Why the West doesn't win wars and what we need to do about it

Sean McFate talks about his newest book Goliath which looks at warfare in the 21st century and examines why the West doesn't win wars and what we need to do in this new age of war.

Why has the West stopped winning wars? The last time it won decisively was 1945. It has the militaries, so what's the problem? This matters because autocrats, terrorists, and other threats are rising everywhere. The West struggles because it suffers from strategic atrophy. Warfare has moved on, yet the West yearns to fight conventional wars like it's WWII, the "glory days," and then wonders why it no longer wins. Warfare has changed and we must change too. Sean McFate explains how.

Listen to the podcast: Goliath

Download the podcast: Goliath

Event recorded 24 October 2019.


Sean McFate is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and a professor of strategy at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and the National Defense University in Washington DC. Additionally, he serves as an Advisor to Oxford University’s Centre for Technology and Global Affairs. McFate’s career began as a paratrooper and officer in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, and then he became a private military contractor. His newest book Goliath: Why the West Doesn't Win Wars. And What We Need to Do About It (UK version) has been called “The Freakonomics of modern warfare.” It was picked by The Times and The London Evening Standard for their books of the summer 2019. McFate wrote the novels Shadow War and Deep Black, part of the Tom Locke series based on his own experiences. McFate holds a PhD in International Relations from LSE.

Christopher Coker is Director of LSE IDEAS and Professor of International Relations at LSE.

LSE IDEAS (@lseideas) is LSE's foreign policy think tank. We connect academic knowledge of diplomacy and strategy with the people who use it.