Download American Force: Dangers, Delusions, and Dilemmas in National by Richard Betts PDF

By Richard Betts

While American nationwide defense coverage has grown extra interventionist because the chilly struggle, Washington has additionally was hoping to form the area at the affordable. Misled via the beautiful luck opposed to Iraq in 1991, administrations of either events have pursued bold goals with constrained strength, committing the country's army usually but usually hesitantly, with inconsistent justification. those ventures have produced strategic confusion, unplanned entanglements, and indecisive effects. This number of essays by way of Richard ok. Betts, a number one foreign politics student, investigates using American strength because the finish of the chilly battle, suggesting instructions for making it extra selective and successful.

Betts brings his broad wisdom of 20th century American diplomatic and army historical past to undergo at the complete variety of concept and perform in nationwide safety, surveying the chilly struggle roots of modern projects and arguing that U.S. coverage has continuously been extra unilateral than liberal theorists declare. He exposes blunders made by means of humanitarian interventions and peace operations; studies the problems raised through terrorism and using sleek nuclear, organic, and cyber guns; evaluates the case for preventive struggle, which just about consistently proves improper; weighs the teachings discovered from campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam; assesses the increase of China and the resurgence of Russia; quells issues approximately civil-military kinfolk; exposes anomalies inside of contemporary security budgets; and confronts the sensible obstacles to powerful technique. Betts finally argues for higher warning and discretion, whereas encouraging extra decisive motion whilst strength is needed, and he recommends a extra dispassionate overview of nationwide safeguard pursuits, even within the face of world instability and unexpected threats.

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Extra resources for American Force: Dangers, Delusions, and Dilemmas in National Security

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9 The Enduring Priorit y of Military Instruments Strategy is not a policy objective. It is a plan for using capabilities to achieve policy objectives. indb 24 9/16/11 10:04:27 AM POLICY MILESTONES 25 tary, and secret political instruments. Strategies are to objectives what means are to ends. Pundits often confuse the difference and speak of objectives and strategies interchangeably. They focus on the aspirations of strategy more than on the actions required to achieve them, on strategy in theory more than in practice.

Strategy: financial aid to buttress pro-Western governments, and information programs to combat the appeal of communist ideology. In the very earliest stage of the Cold War, however, before the war scare of 1948, economic and political approaches dominated grand strategy. S. national security with liberal world order, the founding acts and longest-lasting initiatives occurred even before the Cold War. The Bretton Woods conference of 1944 formed new economic institutions—the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank—to create stable exchange rates and more international trade, while the establishment of the United Nations in 1945 aimed to preserve peace politically through a quasi-collective security system based on a concert of great powers.

The most fundamental material costs, however, are quite clearly denominated in numbers: casualties and dollars expended. Sometimes costs prove happily lower than anticipated, as in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. More often they are higher than anticipated, as in Somalia, Kosovo, the second war against Iraq, and Afghanistan after 2002. Such miscalculations follow easily from focusing on the balance of power rather than the balance of stakes. American primacy highlights the overwhelming disparity of power between Washington and whatever opponents it engages.

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