ScienceDaily (Mar. 31, 2010) — It is generally assumed that military technology that is offensive rather than defensive in nature leads to shorter wars. Yet, a new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that this assumption is not correct.
Nilsson's study of four different wars (the Winter War 1939, the Continuation War 1941-1943, the Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988 and the war between India and Pakistan 1965) shows that states do not always base their demands at the negotiation table on military capacity.
"A major problem arises when a state has offensive expectations that do not match what is actually seen on the battlefield. These seemingly unrealistic expectations can for example be a result of a conviction that God will step in and influence the outcome of a war. Another reason may be that a country for some reason expects its offensive ability to soon improve," says Nilsson.
Unfortunately, some states start wars expecting their attack-oriented technology to warrant quick success. Therefore, too much confidence in offensive technology may increase the likelihood of new wars and speed up arms racing, all due to a misunderstanding among decision makers. A better understanding of the potentials and limitations of military technology could lead to a world where many drawn-out and costly wars are avoided.