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Talking Strategy

Mar 26, 2024

Moshe Dayan (1915-1981) is a controversial figure in Israeli politics. Revered by some as a master strategist, he is criticised by others for his failure to foresee Egypt’s attack in 1973, and then for ‘giving up’ the Sinai in return for a peace treaty.

Strategy-making can take two approaches. The first, ‘Deliberate Strategy’, is formulated and implemented hierarchically and centrally; decisions are taken by the head of the organisation, and detailed plans and instructions are issued to those responsible for implementation. The alternative model, ‘Emergent Strategy’, is characterised by its flexibility on ends as well as ways and means.

This week’s guest, Professor Eitan Shamir, is the Director of the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies of Bar Ilan University, argues that Moshe Dayan was a strategist who took the second approach. Professor Shamir is the author of a new biography entitled “Moshe Dayan: The Making of a Strategist” (2023, in Hebrew, and due to be published in English in 2024 by Cambridge University Press) and, with Beatrice, edited Insurgencies and Counterinsurgencies: National Styles and Strategic Cultures (CUP, 2017).