Importance that a State’s History imposes on its Strategic Culture Essay

Importance that a State’s History imposes on its Strategic Culture Essay

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With the end of the Cold War in 1991, the international community encountered changing relations and strategic employment between state-actors. As intellectuals around the world identified this shifting landscape, scholarly interest re-surfaced asserting “that culture can affect significantly grand strategy and state behavior.”1 To this end, multiple models abound illustrating different factors and their impacts on basic, political, and strategic culture. Utilizing the Air Force Culture and Language Center’s (AFCLC) model of 12 cultural domains, a brief analysis of the domain of history seeks to explain the relationship between a state-actor’s history and its strategic culture. Specifically, history influences strategic culture through the shaping of state identity and influence on the national perceptive lenses. Before the analysis begins, one needs to define culture as used herein.
As illustrated in lectures at Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), culture can be viewed as a pyramid consisting of three divisions: core, political, and strategic culture.2 Core culture “shapes and influences certain behaviors and also serves to rationalize those behaviors.”3 Core culture forms the base of the pyramid, thereby illustrating the strength of this level as the foundation for the successive stages. The next echelon, political culture, consists of the “ ‘mind set’…that represents a disposition in favor of a range of alternatives”4 and forms the basis of the political institutions used in the governance of the country. Finally, strategic culture forms the tip of the pyramid and consists of the “beliefs, norms, attitudes about war-fighting and the proper employment of coercive power.”5 According to ACSC, four factors influence strategic cu...


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...op and apply policy designed to mitigate the distrust and preconceived notions of actions. Perhaps, future American policy-makers will consider the effect of Russian history on their strategic culture, thereby yielding better results when seeking conflict resolution in a given sphere of influence.



Works Cited

Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), Regional and Cultural Studies Presentation.
Air Force Culture and Language Center, Expeditionary Culture Field Guide: Philippines, available at
Gvosdev, Nikolas K. and Christopher Marsh. Russian Foreign Policy: Interests, Vectors, and Sectors. Los Angeles, CA: CQ Press, 2013
Lantis, Jeffrey S. “Strategic Culture and National Security Policy,” International
Studies Review 4, no. 3 (2002).
Trenin, Dmitri V. Getting Russia Right. Washington, D.C: Carnegie Endowment, 2007.


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