How the Weak Win Wars: A Theory of Asymmetric Conflict by Ivan Arreguín-Toft

By Ivan Arreguín-Toft

How do the vulnerable defeat the powerful? Ivan Arregu?n-Toft argues that, even if many elements have an effect on uneven clash results (for instance, the relative energy of the actors, their guns know-how, and outdoors support), the interplay of every actor's process is the simplest rationalization. aiding his argument with mixed statistical and comparative case examine research, Arregu?n-Toft's strategic interplay idea has implications not just for diplomacy theorists, yet for coverage makers grappling with interstate and civil wars, in addition to terrorism.

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But some asymmetric wars drag on well beyond what was anticipated before the fight. If power implies victory, and a lot of power implies quick and decisive victory, what then explains why power causes quick and decisive victory sometimes but not others? My answer is strategy. The interaction of some strategies makes the way clear for power to determine the outcome, whereas the interaction of other strategies causes wars to be protracted, thus dramatically abridging power’s expected effect on the outcome.

Finally, Mack argues that in a long war the high political vulnerability of the strong actor will eventually force it to quit, regardless of whether it has an authoritarian or democratic regime type. This explains why the weak win. The strategic interaction thesis is a general theory of asymmetric conflict outcomes. It improves on Mack’s pre-theory in three areas. First, relative interests determine relative political vulnerabilities, but in the strategic interaction thesis relative interests are not explained by relative power.

The readiness to bear the cost of a war and the readiness to exact a painful toll from others — is a precondition for succeeding in war’’ (Merom, 2003: 19). The argument reduces to the claim that, in small wars, insensitivity to friendly casualties and a willingness to maximize violence against an opponent are necessary for victory; and that modern democracies are from two related problems: (1) weak actors do not always defend with guerrilla warfare (this limits the generality of Mack’s theory); and (2) some defenders using guerrilla warfare strategy are defeated quickly (this limits his theory’s explanatory power).

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