Efficacy of Air Power in the Kosovo War Essay

Efficacy of Air Power in the Kosovo War Essay

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In Power over Peoples by Daniel Headrick, the timeline of the book narrates the evolution of imperialism and the utilization of evolving technology in the modern era. Early on, Headrick defines technology as the “ways in which humans use the materials and energy in the environment for their own ends, beyond what they can do with their bodies.” (Headrick 3) The technology used in imperialism began very simply in the form of wooden sailing ships and sharper swords, but has evolved today to be incredibly advanced. Headrick focuses on air power as the military strategy to define the last twenty or so years of military conflicts in his final chapters, ending with a realization that the advantage of technology has faded. Headrick proves with his examples that even today’s most advanced militaries can be defeated by those who are less advanced by simply using different tactics and producing adverse political consequences.
The United States’ air campaign over Serbia in 1999, like the Gulf War and Desert Storm, was a dazzling display of the advancing capabilities of US aircraft and munitions. President Clinton declared before the engagement that any involvement would be in the form of air strikes (Kosovo). By the end of the air campaign, 35% of munitions used were guided by new technology such as GPS and laser designators (Hammond). The effectiveness of US military assets in Serbia were no doubt impressive, however the initial goals of NATO and the UN were not satisfied, further proving Headrick’s argument that the age of technology does not guarantee victory for its holders.
The road to US and NATO involvement in Serbia was a long one, dating back to 1992 when the United States denied recognition to the breakaway republic of Kosovo mai...

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...s in previous decades, with one defined aggressor opposable by brute force and precision. Wars must be fought first with diplomacy, and military action must be carefully planned to satisfy goals. The current advanced state of war technology and subsequent race for more advancement is a futile one, which is unlikely to better accomplish future political goals in such conflicts.

Works Cited

Gibbs, David N. "Was Kosovo The Good War?" Third World Traveler. N.p., July-Aug. 2009. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
Hammond, Dr. Grant T. "Myths of the Air War over Serbia." Air University. Aerospace Power Journal, Winter 2000. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
Headrick, Daniel R. Power Over Peoples: Technology, Environments, and Western Imperialism, 1400 to the Present. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010.
"Kosovo Chronology, A." PBS. WGBH Educational Foundation, Feb. 2000. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.

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