Vicarious warfare: American strategy and the illusion of war on the cheap

Thomas Waldman

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


America has been at war for most of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and during that time has progressively moved towards a vicarious form of warfare, where key tasks are delegated to proxies, the military's exposure to danger is limited, and special forces and covert instruments are on the increase. Important strategic decisions are taken with minimal scrutiny or public engagement. This compelling account charts the historical emergence of this distinctive tradition of war and explains the factors driving its contemporary prominence. It contrasts the tactical advantages of vicarious warfare with its hidden costs and potential to cause significant strategic harm.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBristol, UK
PublisherBristol University Press
Number of pages320
ISBN (Electronic)9781529207033, 9781529207026
ISBN (Print)9781529206999
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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