The Revolution in Military Affairs outside the West

By Hashim, Ahmed S. | Journal of International Affairs, Spring 1998 | Go to article overview

The Revolution in Military Affairs outside the West


Hashim, Ahmed S., Journal of International Affairs


The military gap between the West--symbolized primarily by U.S. military capabilities--and the rest of the world has widened in the twilight years of the 20th century, due to the latest revolution in military affairs (RMA). This paper is about the response of the non-Western world to the ongoing revolution in military affairs in conventional warfare. Specifically, it will explore what non-Western military powers are writing about the RMA.

This, of course, presupposes that their strategic analysts and planners have an understanding of what the RMA really is. There is still debate on this, and no consensus has been reached. In fact, a large number of these non-Western nations are analyzing the current RMA by deriving political, military and technological lessons from the Gulf War of 1991, which was seen as a harbinger of wars to come.

There is also the issue of whether these countries believe that their armed forces can exploit and benefit from the RMA. This raises a number of complex questions that can only be tentatively addressed here. To begin with, do these countries have the technological infrastructure and financial resources to devote to the development of high-technology conventional arms? And if they do, do their armed forces have the flexibility to revamp their strategic cultures, organizational structure and doctrines in order to allow them to exploit the RMA? Finally, if most of these countries cannot undertake these tasks, what other kinds of military options do they have? Revolutionary breakthroughs in the military arena in one country or group of countries almost invariably generate responses from other countries. Responses could be symmetric, emulative or asymmetric (i.e., to attempt to deploy a different set of weapons/technologies or develop new ways of fighting in order to offset or bypass the new capabilities of the breakthrough state).

Examining the responses of other countries to the RMA is an interesting research problem, even if we are to conclude, as is likely, that much of the rest of the world does not "have what it takes" to make and implement revolutionary changes in their militaries. It is interesting for many reasons: first, we advance our knowledge about other armed forces and how they think about military power; second, it advances our knowledge of the role of military capabilities in the conduct of international relations among the world's leading powers, both in the Western and non-Western worlds; and third, because the United States needs to be aware of how others may try to challenge its otherwise unchallenged conventional military superiority in the post-Cold War era.

So far, in the United States, we are only beginning to explore the impact of the RMA on the rest of the world. Even then, the overwhelming majority of analyses written in the United States deal with the RMA in just two countries, Russia and China, the so-called near peer competitors. Since much of the world will not be able to exploit the RMA for a wide variety of reasons, I am not writing about the response of the non-Western world per se, but rather of a limited group of countries that see themselves as influential regional powers with serious armed forces. Clearly, try as they might, countries like Burkina Faso or Paraguay are neither influential regional powers nor do they have armed forces and budgets that can be considered as agents for innovative change. Thus they will never be candidates for the exploitation of the RMA.

REVOLUTION IN MILITARY AFFAIRS

The nature of war never changes; "war," after all, "is an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will," as Karl von Clausewitz stated over a century and a half ago in his book On War. But the manner in which war is conducted has undergone considerable change over the course of human civilization. Sometimes these changes are so dramatic that war changes its form. In other words, a historical discontinuity, or revolution, occurs in the way war is fought. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Revolution in Military Affairs outside the West
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.