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Consequences of Erroneous Strategies: The Ante-Bellum Period of the Nigerian Civil War

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Abstract

In dealing with crises and conflicts, we often commit one of the following four errors of strategy: (1) the failure to use hard power when and where it is required; (2) the failure to use soft power when and where it is required; (3.) the use of hard power when and where a combination of hard and soft powers (smart power) is required; and (4) the use of soft power when and where smart power should be used. These errors of strategy have sometimes grave and disastrous consequences. This paper aims to prove that, in order to successfully prevent, resolve, manage or deal with crises and conflicts, we need to acknowledge that some of them require hard power, some require soft power, while others require both hard and soft powers (smart power). To contextualise the above hypothesis, employing case study and process tracing, the present paper addresses the ante-bellum period of the Nigeria Civil War. In the end, it will be indicated that the above-mentioned four errors of strategy led to war. If hard, soft and smart powers were used whenever and wherever they were required, the war could have been avoided.

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