THE RISE AND FALL OF WAR AS RISK MANAGEMENT?
How to end but with where we began: candidate Bush’s speculation while on the 2000 campaign trail about elusive dangers ‘out there’ somewhere circling vulture-like, waiting to inflict catastrophic harm in an age of globalisation. For students of war and strategy in this context, what springs to mind is Clausewitz’s time-honoured maxim that each war is a product of the specific societies and cultures that fight it. It reflects the ideas, emotions and conditions of particular historical periods. The French Revolutionary wars demonstrated how war had become the business of the people and citizens infused with concepts of liberty and nation dominant at that time. For Risk Societies of the West operating within the framework of globalised insecurity, ideas of ‘risk management’ certainly lend themselves readily to understanding conflict and strategy as the international system reoriented away from military ‘threats’ towards concerns about ‘security risks’. This has posed further challenges to idealised understandings of war involving a response to well-defined threats, and a desire for clearly defined outcomes to end proceedings.