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Slide 1

Limited War as a Military Strategy


Slide 2

Overview

Background and Introduction


Defining limited War
Origin and history of limited war
Limited War as a military Strategy: Nature
and Scope
Examples of Limited War
Future Outlook on Limited War
Conclusion
Slide 3

Why Wars?

Human history is replete with expressions of war


witnessed in every decade of every century. Despite
the fact that wars have a destructive character and
costs heavily, nations and societies have always
fought them. Why?
a few key major reasons why countries have fought in
the past, for territorial gains
They also fight under political, economic and
ideological compulsions
destructive power of war -Second World War in
Europe, destroyed several European cities, displaced
and killed millions of innocent people
As a result of total war, infrastructures are destroyed
and states need money to initiate and promote waves
of political and economic recovery
Slide 4

Aspiring peace after World War II


& UNO
After Second World War the entire world
especially the western states subscribed to
the idea of establishing a global organization
to ensure global peace and prevent third
world war.
United Nations (UNO) was established with a
key responsibility to prevent the possibility of
a third World War and control state
aggression
Slide 5

Unsustainable Peace

Despite after the establishment of UNO and some


seven decades of its working ,peace is
unsustainable
USs attack in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan;
USSRs attack in Afghanistan; Indias attack in
Kashmir and Pakistan; Israeli attack to Palestine
and Lebanon on repeated occasions took place
after creation of UN
It strengths that conflict is inherent to human nature
and no peace making institution can guarantee it
Slide 6

Finding Answers
What is the total all-out war?,
What is a limited war strategy?
What is the origin and history of limited war?
How do the two differ? What is the cold war?
How cold war is related to limited war?
What constitutes the dynamics of limited war?
Where have they been fought? What is the
future outlook on limited war strategies?
These are some of the questions we would like
to work on and answer in the following slides
Slide 7

Defining Limited War


Limited war is antithetical to total war in most
respects
the first person or the first proponent of
limited war -strategy of limited aim was first
coined by Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart- a
British military historian and strategist -
during the peak times of World War II ,
Fabian strategy that would avoid decisive
battles and wear down an opponent
he is still considered to be the first person or
the first proponent of limited war even though
he did not advocate limited war per se
Slide 8

Defining Limited War


Very concise definition : Limited War is a war in
which either the ends or means, or both, are
limited in the conflict.
Robert Osgood a widely accepted definition -He
suggests that the war mandates involvement of a
limited amount of resources of human and
physical nature: It demands of the belligerents
only a fractional commitment of their human and
physical resources.
Osgood further says: It permits their economic,
social and political patterns of existence to continue
without serious disruption
Kissingers comments on limited war as interpreted
as: Limited wars had to be wars of persuasion,
where arguments and incentives complemented
limited use of force
Slide 9

Characteristics of limited war


Ends and/or means are limited
Restricted but concrete and well defined
objectives
Limited use of the utmost military effort.
Confined to a local geographical area
Directed against selected targets
Leaves the processes of political,
economic nature intact
Usually done for a short time duration
Effectively, the war is fought for very clearly defined goals and
objectives which do not mandate the use, deployment or
involvement of all possible man, material, technical and weaponry
resources available to a fighting party
Slide 10

Origin and History of Limited War


grew and was decisively shaped by the experience
of cold war era in 1950s. Other writers also
support this view that the idea of limited war was
born circumstantially during the peak years of the
cold war era
US policy planners had already started to realize
the wasteful effects of the arms race pursued as
part of the cold war with former USSR and had
started to look for an alternative to full scale war.
Another US war policy advisor Kaufmann (1972,
p.106) observed: It is by no means clear, that we
can destroy Soviet or Chinese power without
having a similar catastrophe visited upon us
It shows a shattering US confidence and hopes of
success of the arms race that was the backbone of
postulated full scale war.
Slide 11

Origin and History of Limited War


Parity than superiority of USA with USSR during cold
war

And any direct US aggression against USSR would


bring a similar aggression from USSR. As Kissinger
argued: deterrence may failit will lead either to
surrender or to the most catastrophic form of war

Both political and military strategists started to perceive


the option of total war as pointless

Kissinger observed: (a statement in 1957) the earliest


most comments highlighting the inherent
limitations of total war
As the power of modern weapons grows, the threat of
all-out war loses its credibility and therefore its political
effectiveness.
Slide 12

Evolution of Limited War as


strategy
With bitter after taste of cold war era and the huge
wasteful arms race especially after demise of the
former USSR ,us learnt to limit the military and
armory scope of its war activity and complement it
with tactics of diplomacy

Kisingers comments as:


Limited wars had to be wars of persuasion, where
arguments and incentives complemented limited
use of force
limited war is a combination of war and diplomacy
and persuasion.
Slide 13

Limited War as a strategy: Nature &


Scope
limited war as a theory evolved both as an
offensive and defensive strategy to protect
the strategic interests of the United States

offensive strategy, limited war was part of the


US strategy to deal with the Soviet Union;
defensive strategy, it aimed to protect the
interests of the United States and its allies,
especially in Europe.
Slide 14

Limited War as a strategy: Nature &


Scope
limited war is about setting and playing the game
within meaningful limits.
the limited war features pursuit of limited goals, application
of limited means by targeting high value targets to achieve
the goals for which the war is fought
And not only the goals and targets are limited, the
deployment and use of resources is also limited as the
involvement of all possible man, material, technical and
weaponry resources available at the disposal of states is not
required
keep the man and material cost of war within limits
. As soon as the war objective(s) is/are met, the war activity
is terminated.
Slide 15

Some criticism

Despite world is becoming a little safer vis-a-viz the


days of Vietnam war
Kissinger :-
Limited wars had to be wars of persuasion, where
arguments and incentives complemented limited
use of force shows limited war is tilted more
towards diplomacy or perhaps depends on
diplomacy for its success
Robert Doughty . It was primarily an academic
rather than a military concept and it drastically
misunderstood the dynamics of war.
Slide 16

Examples of Limited War:


Firstly, currently, the US drone strikes in
Pakistans Khyber Pakhtun Khuwah (KPK)
area are primarily organized using this
military doctrine
Drone attacks are directed at specific
locations in the area, where Taliban leaders
are located
Taliban leaders -targets of this limited war
high value targets from a US military
perspective
Slide 17

Examples of Limited War:


war of attrition :in the past, Soviet invasion of
Afghanistan illustrates a good example The war
was obviously fought between two un-equals
Falklands, Grenada, Panama and Israeli incursion
into Lebanon were limited wars, aiming to achieve
a political or military objective and withdraw once
the objective is secured. We reckon Israeli attack
on Lebanon in the year 2006 was a limited war.
These examples, illustrate that majority of the cases
of aggression have assumed are manifested as
limited wars seeking to achieve precisely defined
goals and thus belong to limited war.
Slide 18

Future Outlook on Limited Wars:


military war strategies titled to limited war instead of
full scale conventional wars
, limited wars have gradually been replacing the full
scale wars 11 nations involved
lessons from the cold war and second world war
suggest that the human, material, political and
economic costs of these wars is expensive
fundamental nature of modern war has changed
objectives can be achieved in limited war then why
to launch prolonged war?
Slide 19

Conclusion

Limited war is the brain child of US military


strategists and planners
dates only as far back as the cold war decades
limited war is not a very old strategy
It was developed as a result of the realization that
total wars destroy infrastructures and carry
considerable political, economic, human and
material costs
Limited war a military strategy -avoids pitfalls of
the total war as well as those of the cold war and
yet pursue to hit their prime military targets.
Slide 20

Conclusion

experience of the US military endeavors has


proven that limited war is proving to be an
effective strategy of war as it hits the targets
without damaging and creating massive
chaos in the surrounding area
the frequency of limited has been growing
and it has replaced total war to a great extent