Force, insecurity, and failure
in The sword is not enough
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The primacy of military force as an instrument of statecraft can often create greater insecurity, failed political objectives, and new problems. The reliance on force may cause the possibility of peace to grow more distant as the threat and use of force result in increasing counter-attacks, an arms race, bolstering a rival’s international political standing, undermining support in one’s own society for negotiations, strengthening a rival’s view that one is hostile, casualties and loss of territory, and the creation of a wholly new enemy organization. Moshe Sharett, in the 1950s, and Mahmoud Abbas, in the 2000s, both pushed for recognition of the dangers of always turning to a forceful resolution. Case studies of the Gaza Raid and Suez war (1955–1956), the 1967 Arab–Israeli war, the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and the second Palestinian intifada (uprising) that began in late 2000 show how force may backfire.

The sword is not enough

Arabs, Israelis, and the limits of military force


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