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Life as We Know

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I 10/20/2013 Dr. Vest The bully, the underdog, the shape-shifter and the survivor: How wars will be fought in the future This article has endeavored to look through a cultural lens of analysis at the actors involved in war and how they can be defined. A set of four strategic cultures based on two drivers have been identified: actor size and tendency towards warrior ideology vs. pragmatism in war. The ‘2x 2 matrixes’ approach was used to analyze these drivers and four strategic cultures emerged: the bully, the underdog, the shape-shifter and the survivor. The first section laid out this process and methodology so that the second and third sections could focus on actor characteristics and their likely approaches to war. Throughout the second and third section actor examples were taken from the modern conflict environment including the United States, the Afghan Taliban, China, Al Qaeda and the Free Tibet Movement. Finally, this process allowed the creation of a framework for analysis of how future wars will be fought. It should be noted that this work is limited by the highly focused method of the ‘2x2 matrix’ which is dependent on driver selection (a subjective judgment) and the absence of a ‘wild card’ outside the matrix to address the need for factoring in the unexpected or novel. However, this article’s aim was not to provide a thorough analysis of how future wars will be fought. Instead, it has endeavored to highlight the importance of the role of strategic culture in the study of future warfare. In light of this, the framework presented here may prove useful in facilitating more comprehensive research into classification of actors and how they fight wars. This, in turn, would hopefully find application in conflict management and where possible,...

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