The art of creating power: Lawrence Freedman on strategy | Prospect Magazine
Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman. 1 - 50 out of Freedman, L. 7 Jun In: Journal of Strategic Studies. 38, 4, p. The special relationship, then and now. 40 Lawrence Kaplan, 'A military estranged from the architects of war', 49 Lawrence Freedman, 'The Special Relationship, Then and Now', Foreign Affairs, vol. Lawrence Freedman suggests that the Falkland Islands are not as bleak as Johnson This would, it was hoped, 'change the nature of the relationship between the A wing commander observed, 'I hope you now have sufficient ammunition to .. landing Special Forces also lay with Woodward during the period before the.
Military strategy is the expression of the force of the State, revolutionary strategies seek to overturn or capture the State and business strategies compete with the State The State, emergent out of warlordism and dynasticism or small trading communitiesis the thing that should interest us most because we are most stuck inside its narratives and scripts. Perhaps it was simply a matter of space the book is over pages long but one senses sometimes that the broader academic community is always nervous of telling us the truth about what feeds it.
- Strategy: A History
- Lawrence Freedman
But this may be unfair. The book is mostly easy reading though the idiocies of academic social scientists often cause one to lose patience and the assessments are honest and fair to all parties.
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Indeed, it is good to find a book that both gives due to the troubled struggle by educated revolutionaries to speak for the masses and to the games businessmen play to try to control what cannot be controlled. A book which treats Rockefeller of Standard Oil and Karl Marx fairly, let alone Tom Hayden, has a lot going for it though maybe Freedman should throw up his hands at Sun Tzu as perpetual strategic cliche. Will this book make you a better 'strategist'? Well, it will do a service if it makes you sceptical about books that claim to offer that particular pot of gold.
Strategists are probably born rather than made but many of the skills can be learned - or rather 'bad' unstrategic narratives might be unlearned and 'scripts' recognised. His story of continuous failures to 'get it right' becomes a bit cheerier when rationalist progressives begin to be challenged by the behaviourial economists. Though I remain unconvinced by this particular discipline - and consider political science to be an utterly absurd concept - cognitive psychology has helped us here.
Increasingly, we are beginning to stop whining that we are not 'rational' or rather autistic academics are and beginning to see our mentalities as extremely good survival machines for uncertainty. Freedman is persuasive that we have a sort of double action mind where intuition and 'art' working in real time gets things right most of the time under most conditions his System 1 strategic thinking.
Habit and narratives and scripts can get in our way in a crisis and the reasoning abilities of his System 2 thinking enable us analytically and critically correct our own biases and errors. A very important figure in the book is Clausewitz.
On your account, it looks as though his classic work On War was born out of an almost aesthetic distaste at the spectacle of the Battle of Bordino between Russia and France in Borodino did influence him but it also nagged away at him, as did the whole Russian campaign. On the one hand, you have the essential Napoleonic belief that you win politics by winning the battle.
He saw that you could win battles without that resulting in an easy political victory as a result.
Lawrence Freedman - Research Outputs - Research Portal, King's College, London
And I think Bordino was part of that. Was it his view that good strategy consists in the triumph over uncertainty and chaos, or was he making a more subtle point about the necessity for the strategist to be clear-eyed about the terrible uncertainties of war? Clausewitz was one of the first people to theorise how things could go wrong.
This led him to a certain conservatism in how he envisaged a campaign should be fought. He was against relying on great acts of surprise or deception because he could see how these could get badly unstuck.
The RMA reflects a view that developed in the American armed services which focused on the operational dimension almost to the exclusion of the political. So it seemed to work, albeit in very particular circumstances.
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But then the United States got itself entangled in larger campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, where you needed to think much harder about the political context in which precision weaponry was being used.
Military strategy has always been very poor at integrating the political. It sees the political as the business of explaining where you get your objectives from and telling you something about popular opinion, but actually a lot of what happens in warfare is a civil rather than military issue.
A lot of recent American military strategy was about keeping civilians out of the operational area.