart of our current international system.
Das Zeitalter der zwischenstaatlichen Kriege geht offenbar zu Ende. Aber der Krieg ist keineswegs verschwunden, er hat nur seine Erscheinungsform verändert. In den neuen Kriegen spielen nicht mehr die Staaten die Hauptrolle, sondern Warlords, Söldner und Terroristen. Die Gewalt richtet sich vor allem gegen die Zivilbevölkerung; Hochhäuser werden zu Schlachtfeldern, Fernsehbilder zu Waffen. Herfried Münkler macht die Folgen dieser Entwicklung deutlich. Er zeigt, wie mit dem Verschwinden von klassischen Schlachten und Frontlinien auch die Unterscheidung von Krieg und Frieden brüchig geworden ist, und erörtert, wie man den besonderen Gefahren begegnen kann, die von den neuen Kriegen ausgehen.
This book investigates the use and utility of military force in modern war. After the Cold War, Western armed forces have increasingly been called upon to intervene in internal conflicts in the former Third World. These forces have been called upon to carry out missions that they traditionally have not been trained and equipped for, in environments that they often have not been prepared for. A number of these ‘new’ types of operations in allegedly ‘new’ wars stand out, such as peace enforcement, state-building, counter-insurgency, humanitarian aid, and not the least counter-terrorism. The success rate of these missions has, however, been mixed, providing fuel for an increasingly loud debate on the utility of force in modern war. This edited volume poses as its central question: what is in fact the utility of force? Is force useful for anything other than a complete conventional defeat of a regular opponent, who is confronted in the open field? This book will be of much interest to students of strategic studies, war and conflict studies, counter-insurgency, security studies and IR. Isabelle Duyvesteyn is an Associate Professor at the Department of History of International Relations, Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Jan Angstrom is a researcher at the Swedish National Defence College.

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