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The Tyranny of Doctrine and Modern Strategy: Small (and Large) States in a Double Bind

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-279
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Strategic Studies
Issue number2
Early online date10 Dec 2015
E-pub ahead of print10 Dec 2015
Published23 Feb 2016

King's Authors


The formation of doctrine and strategy is usually regarded as the exclusive province of the major powers. Small states and their militaries have little choice but to conform. This article, however, argues that small, developed states possess an unprecedented opportunity independently to form doctrine and pursue strategy. The reasons are a worldwide trend of devolution in political power and a concomitant democratisation of violence and reduction in the scale of military means and conflict. However, seizing this opportunity is powerfully constrained by the tyranny of outmoded ideas of how war and strategy work.

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