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Strategy and Defence PlanningMeeting the Challenge of Uncertainty$
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Colin S. Gray

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198701842

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198701842.001.0001

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Historical Context

Historical Context

(2) Patterns for Anticipation

(p.107) 4 Historical Context
Strategy and Defence Planning

Colin S Gray

Oxford University Press

It is too little appreciated that education for defence planning can only be founded upon an understanding of the past. History is all that we have as possible evidence about the future. This elementary truth rests upon the hardest of science and cannot change. It follows that knowledge and contentious argument about the past and present is all we have to bring to the feast of defence planning for the future: there is no choice. The archive of relevant history is abundantly available for scholars to raid and otherwise employ in aid of education today in preparation for tomorrow. The chapter explains the use that can be made of history with respect to our human nature with its politics and ethics, our record of statecraft and war (and peace), and the use we have made in the past of military power, guided by strategy.

Keywords:   strategy, human nature, statecraft, war, experience, anticipation

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