Academic journal article Military Review

WAGING WAR WITHOUT WARRIORS: The Changing Culture of Military Conflict

Academic journal article Military Review

WAGING WAR WITHOUT WARRIORS: The Changing Culture of Military Conflict

Article excerpt

WAGING WAR WITHOUT WARRIORS: The Changing Culture of Military Conflict, Christopher Coker, Lynne Rienner Publishers, London, 2002, 195 pages, $49.95.

In Waging War without Warriors, Christopher Coker examines the transformation of war as an all-consuming contest that tries not only the individual's will to survive but also the will of the entire community. Past wars were seen as existential and self-affirming to the individual and instrumental to the state; war was personal and practical. Coker states that in the West today war is a foreign policy tool that lacks the human intimacy and value of past wars. The balance between war's instrumental and existential aspects has now swung completely to the instrumental side. The focus on instrumentality enables existential warriors to defeat stronger instrumental Western armies such as those of Vietnam and Afghanistan.

By focusing on ancient Greece, Coker provides a history of martial cultures, analyzing how those cultures are changing. he traces the development of the warrior spirit, moving from Rome's systemization of violence to alternative ways of war, such as avocated by Sun Tzu, the Islamic tradition, and Japan's kamikazes. War is no longer considered mankind's most revealing behavior; it has become a competition between rival technologies that are disconnected, impersonal, and increasingly unacceptable to the West. …

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