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The Art of Creating PowerFreedman on Strategy$
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Benedict Wilkinson and James Gow

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190851163

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190851163.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 October 2021

Uncomfortable Visions

Uncomfortable Visions

The Rise and Decline of the Idea of Limited War

(p.29) 2 Uncomfortable Visions
The Art of Creating Power

Jan Willem Honig

Oxford University Press

This chapter interrogates strategy and warfare, in particular the themes of ‘limited war’ and influence. It argues that war is what we and our militaries make of it, paraphrasing Alexander Wendt’s constructivist version of anarchy in international society. The notion of ‘comfortable’ and ‘uncomfortable’ wars is explored. ‘Comfortable’ refers to the way societies and militaries accept the idea of war that is very violent and for national survival, or some other ‘necessary’ reason. In contrast, the idea of limited war with limited means as a way of influencing enemies and opponents proves to be ‘uncomfortable’ because it does not fit the prevailing intellectual and cultural template – to say nothing of the practical issues that many limited wars have faced, from Vietnam to the twenty-first century. That reinforces the constructed character of warfare and the salience of interaction and interrelationships, bounded by the realities of physical and social force

Keywords:   Warfare, Limited War, Comfortable War, Uncomfortable War, Strategy, Alexander Wendt

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