Why the Ukraine War Caught Europe by Surprise. Right Numbers, Wrong Predictions?

Why the Ukraine War Caught Europe by Surprise. Right Numbers, Wrong Predictions?

A Datawar paper
  • Quantitative research, photo by Roman Samborskyi for ShutterstockQuantitative research, photo by Roman Samborskyi for Shutterstock

Quantitative reasoning is increasingly used by political authorities, especially at the EU level, to attempt to predict and plan for war. Using the Ukrainian case, this article stresses the limits of such practices and the common misperceptions upon which they rely.

Can international crises – such as the war in Ukraine – be anticipated and possibly even prevented through the use of quantitative data and mathematical models? Traditionally, international crisis management has been considered an “art,” not a “science.” Foreign policy was long considered the preserve of skillful diplomats, navigating the complexity of international relations with empathy and intuition. Even in modern capitalist democracies, diplomacy retains a degree of institutional autonomy from considerations of managerial efficiency, bureaucratic planning, and utilitarian cost-benefit calculations (...)

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