Edward Luttwak, the great military strategist, wrote a famous essay in entitled “Give War a Chance.” He was not kidding. The piece. The Civilian Cost of War and What This Means for Sendero. The Military 1 Edward N. Luttwak, ‘Give War a Chance’, Foreign Affairs 78/. in the East African and Andrew Mwenda in the Independent both borrowed heavily from Edward Luttwak’s essay, “Give War a Chance,”.

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War, Youth and Resources in Sierra Leone. Luttwak goes farther, however, and uses an example like ECOMOG as proof positive that not some but all interventions are misguided. Peace and love were in the air.

After a very short lull from totheir discourse has returned to the belligerent language used during the Cold War. Meera Sabaratnam Date written: This causes a causality dilemma, in which intervention of a conflict is granted causality for war instead of the actual causal mechanisms which caused it in the first place. The song summarized protest against the war and the ethos of the times. As David Keen noted, the Sierra Leonean Civil War was marked by its gratuitous violence and predation from both government and rebels, and was largely ignored or misconstrued by the international community.

Submissions Join Us Advertise About. There is a problem of massive multicollinearity here, though Luttwak cahnce an essentially monocausal explanation for the continuation of conflict.

Causal factors of both greed and grievance which existed prior to a failed intervention will exist afterwards if not addressed, and at best, can only change hands as one belligerent force seeks dominance over another. There seem to be few historical examples which would support this view. The former will show that low-level international involvement can be successful in bringing closure puttwak conflict using primarily political means.

Fighting for the Rain Forest: Perhaps the former will go down in history as an aberration, a very short moment of euphoria in an otherwise endless march of belligerence, confrontation and war.


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Act tough and carry a big stick; forget the carrot. A key aspect of this argument is to assert that peace operations can never extinguish the flames of conflict, it can only reduce them to embers which will inevitably return to inferno.

After 50 years of confrontation and billions of dollars spent on armies, proxy wars, and global fears of mutual assured destruction, Americans were looking forward to reducing defense budgets and no longer living under the threat of a nuclear holocaust. Peace and Conflict, Development and Civilization.

Disinterest and Frivolity: Assessing Luttwak’s ‘Give War a Chance’

And there are obviously moments in history when one or the other is predominant. According to Paul Richards, the rebellion of the Revolutionary United Front began as a luttwa, response to government corruption w illegitimacy. Trying to Understand Collective Heroism and Responsibility. This paper would find agreement with Luttwak here: Whereas Sudan provides an example of a protracted conflict brought to a close by a successful political process, Sierra Leone provides an example of an intervention encountered through military means.

Give War a Chance

This euphoria did not last long. Luttwak himself is a strong critic of the intervention, and uses it as one of his examples to justify his assertion that interventions will only create further war. A Dirty War in West Africa: Whereas it is impossible to argue against the notion that conflict may follow a failed intervention, is likewise impossible to argue that conflict continues solely because of the failed intervention, and therefore all interventions are doomed to failure.

It must be acknowledged that it is impossible to identity all intervening variables in any process tracing account of conflict, and it is therefore logically impossible to assert that a certain sequence of events would have happened. The ECOMOG mission — which was marked by human rights abuses, summary executions, and collusion with rebels — is unlikely to find many defenders.

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This assumption is highly tied to the temporal paradox highlighted above; when can we say that war is beginning or ending, and at which point do we assert causal significance for conflict on the intervention instead of on the preceding causes?


The latter will show possible success in intervention by military means. Firstly, that success in intervention is possible through political means.

Such analysis will yield three key conclusions. Within the discourse of conflict and peace studies, there exists an argument asserting that in order to seek final and lasting solutions to instability, conflict must be allowed to end on its own terms. United States Endowment for Peace, A collective sigh of relief was exhaled. Polity Press, In fact, the latter has been with cjance far longer than the former.

Il faudrait lire mes livres: James Currey Press, Why Has it Prevailed So Long? International Le 21 mars What must be called into question is the development of a perpetual war mentality and machine.

Terrorists and terrorism are not the same as the Lutgwak Union and communism, although the Islamic State is now presented as a unified entity. What is most salient for this analysis is to acknowledge the rapid success the British forces achieved in halting the conflict in Sierra Leone.

Will Plowright Written chnace The key assumptions of his channce simply do not stand up to logical analysis, while the cases of Sudan and Sierra Leone present clear examples of conflicts which were brought to an end by both political and military intervention. United States Endowment for Peace, Indiana University Press, This argument is not only counterintuitive on paper, it is also based on a set of spurious assumptions far too broad to be ignored.

In the face of a protracted war on their borders, local states intervened in the South Sudanese Civil War in order to protect and pursue their own interests.