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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It is Luttwak himself who is guilty of being overly determinist in his assertions that war will bring peace.

United States Endowment for Peace, This argument is not only counterintuitive on paper, it is also based on a set of spurious assumptions far too broad to be ignored. This assumption is implicitly predicated on the concept that particular groups and individuals are responsible for the recourse to violence, and victory is achieved as one army achieves victory over the other.

In argument addressing what should or could have happened, adopting a counterfactual view of history is inevitable. No peace dividend from the end of one confrontation is possible; eternal vigilance is needed although the enemy has changed. The falseness of each assumption, combined with the existence of examples to the contrary, lead the argument to be deprived of validity.

Act tough and carry a big stick; forget the carrot. Here they come again! Collier, Paul and Nicholas Sambanis, eds.

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The response to this state of perpetual war does not have to be pacifism. Meera Sabaratnam Date written: 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 wqr one belligerent force seeks dominance over another.


Instead of a chancw and present danger and enemy, the situation this time was more diffuse. 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?

Give War a Chance

There luhtwak a problem of massive multicollinearity here, though Luttwak adopts an essentially monocausal explanation for the continuation of conflict. There may be cases where intervention worsens conflict, however conflict is much more likely to progress due to a failure to address the greed or grievance factors which led to its outbreak in the first place. There seem to be few historical examples which would support this view.

The World Bank, London Edwarf of Economics Written for: Nonetheless, there are obvious dispositions in people and political parties to favor one or the other.

Why Has it Prevailed So Long? This concept, influenced heavily by Clauswitzian thinking, asserts that we can assign a clear beginning and end date to any conflict. Whereas Sudan provides an example of a protracted conflict eedward to a close by a successful political process, Sierra Leone provides an example of an intervention encountered through military means.

Will Plowright Written at: United States Endowment for Peace, According to Paul Richards, the rebellion of the Revolutionary United Front began as a rational response to government chanve and illegitimacy. Terrorists and terrorism are not the same as the Soviet Union and communism, although the Islamic State is now presented as a unified entity.


This essay will show that this stance is based three fallacious assumptions, rendering the argument invalid. A Dirty War in West Africa: This form of intervention motivated not by peace but by bellicosity is another factor ignored by Luttwak.

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

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. 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. Please Consider Donating Before you download your free e-book, please consider donating to support open access publishing.

The assumptions that war will end and create peace ignores the idea that there are actors who benefit from war and its continuation, and have no desire to see it end. The final message of the Cold War and the War on Terror is similar; there is an enemy that must be combatted. United States Institute of Peace, What must be called into question is the development of a perpetual war mentality and machine.