Fortuna, chance, risk and opportunity in strategy from Antiquity to the Nuclear Age

Heuser, B. (2023) Fortuna, chance, risk and opportunity in strategy from Antiquity to the Nuclear Age. Journal of Strategic Studies, 46(6-7), pp. 1406-1433. (doi: 10.1080/01402390.2022.2111306)

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Abstract

Taking risks might be encouraged, both in business and military strategy, when the potential price of losing would not be excessive while the gains in winning, worth wagering such a bet. In military contexts, a side set on aggression and conquest might take such a risk. Chance, fortuna, determining the outcome of risk taking has been seen differently throughout history – fatalistically, as prevalent in the Middle Ages – as been something that could not be influenced, or, as in Antiquity and in more recent times, as a factor open to influence by the astute and forceful military commander, or to prudent planners. New situations could be seen as dangerous and risky, with risks against which one has to hedge. Or they could be seen as a chance to change things in one’s own interest. This might be done through extensive contingency planning, or by seizing an opportunity quickly, applying the genius general’s coup d’oeil to turn a new development to one’s advantage, always conscious that this was a gamble and the outcome uncertain. While such a gamble could win or lose a battle and in turn a war, in the nuclear age, such a gamble would seem difficult to justify given the potential negative outcomes.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Heuser, Professor Beatrice
Authors: Heuser, B.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Journal of Strategic Studies
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0140-2390
ISSN (Online):1743-937X
Published Online:17 October 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Author
First Published:First published in Journal of Strategic Studies 46(6-7):1406-1433
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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