Explaining a Military’s Will to Fight
In this chapter cohesion theory is introduced to explain why national militaries differ in two important ways: (1) the ability of most units to fight hard on the battlefield and, (2) the capacity of the armed forces as a whole to avoid disintegration when facing the possibility of losing a war. The first section defines military cohesion, the study's dependent variable. The second section outlines the collective action problem associated with motivating groups to sustain cooperation even though individual members risk high costs to achieve a common goal. Fighting in a war represents an extreme example of collective action. This chapter explains that group cohesion depends on the ability of a group's leaders to promote and enforce norms of unconditional loyalty. This core idea applies to groups of any size and function, but will be applied to a country's armed forces in subsequent chapters
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