The oldest question in the study of international relations (IR) is: what helps armies win their battles?  This is the IR question the ancients struggled over more than any other.  The Old Testament, for example, is replete with discussions of armies fighting and trying to win battles, such as the Israelites hoping the Ark of the Covenant would bring them victory, and successfully using an ambush feint at the Canaanite city of Ai.  Over the millennia, scholars, and observers from Thucydides to Sun Tzu to Machiavelli to contemporary political scientists have been keen to move beyond exploring material answers to this question, that bigger armies with better weapons win, to developing non-material answers, that cultural, ideational, political, and social factors might help explain war and battle outcomes.[1] Are the armies of some kinds of societies more likely to win?  Self-servingly, some have asked, might some noble virtue hard wired into our national identity also help us win at arms?  Conversely, might some fatal flaw within our cultural or political genetic code fate us to be destroyed?

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