Read e-book online American Force: Dangers, Delusions, and Dilemmas in National PDF

By Richard Betts

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

Betts brings his broad wisdom of 20th century American diplomatic and armed forces heritage to endure at the complete variety of concept and perform in nationwide safety, surveying the chilly battle roots of modern tasks and arguing that U.S. coverage has regularly been extra unilateral than liberal theorists declare. He exposes errors made via humanitarian interventions and peace operations; reports the problems raised through terrorism and using smooth nuclear, organic, and cyber guns; evaluates the case for preventive battle, which just about continuously proves incorrect; weighs the teachings realized from campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam; assesses the increase of China and the resurgence of Russia; quells matters approximately civil-military kin; exposes anomalies inside fresh protection budgets; and confronts the sensible limitations to powerful method. Betts eventually argues for better warning and discretion, whereas encouraging extra decisive motion while strength is needed, and he recommends a extra dispassionate evaluation of nationwide safeguard pursuits, even within the face of world instability and surprising threats.

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

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In the face of Soviet retaliatory capability, however, it was far harder to make credible the American promises to escalate to attacks on the Soviet interior as the “seamless web” of NATO doctrine envisioned. As long as the Cold War lasted the strategic dilemma— whether to derange Western economies by mobilizing on the same scale as the Soviet Union or to risk suicide by turning a conventional war into a nuclear war—was never resolved by any of the adjustments of strategy that were episodically proclaimed.

Research on active defense against missile attack (which had continued since the ABM Treaty and was funded before SDI) had been for Nixon, Ford, and Carter a hedge against uncertainty. For Reagan, antimissile defense became a high priority to be achieved as soon as possible. Beginning the process that culminated twenty years later in abrogation of the ABM Treaty, SDI moved away from the reliance on arms control that had taken hold in the early 1970s. indb 35 9/16/11 10:04:29 AM 36 THE POST–COLD WAR HIATUS to be inconsistent, inadequate, or incredible.

15 If, as Robert Pollard says, “the key element” of policy in the early Cold War was “reliance upon economic power to achieve strategic aims,” this followed a prime rule of strategy in the broadest sense: rely on comparative advantage, fight on favorable terms. But the Marshall Plan was followed by decades in which military instruments dominated national security strategy. 16 The most novel departure in strategy before the full militarization of the Cold War was the plan to influence internal political developments in foreign countries by clandestine means.

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