On new wars: Contributions from the conference “New Wars” in 2007.
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On New Wars seeks to answer what is “new” about new wars and military theory by linking the present and speculation about the future of war with historical awareness. The past may be an imperfect guide to the future, but we have to make the most out of it because it is the only reliable compass that we have. The book is divided into three parts, with three chapters each. The first part provides a conceptual framework for thinking about new wars, the second examines characteristics and commonalities and the final part looks at the validity of some of the military concepts that dominate current literature, especially effects based operations and fourth generation warfare. One central argument is that wars are ever-changing – the combination of who fights whom, when, where and why will always be unique – but although the ends, ways and means may vary over time, it is first and foremost the character of war that changes, not the nature of war itself – war remains, as Carl von Clausewitz reminds us, “a permanent feature of the human condition.”