Great Strategic Rivalries: From The Classical World to the by James Lacey

By James Lacey

From the mythical antagonism among Athens and Sparta throughout the Peloponnesian battle to the Napoleonic Wars and the 2 global Wars of the 20 th century, the earlier is plagued by long term strategic rivalries. heritage tells us that such enduring rivalries can lead to one in all 3 ways: a sequence of onerous conflicts within which one aspect finally prevails, as relating to the Punic Wars among historical Rome and Carthage, a calm and confidently orderly transition, just like the contention among nice Britain and the U.S. on the flip of the 20 th century, or a one-sided cave in, akin to the belief of the chilly struggle with the autumn of the Soviet Union. although, despite a wealth of ancient examples, the way forward for kingdom rivalries continues to be a question of conjecture. nice Strategic Rivalries explores the motives and implications of prior strategic rivalries, revealing classes for the present geopolitical panorama. every one bankruptcy bargains an obtainable narrative of a traditionally major competition, comprehensively masking the political, diplomatic, monetary, and army dimensions of its background. that includes unique essays through world-class historians--including Barry Strauss, Geoffrey Parker, Williamson Murray, and Geoffrey Wawro--this assortment presents an in-depth examine how interstate relatives become usually violent rivalries and the way those are eventually resolved. even more than an enticing heritage, nice Strategic Rivalries comprises necessary perception into present conflicts worldwide for policymakers and coverage watchers alike.

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Unfortunately, within such a global order the United States may be unable to dictate every solution. Still, it 16 Introduction 17 may be one where the United States can still have a strong influence in most affairs—​something similar to that of the United Kingdom from 1815 to at least 1914. The other alternative is a US retreat from hegemonic power (no longer accepting the role of global policeman), perhaps with the specific intent of avoiding a possibly draining rivalry—​assuming that avoiding a rivalry is even possible, as rivalries have an internal dynamic that makes them difficult, if not impossible, to avoid.

Most rivalries are sustained over long periods of intermittent violent conflict in which each successive round of fighting increases the intensity of the conflict. Between these wars, passions rarely subside, and the competition continues. In virtually every case, particularly in the modern era, this ongoing “peacetime” competition is fought out primarily in the communications and commercial-​economic sphere. Moreover, even during periods of peace, rival states often employ proxies to continue armed conflicts.

Unfortunately, this same road system proved of inestimable value as an invasion corridor for Alexander the Great. In another example, the Roman Empire put so much effort into its transportation networks that much of the system survives today. For those who doubt these roads were arteries for information and military forces rather than trade, it is worth noting that no Roman road was ever large enough for two carts to pass side by side. Similarly, and centuries later, the British expended huge sums maintaining and defending the sea lanes that linked its vast global empire.

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