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Modern Wars & Warfare General discussion on war. Topics that are not covered in any of our sub-forums below. .

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Old 21 Nov 16, 02:38
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Exclamation The Influence of Geography on Strategic Decision

Originally Posted by Escape2Victory View Post
It seems to me the West has a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to Grand Strategy in that our leaders and their core advisers must fight an election every 4 or 5 years, which they sometimes lose. This results, every now and then, in different mind sets and priorities at the top, with goals and strategy adjusted accordingly.

The Chinese and Iranians on the otherhand appear to be better placed to execute Grand Strategy because there is a broadly conservative ethos at the top with teams that stay together for longer and promote more or less in their image. Perhaps even Putin's Russia is better placed in this respect.
There is a downside to having the same man in charge. He or his advisors can become extremely blinkered in their views as to how and which way to deal with a strategic problem.

My 'Take" on strategy is that it is, first and foremost, a product of geography and position viv-a-vis whoever is deemed threatening. Lots of people look at the influence of politics and policy on strategy, but I prefer to look at the affect decisions of policy and politics that are forced upon nation states by their very geography.

A fine example is the position of Germany before 1914. Her geography dictated the tempo of her alliance structure, and also gave rise to a fatal sense of being 'surrounded' by her enemies. This, combined with her decisions to enact a military rather than diplomatic solution to the various crisies that sprang up in Europe, set her on a path that was dictated more by who Germany could reach with her military muscle QUICKLEY, and who she could not deploy quickly against.

Furthermore, strategy dictates political policy in the case of Germany, and that was fairly unique under the circumstances, for it is usually policy and politics which dictate which direction military power is sent and in what strength and composition.

Altogether, IMOH we underate how our global position can dictate our global strategy. Look at the United States in WW2, with access to areas on both sides of the globe, and her enemies unable to render much in the way of material assistance to each other for the same geographic reasons. Look too, at the vastness of the Soviet Union playing a more than large role in the halting, blunting and eventual pushing back of the German invasion. Without the deep interior geography of the USSR, strategic moves like their transfer of factories into their interior, or the military trading space for time, would not have been possible.

As well, German geo-positioning and lack of resources meant that they were making strategic moves based on these shortages, rather than taking natural advantage of geography as an arm of strategic policy.


Last edited by Drusus Nero; 21 Nov 16 at 02:45..
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