Mirjam Grandia Mantas at RUSI, a leading defence and security think tank

Inescapable entrapment
10 October 2021

A lecture followed by debate.

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), leading defence and security think tank, organizes a series of monthly lectures and panels as part of a new Military History Programme. Next Thursday October the 14th Lt Col Mirjam Grandia Mantas will speak about her recently published book and this will be followed by questions and discussion. Nick Reynolds will open the discussion with his own experience in the British Army in Afghanistan. Professor Michael Clarke, who has written a Whitehall Paper on the Western interventions in Afghanistan, will chair the event.

One of the most prominent findings of this analysis is the shaping ability of military initiatives on the series of decisions and the consequent path-dependent reasoning during political deliberations on the deployment of military forces. The decision of the UK and the Netherlands to deploy their troops to southern Afghanistan was based on an emergent case that largely built itself.

‘Inescapable Entrapments? offers a rare blend of readable, policy-relevant theory and human detail from interviews and the author’s experience as a Dutch officer, having served in Afghanistan. It is also a frightening book, deconstructing our rosy notions about civil-military relations at home and politicians’ grasp of the weapons they wield. Most frighteningly, it suggests that neither generals nor politicians understand the world where they wield those weapons, despite the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that suggest they represent the future.’ – Michael Shafer, author of Deadly Paradigms: The Failure of U.S. Counterinsurgency Policy

Lt Col Mirjam Grandia Mantas is Assistant Professor of International Security Studies at the Netherlands Defence Academy and a commissioned officer serving in the Royal Netherlands Army. In her military career she has been deployed on various missions to Bosnia, Afghanistan and Ethiopia.

Chair: Professor Michael Clarke is a Distinguished Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute. He was Director-General of RUSI from 2007 to 2015, when he retired from that role. He was previously the founding Director of the Centre for Defence Studies at King’s College London, and then Deputy Vice-Principal and Director for Research Development. He is a specialist adviser to the Joint National Committee on Security Strategy for the period of the current Parliament.

Discussant: Nick Reynolds is the Research Analyst for Land Warfare at RUSI. His research interests include land power, wargaming and simulation. He served in the British Army in Afghanistan.

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