Episode 59: Tarak Barkawi: The Vocation of Arms

In analysing the myths of a Western way of war, historian of colonial warfare and iconoclast Professor Tarak Barkawi from the London School of Economics talks to Peter Roberts about commonalities in the vocation of war between militaries.

Using examples as diverse as the battles of Isandlwana and Kunu-ri in Korea, Tarak explains how others might view the Western way of war – specifically, through the prism of defeats rather than victories.

Western Way of War Podcast Series

A collection of discussions with those in the Profession of Arms that tries to understand the issues around how to fight, and succeed, against adversaries in the 2020s. We pose the questions as whether a single Western Way of Warfare (how Western militaries fight) has been successful, whether it remains fit for task today, and how it might need to adapt in the future? It is complemented by the ‘Adversarial Studies’ project that looks at how adversaries fight.

2023 Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize

Submissions are now open to our annual competition for original writing on contemporary issues of national and international defence and security. Find out more details on the 2023 Trench Gascoigne Essay Prize page and how to enter.


Professor Peter Roberts

Senior Associate Fellow

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