If you thought the point of war was to win, this book will make youthink again.
David Keen questions the model of war as a contest between twosides aiming at political and military victory, and he also rejectsthe contrasting view that war represents a collapse into anarchy,mindless violence and ethnic hatred. Rather than a contest or acollapse, war is analysed as a system that has significantfunctions and that yields complex economic, political andpsychological benefits. Some may be more interested in prolonging awar than in ending it. War may help elites to derail democracy andsuppress dissent; it may be profitable for government and rebelactors; and it may allow armed groups to enjoy a sense of powerover unarmed civilians.
This book argues that understanding the complex functions ofwars alongside other forms of human disaster, such as famine andethnic strife, is essential if we are to reduce suffering and movetowards lasting peace agreements.
Complex Emergencies will be essential reading forstudents of development, political economy, political science andinternational relations.