The Conception of the “New Wars”: a Question of Validity
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This article analyses the concept of the “new wars”, especially the claim of its authors that conventional interstate war is no longer viable, as the nature of organized violence has changed completely. The article questions the validity of such a statement by showing that the “new wars” idea lacks historical precision and is based on a misperception of the theoretical model developed by Carl von Clausewitz; moreover, the conception includes unclarified theoretical assumptions. The article examines the most popular and influential “new wars” theorists: Herfried Munkler, Mary Kaldor, Martin Van Creveld, as well as scholars whose ideas are tightly related with the “new wars” discourse - Amalendu Misra, Rupert Smith, Thomas X. Hammes. It also refers to the recent Clausewitzian studies (Hew Strachan, Antulio J. Echevarria, Christopher Bassford) and to a very original concept of the Western dis-enchantment of war, coined by Christopher Coker. The article ends up with the suggestion to evaluate the “new wars” discourse as a reflection of changing Western attitudes towards war.
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