Use and Perception of Violence: A Girardian Approach to Asymmetric Warfare by Raphael Baeriswyl

This essay is based on a paper presented at a conference on "The moral dimension of asymmetrical warfare" organised by the Faculty of Military Sciences and the Ministry of Defence of the Netherlands. It combines RenĂ© Girard’s theses on societal violence with the latest analyses of those modern conflicts which strategists call "asymmetric." The Western military may find in Girardian anthropology an explanation for the accrued difficulty that they meet in their missions on modern battlefields. The application of RenĂ© Girard’s theses to modern warfare provides anthropologists with further evidence of the validity of these theses. More broadly, this essay challenges the relativism that has developed in Western society over the last three centuries.