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Megachange: The World in 2050 by John Andrews, Daniel Franklin

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8 The future of war: the weak become strong

Matthew Symonds

Western military primacy will diminish – just as new threats join old ones

DEFENCE PLANNERS INVARIABLY SAY that their goal is to create forces that are flexible and adaptable. That is because they know how hard it is to predict what the next war or wars will be like – and therefore precisely the kind of fighting forces that will be needed. They have to try to guess, but if they bet too heavily on a guess that turns out to be wrong, the result may be national catastrophe. When it comes to warfare, it is difficult predicting even a decade ahead, let alone several.

Britain’s 2010 strategic defence and security review (SDSR) shows how quickly experts can be proved wrong. As part of its effort ...

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