This week, we focus on the idea of “grand strategy.” Grand strategy refers to the general strategies developed by nation-states—countries like the United States, France, or Australia, for example—to survive and even thrive in the international community. In short, the leadership of every country follows some sort of general plan, which might include the acquisition of natural resources, the defense of a certain region, maintaining a strong military, engaging in diplomacy, or building public works. These plans are not always spelled out, but are rather evolving understandings that reflect the thinking of those in power.
In this discussion, you will read Understanding Fourth Generation War (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. by William S. Lind, noted author of security studies. This piece was written in 2004, just after the United States invaded Iraq. By this time, the United States was also deeply entrenched in a war in Afghanistan, as well. Lind lays out four different grand strategies for protecting state interests via warfare. Significantly, he argues that we are in the Fourth Generation of warfare, which entails a number of conceptual shifts from dated conceptions of warfare, such as the importance of non-state forces like al-Qaeda and increased importance given to culture.
Here, then, you are asked to respond to two questions about these Generations of warfare, as a way of considering grand strategy broadly, and in the context of the United States.
To do so, complete the following steps:
- Read the Understanding Fourth Generation (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. War blog post.
- First, in one paragraph, determine which of the Four Generations of warfare you believe are the most ethical, and why? In addressing this question, you may utilize your own personal ethical code, or refer to ethical codes encountered elsewhere in the course. Be sure to explain why the methods and aims of the Generation you have chosen is, indeed, the most ethical.
- Second, in one paragraph, select one attribute of Fourth Generation warfare that you believe will be crucial in future conflicts, then explain why you have made this selection. In other words, identify one Fourth Generation tactic that will increase in importance in future conflicts, and explain why this tactic will be so vital.
Your initial post should be at least 250 words in length. Support your claims with examples from required material(s) and/or scholarly sources.
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