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On the variable of strategic culture: Modus operandi of military interventions in the Middle East


[ 1 ] Gen. Jonas Žemaitis Lithuanian Military Academy, Political Science Department

Year of publication


Published in

Security and Defence Quarterly

Journal year: 2019 | Journal volume: vol. 23 | Journal number: no 1

Article type

scientific article

Publication language


  • Middle East
  • Military operations
  • Strategic defence
  • Theory
  • United States of America

EN The research subject of this article is the variable of strategic culture that has been subjected to some academic inertia since the Cold War period. The aim of this article is to define practical implications of the strategic culture through the prism of the neoclassical realist theory. It supports the argument that military interventional precedents in the Middle East since 2011 have been revealing adaptive considerations of the strategic culture as an intervening variable that implies interventional military decisions by the U.S. and its coalition partners. The first part of the article defines the precise role of this intervening variable as military interventional precedents are researched. This task is conducted by defining the general understanding of interventional initiatives, revealing structured assumptions of the neoclassical realist theory, and reconsidering the role of the strategic culture within that theoretical framework. The second part of the article shifts the attention to supportive empirical considerations regarding the strategic culture and perception of operational ideas – two specifi cally highlighted neoclassical realist assumptions. The article discloses that Western strategic culture is a changing intervening variable with a different level of permissiveness. A changing continuum of permissiveness is implied by interventional experiences that shape perception of the structural environment and dictate preferences for the power scale of interventional decisions. From this, the level of the structural environment’s permissiveness is defined. This permissiveness is associated with capabilities for implementing political objectives without further escalations of military power. Once the systemic environment becomes more permissive, the possibility of activating military intervention of various force-escalation becomes more conceivable.

Date of online publication


Pages (from - to)

97 - 125




License type

CC BY-NC-ND (attribution - noncommercial - no derivatives)

Open Access Mode

open journal

Release date


Date of Open Access to the publication

in press

Points of MNiSW / journal


Points of MNiSW / journal in years 2017-2021