Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Is Strategy an Illusion?

| Fall 2000


Does strategy exist? The skeptics say no: The realities of war—its boundless complexities and uncertainties—make effective strategy impossible. Others who respond positively nonetheless disagree on strategy's central features and its ability to influence the outcome of war. Defining strategy as "a plan for using military means to achieve political ends," Richard Betts of Columbia University examines ten critiques of the practicability of strategy and responds to each. Betts concludes that the prospects for successfully implementing a particular strategy are weak at best. With this qualification in mind, Betts then outlines several scenarios in which strategy can work.


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For Academic Citation: Betts, Richard K.. Is Strategy an Illusion?.” Quarterly Journal: International Security, vol. 25. no. 2. (Fall 2000):

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