Military Statecraft and the Rise of Shaping in World Politics
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Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)
Rowman and Littlefield
In today’s complex international environment, how do the United States, China, and Russia manage the return of great power competition as well as the persistent threat of violent non-state actors? This book explores shaping: the use of military power to construct a more favorable environment by influencing the characteristics of other militaries, altering the relationships between them, or managing the behavior of allies. As opposed to traditional strategies of warfighting or coercion, shaping relies less on threats, demonstrations, and uses of violence and more so on attraction, persuasion, and legitimacy. Because shaping relies on less hard power and more on soft power, this counterintuitive way of military statecraft contradicts the conventional wisdom of the purpose militaries serve.
Military Statecraft and the Rise of Shaping in World Politics explores the emergence of shaping in classical strategy and its increased frequency following the end of the Cold War when threats and allies became more ambiguous. The four logics of shaping—attraction, socialization, delegation, and assurance—are illustrated through five case studies of recent major military exercise programs led by the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom, and Russia. Moreover, sentiment analysis and statistics of over 1,000 multinational exercises from 1980-2016 reveal how major powers reacted to a complex international environment by expanding the number and scope of shaping exercises. This book illuminates an understudied but frequently common tool of military statecraft for students, practitioners, and interested readers to understand the varied use of military power in today’s competitive international system.
Military, statecraft, strategy, international security, security cooperation, great powers
Kyle J. Wolfley, Military Statecraft and the Rise of Shaping in World Politics (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2021).
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