The Causes of Peace, Part IV, Paradigm #2: Zilian’s Multi-Dimensional War Model

Paradigm #2 views war not as uni-dimensional but rather as multi-dimensional. War is more than warfare. Call this Zilian’s Multi-Dimensional War Model. To truly understand why one side won and the other lost, we cannot simply look at the military dimension of any war. Rather we must consider all the possible dimensions—such as, political, economic, social-demographic, cultural—of a state (or other political actor) to understand the outcome of a war, why “peace broke out” and war ended.

In analyzing past wars, Zilian’s Multi-Dimensional War Model forces our analysis to be more sophisticated, complex, and comprehensive. In examining the Peloponnesian War in the 5th century BC, this model helps us to understand the role of the decline in political leadership within Athens and the Delian League, not just the invincibility of the Spartans as warriors. In addressing the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars of France in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, it helps us to appreciate the role of the nation in arms and the lack of cooperation among the allies in understanding the many early victories of France. In analyzing the victory of the Allies in World War II, it forces us to think about the role political-military relations within the U.S. and among the Allies as factors in their success. In evaluating the Vietnam War, it demonstrates the importance of considering political will on both sides.

For the American Civil War, overall, peace broke out in the spring of 1865 because, not only in the military sphere, but also in the political and economic spheres, the North possessed at the outset or gained a number of distinct advantages over the South as the war progressed. These advantages, coupled with its better decision making in these spheres, eventually caused the South’s will to crumble faster than the North’s. (Please Part V.)

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