7.4.1  The Utility of Military Force

(This is an archived extract from the book Patterns of Power: Edition 2)

When considering the use of military force, politicians have to decide whether or not they will achieve their objectives by doing so.  A war can be costly, in economic terms and in the harm inflicted on people, and it can be unpopular – particularly if it is not seen as a 'just war' ( 

In this chapter the focus is on whether military force can be "proportional" and whether it has a "reasonable chance of success".  It is argued below that “success” is now hard to achieve: the weapons available have limited utility (, asymmetric warfare reduces an army’s chances of ‘winning’ (, it is difficult to conduct war amidst the civilian population ( and there are problems in occupying an invaded country (

© PatternsofPower.org, 2014