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In defence of new wars

Kaldor, Mary (2013) In defence of new wars. Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, 2 (1). ISSN 2165-2627

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Identification Number: 10.5334/


This article reviews the literature on ‘new wars’. It argues that ‘new wars’ should be understood not as an empirical category but rather as a way of elucidating the logic of contemporary war that can offer both a research strategy and a guide to policy. It addresses four components of the debate: whether new wars are ‘new’; whether new wars are war or crime; whether the data supports the claims about new wars; and whether new wars are ‘post-Clausewitzean’. It argues that the obsession with the ‘newness’ of wars misses the point about the logic of new wars; that there is a blurring of war and crime but it is important to address the political elements of new wars; that, although the data should be used with caution, it does seem to offer support for some elements of the new war thesis; and that the argument is indeed post-Clausewitzean because new wars are not ‘contests of wills’ but more similar to a mutual enterprise. It concludes that the debate has greatly enriched the overall argument.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Authors
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2013 13:18
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:02

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