The Transformation of the World of War and Peace Support Operations

The Transformation of the World of War and Peace Support Operations

The Transformation of the World of War and Peace Support Operations

The Transformation of the World of War and Peace Support Operations

Synopsis

With the end of the Cold War, the euphoria of the Gulf War of the 1990s and the avowal of a New World Order, peace-operations were declared as the recipe for a better world through international intervention in conflict arenas. However, the debacles and failures in Cambodia, Somalia, or the Balkans led to disillusionment and a sense of strategic helplessness among leaders, experts and scholars in the industrial democracies. While these arguments have been the focus of intense criticism and discussion, they nevertheless underscore the fact that since the end of the Cold War the armed forces of the industrial democracies have undergone very significant transformations. This is the first work linking the changes in armed forces to Peace Support Operations (PSOs), those operations with major state-building components that demand broad and coherent cooperation between military forces and civilian entities.

"The Transformation of the World of War and Peace Support Operations" is timely as the recent debates over PSOs continue to take center stage. This work embodies a new set of ideas and concepts that aid in grasping and interpreting the transformations taking place in the world of war and in PSOs. It seeks to understand how social, economic, political, and organizational transformations around the globe are related to the complex links between armed forces and PSOs. Additionally, this work addresses issues that continue to define the character and makeup of modern warfare and the missions of PSOs for coming decades.

Excerpt

For the past two decades or so, various scholars, commentators, and experts have declared that the militaries of the industrial democracies are undergoing fundamental change. Some of these assertions have been formulated as slogans such as the “revolution in military affairs,” the advent of a “postmodern military,” or the matchless emergence of “effects-based and net-centric operations.” Other, more reflective, contentions have centered on the emergence of “new wars,” “other wars,” or new “Western ways of waging war.” While these arguments have been the focus of intense criticism and discussion, they nevertheless underscore the fact that since the end of the Cold War, the armed forces of the industrial democracies have undergone very significant transformations. As of yet, however, no systematic scholarly attempt has been carried out linking these changes to peace support operations (PSOs), those operations with major state-building components that demand broad and coherent cooperation between military forces and civilian entities. It is this lacuna that our volume seeks to fill.

At the same time, however, our focus is primarily conceptual. This point means that our volume does not offer a focus on the implications of advanced technologies for peace-related missions. Rather, we seek to understand how social, economic, political, and organizational transformations around the globe are related to the complex links between armed forces and PSOs. Accordingly, we see the challenge facing decision makers, senior military commanders, and scholars as filling in gaps in existing conceptual frames that link PSOs to contemporary conflict and warfare. We contend that this gap is to a great extent an outcome of the dominance of militarized thinking in this area. Indeed, note the . . .

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