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  • Author: Kai Chen
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The history of mercenaries can be tracked back to the Greek mercenaries that fought for the Persian Empire during the early classic era. The decades after World War II have witnessed the re-emergence of mercenaries around the world. It's worth noting that academia pays little attention to mercenaries involved in asymmetric conflicts, and leaves several critical questions unanswered. So how do we measure the outcome of the asymmetric conflicts involving mercenaries? Why do some mercenaries prevail in front of materially superior opponents, while other mercenaries fail? Are there any testable theoretical explanations for predicting mercenaries' military performance in future asymmetric conflicts? In Mercenaries in Asymmetric Conflicts, Scott Fitzsimmons provides well-supported answers to the questions above, explores the causal relations between military culture and effectiveness, and highlights that culturally-determined military effectiveness has more influence on mercenaries' military performance in asymmetric conflicts than the materially-determined military effectiveness.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution
  • Political Geography: Persia
  • Author: Rebecca Jensen
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The historians of the Annales School developed an approach that emphasized long-term regional histories based upon social structures and worldviews, in part because they believed the narrowness of political and diplomatic history to be reductive. The first half of Mike Martin's An Intimate War: An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict, adapted from his doctoral research at King's College and drawing on his experience as an army officer in Afghanistan, evokes this approach, while the second half explores how the absence of such a grounding in the local dynamics of Helmand province resulted in a profound misunderstanding of parties to the conflict and their goals, and thus a flawed and sometimes counterproductive approach to military and political efforts there. An Intimate War makes a solid argument that the narratives driving the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) were largely mistaken, and that misperception accounted for poor policy and misguided operations; it also raises questions for future research, including why organizations and individuals adopted and hewed to inadequate models, and implicitly how this might be avoided in future military engagements.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War
  • Political Geography: London