Writing from the perspective of the close of the twentieth century about the state of warfare as it appeared to evolve in that century’s last few decades presents, admittedly, a picture of considerable confusion and ambiguity. Maybe more so than might have been the case at earlier junctures—1970? 1950? 1930?— there is strong ambiguity about emerging trends or about the validity of (always a dangerous temptation) extrapolations from the immediate past. One is sobered by the reminder that some writers in the early 1980s, viewing the outburst of conventional combat in Lebanon, the Falklands, Vietnam’s Red River Valley, and on the Iran-Iraq border, had predicted a growing surge of Third World conventional warfare reminiscent of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe; or that others writing in the 1970s saw a future dominated by Marxist insurgencies such as those that had played out in Vietnam, Algeria, Cuba et al. Those projections now seem hopelessly outdated (not precluding, however, their resurgence!) at a time when military activities and military writing seem much more focused on weapons of mass destruction and terrorism—note the dominant image of U.S. Tomahawk missiles conducting a “counter-proliferation” raid on a suspected nerve gas plant in Khartoum, Sudan (reports on that raid scarcely mentioned the more than one million persons claimed dead in the ongoing, brutal war in southern Sudan).
KeywordsMilitary History Modern Warfare Security Assistance Military Victory High Casualty
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- 1.For an updated discussion of MTR/PJVIA at the end of the 1990s, in the context of American defense budget allocations, see Cindy Williams and Jennifer M. Lind, “Can We Afford a Revolution in Military Affairs?” Breakthroughs, vol. 8, no. 1 (spring 1997), pp. 3–8.Google Scholar
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