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Title: The conduct of war and the notion of victory : a theory and definition of victory
Author: Zaidi, Mohammad I.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2690 8471
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2010
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Clausewitz described military victory as a condition where the enemy‘s ability to enter battle, resist or resume hostilities is destroyed. The concept summarises the paradigm of success that preceded Clausewitz and survived through much of the 20th century. Despite increasingly paradoxical outcomes in the last century and the current one, military planners, strategists and statesmen sought answers for failures in different places, only a few questioned the validity of the notion of victory that Clausewitz had so veritably summarised. The fundamental question that begs an answer is ‗what is victory?‘ The rapid transformation in society and international culture has brought with it changes in geo-political and geo-economic relationships as well as warfare. While the traditional linkages between war and politics remain, the mechanisms driving these have altered. In less than absolute wars, it is the wider bargain and the stakes in that bargain that make the ‗enemy do our will‘ and not purely an inability to enter battle, resist or resume hostilities. The new complexities surrounding war and diplomacy necessitate an organising theory to make better sense of policy and action. This research provides one such theory. War is ultimately a violent clash of societies and its character a reflection of opposing cultures, history and experiences. An external dimension to strategy is thus always at work even if not fully recognised; as is often the case. Such un-factored influences create a sort of volatility in victory and defeat adding new challenges while offering opportunities at the same time. Similarly, diplomacy, which invariably precedes and succeeds coercive or compelling use of violence, too is fettered by such external influences. A bivariate approach that triangulates desired ends with the opposing notions of success and perception of defeat is argued. The theory presented encapsulates traditional precepts, adds new ones and simplifies the complexities that have come to surround victory in contemporary times. Offered here are some valuable ingredient to flavour any strategic recipe, not just war and conflict. The eternal challenge of calibrating means and ends needed more systematic awareness of functional and dominant domains of victory which is arguably possible through application of simple principles. The theory potentially allows for a more focused, proportionate, efficient and productive use of power. It is hoped that strategists and analysts alike, would find here new concepts and tools for use in praxis, perspective planning and retrospective analyses.
Supervisor: Bellamy, C. D. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available