Military history

War From The Ground Up: Twenty-First Century Combat as Politics

War From The Ground Up: Twenty-First Century Combat as Politics

As a British infantry officer in the Royal Gurkha Rifles Emile Simpson completed three tours of Southern Afghanistan. Drawing on that experience, and on a range of little-known case studies ranging from Nepal to Borneo, War From The Ground Up offers a distinctive perspective on contemporary armed conflict: while most accounts of war look down at the battlefield from an academic perspective, or across it as a personal narrative, the author looks up from the battlefield to consider the concepts that put him there, and how they played out on the ground. Simpson argues that in the Afghan conflict, and in contemporary conflicts more generally, liberal powers and their armed forces have blurred the line between military and political activity. More broadly, they have challenged the distinction between war and peace. He contends that this loss of clarity is more a response to the conditions of combat in the early twenty-first century, particularly that of globalisation, than a deliberate choice. The issue is thus not whether the West should engage in such practices, but how to manage, gain advantage from, and mitigate the risks of this evolution in warfare. War From The Ground Up draws heavily on personal anecdotes from the frontline, related to historical context and strategic thought, to offer a re-evaluation of the concept of war in modern conflict.

Preface: Narratives of War—Sir Michael Howard


Chapter 1. The Language of War

Chapter 2. Clausewitzian War and Contemporary Conflict

Chapter 3. Globalisation and Contemporary Conflict

Chapter 4. Strategic Dialogue and Political Choice

Chapter 5. Liberal Powers and Strategic Dialogue

Chapter 6. Pragmatism and Operational Thought

Chapter 7. British Strategy in the Borneo Confrontation 1962–6

Chapter 8. Strategic Narrative

Chapter 9. Ethos, Vision and Confidence in Strategic Narrative

Conclusion: Contemporary Strategic Thought


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