The Theory of Limited War

  • Lawrence Freedman
Part of the St Antony’s book series


Until 1991 the theory of limited war was shaped by the experience of two critical conflicts — Korea and Vietnam. Korea was responsible for a concept geared to an east-west confrontation and dependent on the limitation of objectives in order to have any realistic hope of limiting means. Vietnam introduced a pessimism with regard to the possibility of limiting means, by drawing attention to inherent tendencies of escalation. By the time of the Gulf War, therefore, limited war was seen to require a commitment to controls on both ends and means. The consequence of this experience may be to loosen past restraints on the limitation of objectives in armed conflicts even while those on means are being tightened.


Security Council Nuclear Weapon International Herald Tribune Iraqi Regime Joint Chief 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1994

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  • Lawrence Freedman

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