Christopher Coker (28 March 1953 – 5 September 2023) was a remarkable figure in the realm of political science and philosophy, dedicating his life to the exploration and understanding of war. As a British political scientist and philosopher, his contributions to the field have been monumental.
Coker was affiliated with the London School of Economics (LSE) for many years. Having begun teaching there in 1982, he held the position of Professor of International Relations before retiring in 2019. Even after retirement, he maintained an active presence in academic and strategic circles. He was the Director of LSE IDEAS, the foreign policy think tank of LSE. His expertise was also often sought in UK and NATO military education and strategic planning circles.
In addition to these accomplishments, Coker directed the Rațiu Forum in Romania. Earlier in his career, in 1981, he was recognized as a NATO Fellow. Furthermore, he served as a member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
One of Coker’s most prominent works is “The Rise of the Civilizational State”, published in 2019. In this book, he examines the strategies of Xi Jinping’s China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia in their endeavors to challenge Western powers and the prevailing liberal international order.
Coker’s perspective on war was both profound and nuanced. He viewed war as an inherent aspect of human nature or humanity. His 2021 publication, “Why War?”, delves into this perspective. He suggests that war, while possibly being influenced by advancements like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and geopolitical shifts, remains an unaltered facet of the human existence. His conclusion? War will persist until humanity reaches the end of its evolutionary trajectory.
- “Why War?” (Oxford University Press, 2021)
- “The Rise of the Civilizational State” (Polity, 2019)
- “Rebooting Clausewitz: ‘On War’ in the Twenty-First Century” (Oxford University Press, 2017)
- … [and many more titles expanding over three decades]
- “Still ‘The Human Thing’? Technology, Human Agency and the Future of War” (International Relations, 2018)
- “On Humanising War” (Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, 2000)
- “The Collision of Modern and Post-Modern War” in The Oxford Handbook of War (2012)
- “Rebooting the West: Can the Western Alliance Still Engage in War?” in The Struggle for the West (Routledge, 2009)
- … [and several more thought-provoking chapters in collaborative works]
Christopher Coker‘s legacy is extensive, with a bibliography that reflects his dedication to understanding war’s place in human history and future. His writings and teachings will undoubtedly continue to influence scholars and strategists for generations to come.