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The strategic approach to international relations*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 October 2009

Michael Howard
Affiliation:
Fellow of All Souls College; Chichele Professor elect of the History of War, University of Oxford

Extract

Since the term ‘strategy’ is now generally used to describe the use of available resources to gain any objective, from winning at bridge to selling soap, it is necessary to make clear that, in this paper, I shall use it in the traditional sense only: that is, as meaning the art of the strategon, or military commander. ‘The strategic approach’ is thus one which takes account of the part which is played by force, or the threat of force, in the international system. It is descriptive in so far as it analyses the extent to which political units have the capacity to use or to threaten the use of armed force to impose their will on other units; whether to compel them to dos ome things, to deter them from doing others, or if need be to destroy them as independent communities altogether. It is prescriptive in so far as it recommends policies which will enable such units to operate in an international system which is subject to such conditions and constraints.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British International Studies Association 1976

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References

* This paper was read at a Conference sponsored by the Atlantic Information Centre for Teachers at Ringstedgaad, Denmark and printed in the published report of that Conference, ‘Teaching about Collective Security and Conflict’ (Atlantic Information Centre for Teachers, London 1971), from which it is reprinted by permission.

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