In Defence of New Wars

TitleIn Defence of New Wars
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsKaldor, Mary
JournalStability: International Journal of Security and Development
Date Published2013

This article reviews the literature on "new wars." It argues that "new wars" should be understood not as an empirical category but rather as a way of elucidating the logic of contemporary war that can offer both a research strategy and a guide to policy. It addresses four components of the debate: whether new wars are "new"; whether new wars are war or crime; whether the data supports the claims about new wars; and whether new wars are "post-Clausewitzean." It argues that the obsession with the ‘newness’ of wars misses the point about the logic of new wars; that there is a blurring of war and crime but it is important to address the political elements of new wars; that, although the data should be used with caution, it does seem to offer support for some elements of the new war thesis; and that the argument is indeed post-Clausewitzean because new wars are not ‘contests of wills’ but more similar to a mutual enterprise. It concludes that the debate has greatly enriched the overall argument.

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