4/2002 Content

77 (2002) 4: Revolution in Military Affairs

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With Kant to war? The problematic tension between democracy and the Revolution in Military Affairs
Harald Müller / Niklas Schörnig

The current Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) is mainly driven by Western democracies, with the U.S. in a leading position. This is no coincidence, since the RMA promises to fulfil specific democratic demands: the avoidance of casualties – amongst one’s own and amongst the civilian population of the adversary. But the better democracies are implementing the concepts of the RMA, the lower the threshold to wage a war is dropping. This development alone justifies deep concern. But moreover, it has grave consequences for the future of arms control as it results in a two-fold dynamic: First, the West tries to keep the technological edge by every means bringing about an arms race with itself. And second, the most likely answer to this Western behaviour is what observers call “asymmetric responses” by states which feel themselves threatened by Western armament, especially the attempt to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

Information Warfare and the paradigm of the Revolution in Military Affairs: concepts, risks, and problems
Christian Mölling / Götz Neuneck

The “Revolution in Military Affairs” is a focal point of security policymaking and arms dynamics today. The basis of this [r]evolution is formed by the ever intensifying integration of information technology in strategies, weapon systems and armed forces’ structures. This debate is overlapped by a discourse on the role of information as a central factor in future warfare, both in terms of capabilities and threats. As this article shows, different concepts get mixed up under the generic term information warfare. However, the two main lines of argument, information-based warfare and cyberwar, show multiple differences. This becomes most visible if one takes a look at the different goals and means as well as the respective status of realization, but also with regard to the problems and risks as well as possible reactions.

Towards Post-human Warfare: Ethical Implications of the Revolution in Military Affairs
Christopher Coker

If the Revolution in Military Affairs represents the future of war it raises disturbing ethical questions about war as a humanistic experience. In the new military environment, soldiers and pilots will have little sense of their own agency as technology becomes the underlying dynamic. Nor will war have a subjective reality. Instead technologically produced realities in the form of virtual reality and simulation will mediate reality largely through technology. Instead of the reality of history we will have that of simulation. Finally, war will no longer offer an inter-subjective experience either. Instead of occupying the same community of fate with the enemy, the American military will be distanced both emotionally and psychologically from what is happening on the ground. What has distinguished the Western way of warfare in the last 2000 years from war practised by non-Western societies has been its humanistic rather than humanitarian features. But with the disappearance of those features we are moving towards a ’posthuman’ future, the ethical implications of which should be profoundly disturbing for both the public and the military alike.

The Debate about a Revolution in Military Affairs – A Comment in the Light of Public International Law
Thilo Marauhn

A discussion of the debate about a „Revolution in Military Affairs” (RMA) from the perspective of public international law is urgent. This does not mean to assess the legality of RMA as such but to discuss the often unintended side-effects of technological and conceptual changes in military affairs. These changes have an impact upon the ius contra bellum, the ius in bello and the law of arms control and disarmament. In all of these areas there are new challenges emerging in respect of new actors (e.g. terror networks) and new scenarios (e.g. transnational and asymmetric conflicts).


The Historian and Pacifist Ludwig Quidde (1858–1941) – Nobel peace prize winner of 1927
Karl Holl

Ludwig Quidde (1858–1941), son of a merchant in Bremen, started his scientific and public activities as an historian of the German Late Middle Ages with the edition of sources of this period. His political convictions being rooted in the democratic and republican aims of the March revolution his attitude towards the political development in Germany was one of a critical observer. The publication of his satirical pamphlet “Caligula” (1894) directed against Emperor William II led to an abrupt end of his scientific career. Henceforth, he was active mainly in politics within the framework of left liberal parties and, above all, in leading positions within the German peace movement. For this commitment he was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1927. Hitler’s seizure of power forced him into exile to Switzerland where he died in 1941.