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Vol 21 No 11 Nov/Dec 2016

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The Changing Character of War

Edited by: Hew Strachan, Sibylle Scheipers

ISBN13: 9780199688005
Published: September 2013
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback
Price: £31.99



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Over the last decade (and indeed ever since the Cold War), the rise of insurgents and non-state actors in war, and their readiness to use terror and other irregular methods of fighting, have led commentators to speak of 'new wars'.

They have assumed that the 'old wars' were waged solely between states, and were accordingly fought between comparable and 'symmetrical' armed forces. Much of this commentary has lacked context or sophistication. It has been bounded by norms and theories more than the messiness of reality. Fed by the impact of the 9/11 attacks, it has privileged some wars and certain trends over others. Most obviously it has been historically unaware. But it has also failed to consider many of the other dimensions which help us to define what war is - legal, ethical, religious, and social.

The Changing Character of War the fruit of a five-year interdisciplinary programme at Oxford of the same name, draws together all these themes, in order to distinguish between what is really changing about war and what only seems to be changing. Self-evidently, as the product of its own times, the character of each war is always changing. But if war's character is in flux, its underlying nature contains its own internal consistency. Each war is an adversarial business, capable of generating its own dynamic, and therefore of spiralling in directions that are never totally predictable.

War is both utilitarian, the tool of policy, and dysfunctional. This book brings together scholars with world-wide reputations, drawn from a clutch of different disciplines, but united by a common intellectual goal: that of understanding a problem of extraordinary importance for our times. This book is a project of the Oxford Leverhulme Programme on the Changing Character of War.

Subjects:
Public International Law
Contents:
Introduction: The Changing Character of War
PART I: THE NEED FOR A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: WHAT HAS CHANGED?
1. The Changing Character of War
2. Had a Distinct Template for a 'Western Way of War' Been Established Before 1800?
3. Changes in War: The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars
4. The Change from Within
5. 'Killing is Easy': The Atomic Bomb and the Temptation of Terror
6. The 'New Wars' Thesis Revisited
7. What is Really Changing? Change and Continuity in Global Terrorism
PART II: THE PURPOSE OF WAR: WHY GO TO WAR?
8. Humanitarian intervention
9. Democracy and War in the Strategic Thought of Giulio Douhet
10. Religion in the War on Terror
11. The Changing Character of Civil Wars, 1800-2009
12. Crime versus War
PART III: THE CHANGING IDENTITIES OF COMBATANTS: WHO FIGHTS?
13. War Without the People
14. The Changing Character of Private Force
15. Who Fights?-A Comparative Demographic Depiction of Terrorists and Insurgents in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries
16. Warlords
17. The European Union, Multilateralism, and the Use of Force
18. Robots at War: The New Battlefield
PART IV: THE CHANGING IDENTITIES OF NON-COMBATANTS
19. The Civilian in Modern War
20. Killing Civilians
21. The Status and Protections of Prisoners of War and Detainees
22. The Challenge of the Child Soldier
PART V: THE IDEAS WHICH ENABLE US TO UNDERSTAND WAR
23. American Strategic Culture: Problems and Prospects
24. Morality and Law in War
25. Target-selection Norms, Torture Norms, and Growing US Permissiveness
26. he Return of Realism? War and Changing Concepts of the Political
27. Strategy in the Twenty-first Century
Conclusion: Absent War Studies? War, Knowledge, and Critique