The Future of Strategy

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Title: The Future of Strategy
Author: Williams, Michael C.
Abstract: The ontological claims which provide the very content of Third Wave strategic thinking, and its self-defining opposition to the forms of analysis which dominated the preceding Second Wave, bring it into contradiction with the epistemological stance underlying the neo-realist theory which it claims to represent. The recognition of this fundamental contradiction at the heart of contemporary strategic thinking has important theoretical and practical implications. From a theoretical standpoint it leads to a re-engagement between strategic studies and current debates in International Relations theory, and to the startlingly ironic realisation that contemporary strategic thinking may find its natural evolution in the direction of recent attempts to develop a "critical" theory of international politics. At the level of practice, it is vitally important in determining the ways in which we understand, and thus react to, the transformations currently at work in the realm of international security in this apparently pivotal era. In both cases the question of the "future" of strategy is amongst the most important and interesting issues confronting the contemporary study of international politics. But to more fully understand the way in which the strategic thinking of the Third Wave leads contemporary strategy beyond itself, and into a real sense of the future, it is necessary to return to the past. In this case that past is the relationship between strategic studies and the neorealist theory of international relations.
Subject: rationality
strategic liberalism
strategic conservatism
Type: Working Paper
Published: YCISS
Series: Working Paper ; 3
Date: 1991-01

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