Asymmetries, Anthropology, and War
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Policy makers continue to want to believe that with just a bit more effort, and greater cross-cultural understanding, their militaries can somehow shape better than they can smash. Many of those who eschew the use of force also believe that disciplines like anthropology really can deliver bloodless solutions. But, at best, this is wishful thinking. As terrible as it may seem to advocate a more honest consideration of force, in actuality nothing is likelier to stand Western militaries in better stead. Ironically, too, nothing less than the proven willingness to use overwhelming force will protect what finesse requires: respect—if not mutual, then at least grudging respect.
Pointer (Journal of the Singapore Armed Forces), 37 (2), October 2011.