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Who Wins?Predicting Strategic Success and Failure in Armed Conflict$
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Patricia Sullivan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199878338

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199878338.001.0001

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War Aims and War Outcomes

War Aims and War Outcomes

Chapter:
(p.44) Chapter 3 War Aims and War Outcomes
Source:
Who Wins?
Author(s):

Patricia L. Sullivan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199878338.003.0003

This chapter develops the argument that a critical characteristic of war aims—the degree to which attaining them requires target compliance—determines whether relative war-fighting capacity or resolve has a greater impact on a war's outcome. Although this theoretical approach is intuitive, the implications of the theory are frequently surprising. A state with greater military capacity than its adversary is more likely to prevail in wars with “total” war aims—the overthrow of a foreign government or annexation of territory—than in wars with more limited objectives. On the other hand, a state's ability to compel forcibly an adversary to change an objectionable foreign or domestic policy is expected to decline as its material strength relative to the adversary increases.

Keywords:   war outcomes, war aims, military capacity, annexation

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