Strategy and Defence Policy for Small States: Problems and Prospects

Cover for “Strategy and Defence Policy for Small States: Problems and Prospects”

For students of strategic studies in small countries with limited financial, human and military resources, the available literature on strategic studies, in particular texts that seek to explain the key concepts and components of the subject, can be very alien in their focus compared to the strategic conditions and issues that these smaller countries face.

Strategy and Defence Policy for Small States: Problems and Prospects contains a collection of essays that seeks to discuss key concepts in strategic studies as well as contemporary challenges in strategy and defence policy, from the perspective of small states. It is based on the idea—derived from the German philosopher of war, Carl von Clausewitz: that there is a distinction between logic and grammar. While the field of strategic studies contains a number of key concepts (such as geopolitics and geostrategy, strategic culture, arms dynamics and the phenomenon of military modernization) that are universal in logic, the grammar (that is, the specific manifestations of these concepts) in the contexts of small states is necessarily different from larger, more materially endowed, states.

The book’s argument harkens back to Thomas Schelling’s argument in Arms and Influence: that nuclear weapons have changed how strategic concepts are operationalised. This collection of essays seeks to address three sets of issues that strategic studies has had to grapple with. To begin with, much of strategic studies is Western in its origins, assumptions, and focus. Furthermore, given its focus during the Cold War, it is possible to identify a second set of issues in strategic studies; namely that conventional strategy had not been studied with the same rigour as had nuclear strategy. This book therefore seeks to discuss key concepts in strategic studies, as well as contemporary challenges in strategy and defence policy, from the perspective of small states.

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