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  • 1.
    Honig, Jan Willem
    et al.
    Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda, (NLD), King’s College London, (GBR).
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Strategy Division.
    An Exemplary Defeat: The West in Afghanistan, 2001-20212023In: Armed forces and society, ISSN 0095-327X, E-ISSN 1556-0848, Vol. 49, no 4, p. 989-1000Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Western defeat in Afghanistan was due to an inadequate process of strategic reflection informed, first, by an overestimation of the attractiveness of the Western political agenda to Afghans and, second, by overconfidence in the effectiveness of its military approach. As a corollary, popular support for the Taliban was underestimated. The insurgents possessed a degree of what we term strategic cohesion-a sociopolitical and military embeddedness within society-that produced a far stronger strategic effectiveness than we could replicate in our Afghan allies. Furthermore, a military-professional mindset underestimated the degree to which political considerations permeated the battlefield. The political effect of military actions was insufficiently integrated into strategic practice. Specifically, the linchpin officer in staff planning and field operations in Western armies struggled to act as what we term strategic colonels. In both respects, the war continues to offer important lessons for Western involvement in future conflict, including with Russia and China.

  • 2.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    A Conventional War: Escalation in the War in Donbas, Ukraine2021In: Journal of Slavic Military Studies, ISSN 1351-8046, E-ISSN 1556-3006, Vol. 34, no 1, p. 24-49Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The War in Donbas was in its early phases largely fought between non-state volunteer battalions and separatist forces. Yet unlike the expected theories of non-state actors, the war witnessed limited and symmetrical acts of escalation and rather conventional warfare. Building on primary Ukrainian sources, I argue that this limited escalation stems in part from shared cultural and military norms — a common normative framework — possessed by the belligerents. The contribution of this article is an empirical chronology of the War in Donbas, as well as a discussion of the influence of culture and norms in escalatory dynamics and use of force.

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  • 3.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    All krigföring är av hybrid natur2016In: Statsvetenskaplig Tidskrift, ISSN 0039-0747, Vol. 118, no 4, p. 623-641Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    All Warfare is Hybrid.

    It has recently been argued that a new form of warfare – hybrid warfare – is fundamentally changing the way our enemies fight against us. This supposedly unprecedented form of warfare is characterized by the mixing of methods and ways of organization, as well as the blurring of the line between war and peace. This article argues that hybrid warfare is just the newest military buzzword around. While the concept highlights fundamental questions regarding war and democratic norms of civil-military relations, it provides no answers. Rather, it harks back to an imaginary past characterized by simpleness and clarity. A thorough reading of the extensive literature on modern warfare would show that the concept describes what has become the norm: all warfare is hybrid. As with other unclear concepts built on shaky foundations, it is difficult to see how hybrid warfare can contribute to better understanding or policymaking.

  • 4.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Strategy Division. School of Social Sciences, Södertörn University, Stockholm, (SWE).
    Ambiguity and Methodological Transparency in the Study of Civil War: An Answer to Themner’s ‘Lingering Command Structures’ in Liberia2022In: Civil Wars, ISSN 1369-8249, E-ISSN 1743-968X, Vol. 24, no 4, p. 524-534Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Researchers who study civil wars and other armed conflicts are bound to face ambiguities. This article continues the discussion about research brokers in conflict zones that started in a 2019 special issue of Civil Wars and scrutinises the finding that Liberian wartime command structures continue to linger in informal guises long to the post-conflict. Absent transparent acknowledging of the ambiguities it glosses over, past scholarship risks a far too neat story that imbues arguments with untested assumptions. The result neither captures the complexity of contemporary realities of Liberian former combatants nor helps Liberia to move forward from its difficult past.

  • 5.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy. Department of Sociology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
    Broadening the Perspective on Military Cohesion2018In: Armed forces and society, ISSN 0095-327X, E-ISSN 1556-0848, Vol. 44, no 4, p. 571-586Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is difficult to underestimate the importance of cohesion for armed groups or organizations specialized and engaged in organized violence. This article argues that the recent debate on military cohesion has been far too narrow as it focused on Western state militaries during the 20th and 21st centuries, and even then only on the microlevel. It is necessary to broaden the perspective in order to construct theories that encompass even the vast majority of armed groups—the non-Western, nonstate, and nonmodern. This article advocates two ways of doing so: the investigation of cases that belong to these three types and broadening analysis to two new levels of analysis—the meso-level of armed groups and the macro-level, which contains state and society. Cohesion is established through harmonizing these three levels, which necessitates including them in the analysis in the first place.

  • 6.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy. Uppsala universitet, Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning.
    Bush generals and small boy battalions: military cohesion in Liberia and beyond2016Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    All organizations involved in war are concerned with military cohesion. Yet previous studies have only investigated cohesion in a very narrow manner, focusing almost solely on Western state militaries or on micro-level explanations. This dissertation argues for the need to broaden this perspective. It focuses on three classic sources of cohesion – coercion, compensation and constructs (such as identity and ideology) – and investigates their relevance in the Second Liberian Civil War (1999-2003). More specifically, this dissertation consists of an inquiry of how the conflict's three main military organizations – Charles Taylor’s Government of Liberia (GoL), the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) – drew on these three sources to foster cohesion. Based on thirteen months of ethnographic fieldwork with former combatants, this dissertation contains five parts: an introduction, which focuses on issues of theory and method, and four essays that investigate the three sources of cohesion in the three organizations. Essay I focuses on the LURD rebels, and provides an insider account of their strategy. It shows that even decentralized movements like the LURD can execute strategy, and contends that the LURD fought its fiercest battles not against the government, but to keep itself together. Essay II focuses on coercion, and counters the prevailing view of African rebels’ extensive use of coercion to keep themselves together. Since extreme coercion in particular remained illegitimate, its use would have decreased, rather than increased, cohesion. Essay III investigates the government militias to whom warfighting was subcontracted. In a context characterized by a weak state and fragmented social organization, compensation may have remained the only available source of cohesion. Essay IV investigates identities as sources of cohesion. It argues that while identities are a powerful cohesive source, they must be both created and maintained to remain relevant. Taken together, this dissertation argues for a more comprehensive approach to the investigation of cohesion, and one that also takes into account mezzo- and macro-level factors.

  • 7.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Conflict chatnography: Instant messaging apps, social media and conflict ethnography in Ukraine2020In: Ethnography, ISSN 1466-1381, E-ISSN 1741-2714, Vol. 21, no 1, p. 71-91Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Social media and instant messaging are fast becoming an integral part of contemporary life, and subsequently of ethnographic research. As ethnography is essentially a process defined by relations between people, this article investigates how online interaction influenced my relationships with the people I studied: Ukrainian volunteer battalions. Framed in a broader context of conflict ethnography, the resulting chatnography made access to informants tremendously easier, and allowed for remote data collection. Chatnography nevertheless exacerbated ethical challenges posed by study of armed conflict. The blending of offline and online also led to despatialization, and the blurring of personal and professional. This questions the traditional notion of the ‘field’, while more immediately threatening to limit my private life. While not a magic bullet, the convenience of chatnography means that it will be here for years to come. This article offers an attempt to investigate what this entails in practice.

  • 8.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Conflict Ethnography Goes Online: Chatnography of the Ukrainian Volunteer Battalions2020In: The Companion to Peace and Conflict Fieldwork / [ed] Roger Mac Ginty, Roddy Brett, Birte Vogel, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020, p. 207-221Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter discusses how conflict ethnography—ethnography attuned to the challenges of researching armed conflict—went online in my study of Ukrainian volunteer battalions. This online turn was both unexpected and exciting. While I had never been particularly interested in online research, social media and instant messaging nevertheless appeared to offer unforeseen opportunities for remotely researching a scantly studied conflict. In this chapter, I describe three revelatory moments that marked the rise, fall and plateau of the resulting chatnography, or the interaction through instant messaging apps and social media. Ultimately, I advocate caution when it comes to the use of digital methods in the study of armed conflict: while chatnography may be unavoidable, it can only work as one dimension of a broader ethnographic effort.

  • 9.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy. Uppsala universitet, Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning.
    Contracting war in West Africa: cohesion and the business of war in Charles Taylor's LiberiaManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In the existing literature, compensation is often understood to be an inferior source of cohesion in military organizations. At the same time, African conflicts have especially been described as being driven by material factors. Through an investigation of the militia forces that fought for Charles Taylor’s Government of Liberia, this paper seeks to nuance these views. More specifically, it makes three claims. Firstly, the organization of these forces was looser than is often claimed in previous literature, which assumes tight and often coercive military patrimonialism. Resultantly, the militias did not enjoy the interpersonal bonds of solidarity that has dominated cohesion literature since the Second World War. Secondly, since Taylor chose to suppress attempts to build cohesion around ethnicity, it played a subordinate role in unifying the militias. Thirdly, Taylor instead relied on compensation, which allowed for the broad mobilization of forces. The combination of militias’ hopes of inclusion into the state patrimony and insufficient resources to realize this, left the cohesion of the militias fragile. Ultimately, this paper questions both whether Taylor had any choice but to resort to compensation in a context with weak state and fragmented social organization, but also whether the strategy is as inefficient as often thought.

  • 10.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Covid-19, Ebola, and the Ethnographic Distance2020Other (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
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  • 11.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Strategy Division.
    Culture and Ethnography in Understanding the War in Ukraine2022Other (Other academic)
  • 12.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Strategy Division.
    Explaining the Finnish – and Swedish – Ascent to NATO2023In: Social Anthropology, ISSN 0964-0282, E-ISSN 1469-8676, Vol. 31, no 2, p. 134-137Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It has been a year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine started. It is clear that the impact of this war goes far beyond Ukraine. We already know that it will have long-lasting consequences for the regional and global economy, in particular for energy and food security. The war is reshuffling old geo-political arrangements and alliances. It is also shaping the political landscapes of European states: international relations, inflation and migration are increasingly becoming key topics in national elections.

  • 13.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Hoffman, Danny: Monrovia Modern. Urban Form and Political Imagination in Liberia2018In: Anthropos: Internationale Zeitschrift für Völker- und Sprachenkunde, ISSN 0257-9774, Vol. 113, no 2, p. 734-734Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 14.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Hybridisodan evoluutio ja sen seuraukset2021In: Sotilasaikakauslehti, no 7Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [fi]

    Hybridisota on siitä harvinainen sotatieteellinen käsite, että sen ovat valjastaneet yleisesti käyttöön niin tutkijat, media kuin päätöksentekijätkin. Käsitteestä on kirjoitettu paljon, mutta keskustelussa on viime aikoina nähty harvoja tuoreita näkökulmia. Yksi olennainen ja tähänastisessa keskustellussa puuttunut näkökulma on hybridisodan evoluutio ja tämän seuraukset. Kirjoittaja käsittelee hybridisotakäsitteen alkuperää ja käsitteen laajentumista osana nykyaikaisen sodan sodankäynnin muutosta.

  • 15.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy. Department of Sociology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
    Introduction to the Armed Forces & Society Forum on Broadening the Perspective on Military Cohesion2018In: Armed forces and society, ISSN 0095-327X, E-ISSN 1556-0848, Vol. 44, no 4, p. 563-570Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This Armed Forces & Society forum concentrates on broadening the perspective on military cohesion. This introduction, and the five articles that it acts as a preamble to, argues for the need to widen the scope of the recent debate on military cohesion, which in part took place in this very journal. This debate narrowly focused on Western state militaries during the 20th and 21st centuries and even then on the microlevel. The articles in this issue contribute to this broadening by exploring military cohesion in non-Western or nonmodern contexts, as well as through new methods, thus individually and collectively suggesting new ways forward to further our understanding of military cohesion.

  • 16.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Liberia Incorporated: military contracting, cohesion and inclusion in Charles Taylor’s Liberia2017In: Conflict, Security and Development, ISSN 1467-8802, E-ISSN 1478-1174, Vol. 17, no 1, p. 53-72Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the existing literature, compensation is often understood to be an inferior source of cohesion in military organisations. Through an investigation of the militias who fought for Charles Taylor’s government of Liberia, this paper makes three claims. Firstly, the organisation of these forces was looser than is often claimed in previous literature, which assumes tight and often coercive military patrimonialism. Consequently, the militias did not enjoy the interpersonal bonds of solidarity that have dominated recent cohesion literature. Secondly, since Taylor chose to suppress attempts to build cohesion around ethnicity, it played a subordinate role in unifying the militias. Thirdly, Taylor instead relied on military contracting and compensation, which allowed for the broad mobilisation of forces. The combination of militias’ hopes of inclusion into the state patrimony and insufficient resources to realise this left the cohesion of the militias fragile. Ultimately, this paper questions both whether Taylor had any choice but to resort to compensation in a context with a weak state and fragmented social organisation, and also whether the strategy is as inefficient as often thought.

  • 17.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy. Uppsala universitet, Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning.
    Mystical and modern transformations in the Liberian Civil War2016In: Transforming Warriors: The Ritual Organization of Military Force / [ed] Peter Haldén and Peter Jackson, London/New York: Routledge, 2016, p. 126-143Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This essay investigates military transformation within the context of the Liberian civil wars (1989-1996 and 1999-2003). Military transformation is understood as a process of turning a civilian into a fighter, and in Liberia two ideal types of fighters materialized: the trained soldier and the mystical combatant. Whereas the first drew from their professional military training and international military culture, the second drew on mystical protection. These two ways of transformation also became sources of authority within the military organizations that fought the wars. It was ultimately training that offered more than protection alone: the former military personnel dominated command positions. Training also succeeded in the creation of forming a shared identity, which continues to date. Whereas most combatants demobilized and not fought again since, the identities of soldiers are still very much alive. This has partly to do with the fact that the Liberian government continues to pay pensions to those that have served in the armed forces, which has led to the institutionalization of these identities. The view of military personnel as security professionals also helps to maintain these identities as relevant. While constructing and maintaining this kind of professional cohesion is important during conflicts, it can have long-term consequences for peace-building.

  • 18.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy. Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning, Uppsala universitet, Uppsala, Sweden.
    "No Die, No Rest?": Coercive Discipline in Liberian Military Organisations2015In: Africa Spectrum, ISSN 0002-0397, E-ISSN 1868-6869, Vol. 50, no 2, p. 3-29Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Discipline forms the backbone of all military organisations. While discipline is traditionally associated with draconian punishment, this association is increasingly only applied to non-Western contexts. African rebel movements and similar, weak organisations are represented especially often as lacking non-coercive means of instilling discipline. This article explores the utility of coercive discipline in one such context – the Second Liberian Civil War (1999–2003). I argue that Liberia’s weak military organisations faced significant restrictions when it came to employing direct coercion. Executions, which are often equated with coercion in existing literature, threatened to rive the already frail organisations. Even other formal instruments of discipline, such as military hierarchies and rules and regulations, remained contested throughout the war. Consequently, more indirect means were adopted. Ultimately, the main users of coercion were not military organisations, but peers. This suggests that it is easier for strong organisations to coerce their members, and that the relationship between coercion and organisational strength may need to be reassessed. Furthermore, existing positive perceptions of camaraderie between brothers-in-arms requires re-evaluation.

  • 19.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    On Brokers, Commodification of Information and Liberian Former Combatants2019In: Civil Wars, ISSN 1369-8249, E-ISSN 1743-968X, Vol. 21, no 2, p. 179-199Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article investigates research brokers and commodification of information.When combined with inherently asymmetric research relationships and successfulgatekeeping, brokers create demand and become indispensable.Potential negative effects of brokerage and commodification of informationare discussed through experiences studying former combatants in Liberia.There bargains with brokers who could facilitate access to this hidden populationresulted in a vicious circle as brokers confirmed what researchers wantedto hear. The attention to this issue was first brought by subsequent ethnographyand participant observation, which also offer the promise of an ethicallydefensible way of collecting information.

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  • 20.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    On Liberian secret societies and conflict resolution2019In: Nordic Journal of African Studies, ISSN 1235-4481, E-ISSN 1459-9465, Vol. 28, no 1Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Recent times have witnessed a rising interest in micro-level conflict resolution mechanisms in the form of religious and traditional leaders due to their perceived legitimacy central to peace. Based on 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork, this article updates the decades old literature on Liberian secret societies to post-conflict realities, focusing especially on these leaders’ peacebuilding potential. While states remain the main instrument for upholding domestic order, the weak Liberian state continues to rely on societies for legitimacy in conflict resolution and governance alike. The article offers a contemporary look at the Liberian societies, and especially their uneasy relationship with the state: the two are so entwined that it is difficult to separate the two. Yet this also poses problems for the societies, as the proximity threatens their ultimately local legitimacy. While peacemakers and statebuilders alike are tempted to co-opt societies to gain legitimacy, the article questions whether this is always desirable or possible.

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  • 21.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    On 'War and Society'2020In: Journal of Perpetrator Research, E-ISSN 2514-7897, Vol. 3, no 1, p. 252-257Article, book review (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Review of Miguel A. Centeno and Elaine Enriquez, War & Society (Cambridge: Polity, 2017).

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  • 22.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Strategy Division.
    ‘Once a combatant, always a combatant’? Revisiting assumptions about Liberian former combatant networks2022In: Journal of Modern African Studies, ISSN 0022-278X, E-ISSN 1469-7777, Vol. 60, no 1, p. 23-43Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Building on 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork, this article draws from military sociology to revisit past portrayals of Liberian former combatant networks and assesses four central assumptions connected to them: that formal wartime command structures continue as informal networks long after the end of the war; that former combatants are united by a wartime identity and form a community to an extent separated from the surrounding society; that wartime experiences have had a major disciplining effect on former combatants; and that former combatants are both good mobilisers and easy to mobilise in elections and armed conflict alike. Finding limited evidence close to two decades after the end of war to support these assumptions, I ultimately ask whether it would be more productive to both theory and Liberians alike to widen investigation from former combatants to structural issues that affect many more in the country.

  • 23.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Operation Jungle Fire: The Consolidation of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy2021In: Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, ISSN 1057-610X, E-ISSN 1521-0731Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Drawing on 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork, this article investigates the cooperative consolidation of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), a rebel movement that in 1999-2003 sought to rid Liberia of President Charles Taylor. The LURD faced many obstacles to consolidation, including a history of ethnic fragmentation and infighting, leadership conflicts, lack of territory inside Liberia, and a paucity of resources. Yet, despite these hurdles, the LURD succeeded in forging a coalition that lasted just long enough to oust Taylor. It did this by adopting three maxims that emphasized institutional learning, interethnic power sharing, and Guinean sponsorship.

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  • 24.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Pintapuolinen käsitys tulevasta sodasta2021In: Ulkopolitiikka, ISSN 0501-0659, no 4Article, book review (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
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  • 25.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Strategy Division.
    Sodan teoria ja Venäjän sota Ukrainassa 2013–20222023In: Finnish Review of East European Studies, ISSN 1237-6051, Vol. 30, no 1, p. 4-23Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Theory of war and Russia’s war in Ukraine 2013–2023

    Why is it easier to recognise Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 as war in comparison to the fighting in Donbas that begun in the spring of 2014? The simplest answer to the question can be found in our way of understanding war as large-scale interstate violence to disarm our opponents, as envisaged in the earlier works of Carl von Clausewitz. Until 2022, the war in Ukraine was considered too limited, and because of its politics, ambi-guous. This resulted in the passivity of Western countries. Theoretically, attempts were made to add prefixes to war to distinguish it from the “traditional” war described above. However, Clausewitz’s unfinished theory is contradictory: war can be understood to constitute both violence and politics. Clausewitz’s later theory allows an understanding of war as a broader and more political phenomenon. The modern concept of strategy – which focuses on the relationship between goals, means and ways – also derives from Clausewitz. Clausewitz’s theory emphasises war as a political instrument. His theory consists of concepts that form an analytical framework which can be used to understand, and ultimately win, wars. Various concepts of war are used in a chronological analysis of the situation in Ukraine, which spans from the end of 2013 to early 2023.

  • 26.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Sodasta ja Yhteiskunnasta: Review of Miguel A. Centeno & Elaino Enriquez: War & Society2019In: Sosiologia, ISSN 0038-1640, Sosiologia, ISSN 0038-1640, Vol. 56, no 2, p. 194-197Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 27.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Strategy, State-centrism and Pessimism: the Case of Russia, 20192019In: Kungl Krigsvetenskapsakademiens Handlingar och Tidskrift, ISSN 0023-5369, no 3, p. 132-136Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Artikeln tar upp debatten om Rysslands krig mot Ukraina, men fäster blicken på två övergripande och ofta framkommande aspekter av strategisk teori, fokus på staten som analysnivå samt pessimism. Båda är vanligt förekommande aspekter även i pågående debatt om Ryssland, inte minst den som rör det ryska hotet. I denna debatt ses Ryssland ofta som en monolit som kontrolleras av president Vladimir Putin. I slutändan korrelerar hans grad av kontroll över statsmakten med hot. Men, stämmer bilden av Putin som en mästerlig manipulator och strateg som har övertag över västvärlden? I artikeln frågas vad Ryssland ”är” och om ”den” gör strategi? Tendensen att se ”ett” Ryssland som kontrolleras av Putin har i sin tur bidragit till överskattning och pessimism. Detta har i sin tur hindrat bra strategi. Eftersom Finlands historiskt pessimistiska synsätt mot Ryssland ofta uppfattas ha lett till bra strategi är det i synnerhet finska exempel som tas upp i texten. I slutändan är det mycket som vi inte vet om Ryssland. Det är därför lättare att göra teoretiska poäng av situationen. Bra strategi bygger på korrekt analys av den rådande situationen. Medvetenhet om tendenser att fokusera på faktorerna stater och pessimism kan därför nyansera framtida debatter, och bidra till bättre strategi.

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  • 28.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy. Uppsala Univ, Dept Peace & Conflict Res, Uppsala, Sweden.
    'Taylor Must Go': The Strategy of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy2015In: Small Wars & Insurgencies, ISSN 0959-2318, E-ISSN 1743-9558, Vol. 26, no 2, p. 248-270Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In 1999, rebels rose to oppose the newly elected former warlord Charles Taylor in Liberia. Motivated by a variety of reasons, the minimal common denominator of these rebels, who assumed the name Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), was that Charles Taylor must leave the country. The decentralized nature of LURD though stands out in their struggle, as they don't fit the unitary actor assumed by literature on strategy, nor the alternative conception of decentralized forces fighting for purely local reasons. Understanding such aberrations as LURD is the first step to finding strategies that can incorporate and manage them.

  • 29.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    The Evolution of Hybrid Warfare: Implications for Strategy and the Military Profession2021In: Parameters, ISSN 0031-1723, E-ISSN 2158-2106, Vol. 51, no 3, p. 115-127, article id 11Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The concept of hybrid war has evolved from operational-level use of military means and methods in war toward strategic-level use of nonmilitary means in a gray zone below the threshold of war. This article considers this evolution and its implications for strategy and the military profession by contrasting past and current use of the hybrid war concept and raising critical questions for policy and military practitioners.

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  • 30.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    The MODEL social structure of an armed group: From Liberian refugees to heroes of Côte d’Ivoire and liberators of the homeland2018In: Small Wars & Insurgencies, ISSN 0959-2318, E-ISSN 1743-9558, Vol. 29, no 4, p. 776-800Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article investigates the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) through a revised Weberian framework that focuses on legitimacy and offers a thick description of the different phases of this armed group. The article argues that the key to fostering cohesion is the harmonization of the micro, meso, and macro levels. This proved a difficult undertaking for the MODEL. Not only did the MODEL lack material resources but it also relied on different and evolving kinds of legitimacy on these levels. With its sources of legitimacy exhausted after the war, the MODEL ceased to exist.

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  • 31.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    The people's war in Ukraine2018In: Kungl Krigsvetenskapsakademiens Handlingar och Tidskrift, ISSN 0023-5369, no 4, p. 180-183Article, book review (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Review of Volunteer Battalions: Story of a Heroic Deed of Battalions That Saved Ukraine by Kateryna Hladka, Veronika Myronova, Oleg Pokalchuk, Vasilisa Trofymovych and Artem Shevchenko

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  • 32.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Strategy Division.
    The utility of ethnography for understanding (the Russo-Ukrainian) war2022In: HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, ISSN 2575-1433, E-ISSN 2049-1115, Vol. 12, no 3, p. 677-685Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Russo-Ukrainian war raises the question about the utility of ethnography in understanding interstate war. As anthropologyand sociology have historically punched below their weight when it comes to understanding interstate war and warfare, much ofthe academic study of war has been occupied by political science. In this article I discuss why this is unfortunate, yet not inev-itable. I also discuss three strengths of ethnography in studying war. First, ethnography helps us to restore ambiguity into po-larized understandings of war. Second, ethnography can assist us in understanding strategy because of its focus on people andthe societies we constitute. Third, ethnography helps with the ethical responsibility of giving war a human face. I conclude byarguing that war is too important to be left to generals and political scientists, but that this is inevitable if ethnographers con-tinue to distance themselves from the study of war.

  • 33.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Toward Strategic Cohesion: A Reply to King’s Criticism of the Call for a Broader View of Cohesion2021In: Armed forces and society, ISSN 0095-327X, E-ISSN 1556-0848, Vol. 47, no 3, p. 596-603Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In October 2018, Armed Forces & Society published a special issue that called for a theoretical and methodological broadening of the study of cohesion. In a response, King accuses me of ignoring his 2013 book The Combat Soldier, which he feels had already made this call redundant. This answer explains why this is not the case. The Combat Soldier ticks the three boxes of modern, Western, and state military that have dominated the study of cohesion. The resulting narrow vantage point affirms problematic assumptions of Western concepts as absolutes with universal validity with little room for other models of sociopolitical interaction. This becomes especially problematic when King defines cohesion as tactical-level combat performance, the be-all and end-all of what makes, and decides, war. The answer concludes with an appeal for truly interdisciplinary future studies of war that a broader understanding of cohesion, among other things, depends on.

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  • 34.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Vaikenevat veteraanit2021In: Politiikasta.fi, ISSN 2323-7090Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [fi]

    Suomalainen keskustelu Afganistanista ja muista kriisinhallintaoperaatioista on ollut vähäistä. Kansainvälisessä vertailussa on silmiinpistävää etenkin kriisinhallintaveteraanien vaikeneminen julkisesti. Vaikenemisen syiden ja seurausten käsittely on tärkeää niin inhimillisesti kuin yhteiskunnallisestikin.

  • 35.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    War as nothing but a duel: war as an institution and the construction of the Western military profession2020In: Journal of Military Studies, ISSN 2242-3524, E-ISSN 1799-3350, Vol. 9, no 1, p. 11-23Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Like all repetitive human interaction, even war has been institutionalized and fought according to conventions and norms. Historically, this institutionalization is apparent from the way war has been compared to the duel, first in the 14th century and most famously by Carl von Clausewitz 5 centuries later. This article continues this train of thought and argues that the observed limits of Western “professional orthodoxy” and “strategic vocabulary” can be traced to how war has been institutionalized by the military profession. This offers an alternative explanation to the prevailing views of why the West has struggled in contemporary wars: it is the fundamental mismatch between these professional norms in the West and those held by their opponents that forms the biggest asymmetry in contemporary war. As this asymmetry is unlikely to disappear, these professional norms need to be reconsidered: just like the aristocracy with the duel by the late 19th century, the Western military profession appears stuck in an institution that is increasingly becoming obsolete. Without such reconsideration, the attainment of decision – the central strategic objective in war – and hence victory in future wars will remain uncertain.

  • 36.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Haldén, Peter
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.
    Full-Spectrum Social Science for a Broader View on Cohesion2020In: Armed forces and society, ISSN 0095-327X, E-ISSN 1556-0848, Vol. 46, no 3, p. 517-522Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In October 2018, Armed Forces & Society published a special issue dedicated to broadening the perspective on military cohesion from the narrow focus on 20th and 21st Western state militaries and the microlevel. The special issue emphasized the need for a theoretical and methodological broadening of the study of cohesion: In order to understand the majority of armed groups in the world, it is necessary to investigate macro- and mesolevel preconditions of microlevel cohesion. Such preconditions include the existence of states, nations, and modern military organization. These are specific to modern, Western contexts, and rarely feature in historical or non-Western cases. In many cases, investigating these preconditions requires qualitative methods. In a critical response, Siebold contested some of the arguments of the special issue, claiming that our argument was exaggerated and our methodologies inadequate. In this reply, we seek to clarify some of the issues and arguments at stake.

  • 37.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Strategy Division.
    Kankainen, Ville
    Tampere University, (FIN).
    On Wargames and War: Modeling Carl von Clausewitz's Theory of War2023In: Representing Conflicts in Games: Antagonism, Rivalry, and Competition / [ed] Björn Sjöblom, Jonas Linderoth, Anders Frank, London: Routledge, 2023, p. 75-96Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The stated purpose of Carl von Clausewitz’s magnum opus On War, in which he presented the most comprehensive theory of war to date, was educational. Clausewitz saw that proper education departed from theory and concepts, which students were encouraged to reflect over and clarify. Although their common use in pedagogy, wargames often continue to struggle with incorporation of the seven factors always present at war in Clausewitz’ theory – violence, friction, chance, politics, trinity, victory and ethics. As a result, many games offer a rather conventional understanding of war that does not match reality. This chapter investigates how Clausewitz’s theory of war has been modelled in two popular ‘commercial-off-the-shelf’ tabletop wargames: Twilight Struggle and Paths of Glory. Based on an analysis of how the seven concepts of war have been modelled in these games, the chapter discusses how Clausewitz’s theory of war can be used to improve the pedagogy of war.

  • 38.
    Mohlin, Marcus
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Strategy Section.
    Käihkö, Ilmari
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Strategy Section.
    The Use of Battlefield Contractors in Post-Occupation Iraq2008In: Kungl Krigsvetenskapsakademiens Handlingar och Tidskrift, ISSN 0023-5369, Vol. 212, no 5, p. 8-35Article in journal (Refereed)
1 - 38 of 38
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