In this section of the journal’s online presence, contributions are published that go beyond the content of the ÖMZ print version and the AMJ.
War in Tigray
Ethiopia’s Test of Power
In November 2020, war broke out in Ethiopia’s northernmost province of Tigray. What started out as a struggle of a breakaway province soon turned into a fullscale war, pitting the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front against the Ethiopian central government. Not being able to crush the insurrection on its own, Ethiopia invited troops from neighbouring Eritrea and potentially even Somalia to put down the rebellion.
When Abiy Ahmed assumed the office of Prime Minister of Ethiopia in April 2018, one thought that the winds of change had finally reached Ethiopia. It seemed that Ethiopia was able to perform the transition from an authoritarian one-party state to a Westernstyle democracy on the one hand and on the other hand be a force for stability and reconciliation in the Horn of Africa.
Its nature and dynamics
The chapter presents the characteristics of strategic thinking in terms of the major components of the problem and the solution. A survey of the main five approaches to problem solving – the problem space, the steps or phases, modelling, gestalt and bag of skills – shows that none of them provides comprehensive information about the cognitive processes necessary for implementing strategic thinking. A new approach to the study, assessment and training of strategic thinking is described. This approach is based on identifying the relevant cognitive processes by means of the meaning system and of the relevant motivational processes by means of the cognitive orientation approach. The study of the cognitive and motivational profiles indicates that strategic thinking is based on a rich and complex set of processes characterized mainly by a reality orientation, a functional-operational and factual approach, sticking to the goal, attention to concrete situations, and flexibility coupled with abstract, logical and comparative thinking.
WAR and Prefixes
This article is a written result of a lecture I was asked to deliver by Bgdr Wolfgang Peischel at the Vienna Strategy Conference 2019. I was to provide an overview of my experience as President of the Swedish Defense University (SeDU) while leading the major academic transformation of Swedish military officer education. Wolfgang Peischel and I shared the view that the relationship between officer education and the civilian academic system is an issue that has rarely been fully penetrated. The crux of the issue is really - what it entails to be responsible for an academic discipline that is not represented in the civilian academic world.
CARRIER VESSEL NUCLEAR
The Aircraft Carrier and Global Military Dominance in the 21st Century
Human communities have been fostering both peaceful and warlike relationships for millennia. At the same time, weapons and weapon systems have played a special role all times, have influences or decided wars, or lost them whenever not available. In modern times, after the First World War, not only the change of lead from the United Kingdom to the United States took place, but – in the beginning, overshadowed by other events – the importance of airspace for military operations increased as well. At the same time, the maritime great powers of that time – the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, France, and Italy – perceived the pointlessness of a further maritime rearmament during their somewhat technological and operational deadlock, especially as far as super combat vessels were concerned, and because of the lack of material resources, too, a sea conference was summoned due to an American …
Resilience is the mother of all strategic issues. This is primarily because in most human endeavours it is a necessary and indispensable condition for the achievement of any worthwhile and sustainable objective. It is only rarely that the balance of power is so overwhelmingly in favour of one party and the other parties cannot or never even try to challenge their unfavourable position. When challenged by a considerable, let alone more powerful opponent, resilience may determine the outcome more than the physical resources mobilized and deployed by the parties. Whereas it may seem like a ”soft” component of the political, social or military arsenal, is often the decisive one in the ultimate test. Weaker parties always count on it and stronger often underestimate its significance.
The Art of Strategic Thinking
Strategic thinking is called for, indeed indispensable, for good decision making when charting the course of a nation in the social, political, military and economic domains. Only a few are inclined to look beyond the events, the choices and their immediate outcomes, into the “Großen Zusammenhänge”: the intricate interrelationships, the deep-rooted motivations and the long-term consequences. This perspective also requires a keen interest in the divergent cultures of the players that is usually associated with extensive experience.
Strategic thinking comes “naturally” to some more than to others. It can be developed and perfected through education, training and experience, but it takes talent to be done exceptionally well. Cognitive science may help in understanding and perfecting it, but in its higher forms it is an art, beyond professional competence.
The MAD Syndrome
(for Mutually Assured Destruction)
Will we face a new world war? It sounds like a scare episode from Project Fear, and it is played in a loop on television. We cannot predict the world’s fate by merely looking into a crystal ball, no more than my grandfather could in 1914 and my father in 1939. Before history, who will put himself on the line, which he feels it takes to achieve immortality, be it good or evil. Who will this time stand accused of dereliction of duty? Who will be held responsible for what could turn into the final calamity of mankind? Be hostis humani generis - the enemy of all Mankind.
Strategic Thinking in the Era of Cultural Wars
Modern war presents an embarrassing challenge to modern powers resting on a robust social, economic and military infrastructure. This brings an essentially open society to a profoundly different battlefield that sanctifies human life and is devoted to the promotion of the quality of life on the one hand, with societies that are, to different degrees, tribal, authoritarian and dysfunctional, on the other. The latter very often failed to meet the challenges of the modern era, and are unwilling to pay the cultural price of the transformation required for securing a better future for their children that predominantly is the adoption of pluralistic values and practices, specifically female equality.
High Politics - rule geography, military structure and power structure
An overview of the object area
A problem area may be defined simply as a bundle of several possible design options for a particular slice of reality applicable to contacts with the target systems of States in a diverging mode. A problem thus defined enters the policy area, if governments put it on their agenda and thereby initiate a policy cycle, which entails inernational decision-making, implementation and revision. The territorial expansion of ...
The 2016 EU ‘Global Strategy’: Consequences for European Force Structures
Jan Willem Honig
When one surveys successful grand strategy statements of the not-so-distant past and compares these with the EU’s new ‘Global Strategy’, one basic difference catches the eye. Whether secret –– like the 1950 Report to the US National Security Council known as NSC68, or public –– like NATO’s 1967 ‘Report of the Council on the Future Tasks of the Alliance’, known as the Harmel Report, they either explicitly contained or quickly permitted the central tenet of the proposed strategy to be captured in a catch-phrase: ‘containment’ and ‘defence and détente’.
A test site for a new, global geopolitical architecture with the focus on China’s role
By Jörg-Dietrich Nackmayr
Why The Arctic Is So Interesting? This text investigates what effect the melting and possible disappearance of the Artic ice shelf during the coming decades will have on the geopolitical balance in the far North and which conflicts could result therefrom. The analysis will focus on China. Up to now, China’s appearance on the Arctic scene has not been adequately reflected in publications.
A Research Note: Counter-Elitist Power Organization - Theoretical Basics and Conception
Clemens Alexander Eicher and Robert Moser
This article endeavours, for the first time, to impose the concept of the counter-elitist power organisation upon the correlation of the debate on the effectual means of terrorism in general, and on non-governmental organisations, availing themselves of such means for the enhancement of their interests.
The Benefits of a Definition of the Term Strategy – A Perspective
The present article attempts to discuss the question which goal-defining contents are key to a concept of strategy that meets today’s challenges. The functional principles to be tested here on their relevance to a modern understanding of strategy come from the teachings of military leadership – the attempt was made to transfer their underlying, abstracted logic to the field of strategic guidance and goal definition.
On the Development of a Military and Leadership Science Tandem
Currently, there is a manifest general strategic deficiency in the fields of security policy, the identification of national objectives, as well as corporate governance in private industry. This also impacts on the requirements regarding a skills profile for future command and management personnel. Against this backdrop, an attempt is made at finding an answer by accentuating, horizontally expanding or abstracting the contents of military science with a view to fostering a general leadership science. By means of this, and by employing available capabilities and structures, the greatest national benefit is to be achieved regarding scientifically sound command/leadership training schemes for military and civilian clients which is geared towards the long-term accomplishment of strategic objectives.
Especially a small state such as Austria with its focus on a humanities-oriented education and its progressive and systematically updated command/leadership philosophy is well placed to assume a leading role in Europe by further developing military science and by establishing a general leadership science underpinned by the former. This would constitute a contribution, rooted in solidarity, to Europe’s security-related development, which – given the pressing demand for strategic command/leadership expertise – would be eagerly embraced by command/leadership and management personnel from the fields of politics, the military, and private enterprise.