Book Reviews

From Parameters, Summer 2003, pp. 123-45.

gr_ball.gif (967 bytes)American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy. By Andrew J. Bacevich. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002. 302 pages. $29.95. Reviewed by Martin Blumenson, author of Heroes Never Die and other works.

Andrew Bacevich, a former military officer who is now a professor of international relations at Boston University, has written a brilliant book that carries a disturbing message. What, he asks, drives American foreign policy? More specifically, what has replaced the policy of containing the Soviet Union since its demise as a world power in 1989? Or, how has the United States reacted to the end of the Cold War and to being the sole superpower in the universe?

To find the answer, Professor Bacevich has looked in some detail at the external affairs in the presidential administrations George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as the first year of George W. Bush’s term. What he finds is perhaps less than surprising: the basic aspirations of American diplomacy—but now without needing to compete with or to defend against the Soviet Union—remain the same as always.

These fundamental aims have shaped the American outlook since the 19th century, and they continue to do so still. They arise out of the belief that the United States—in particular its method of government, its structure of economic life, its culture of freedom—is Providence’s gift to the world, its manner of showing the universe how all states should be organized and maintained. Once that target is reached, once the globe has been converted, eternal peace and goodness and harmony will reign. The concept is missionary in spirit.

The buzzword behind the whole idea is “openness.” American foreign policy strives to attain openness everywhere. Meanwhile, two major thrusts have assumed increasing meaning and importance in the 20th century. One is the constant need to expand markets. The other is the tendency to use military force to gain policy objectives.

In support of his study, Dr. Bacevich has used the works of two American historians, Charles Beard and William Appleman Williams. They were convinced that the business of the United States is business. Prosperity, they were sure, resulted when the market economy expanded in stable environments. The economic motive, as put forth in Beard’s seminal Economic Interpretation of the Constitution, they said, is the most significant aspect of American diplomacy.

Dr. Bacevich has cited statements by Presidents William McKinley and Woodrow Wilson to indicate their positing the need for American economic growth. He has regarded the recent use of force in Iraq, Panama, Yugoslavia, and elsewhere to wonder whether the US military, equipped with advanced technology, is at bottom a war-making or a force-exerting institution. He has looked into civil-military relations and questioned whether the once sacrosanct right of civilian control still holds true when uniformed officers argue with civilian officials, when the power if not necessarily the authority of the regional combatant commanders seems unbounded, when the bulk of the military overwhelmingly favors and identifies with the Republican Party. The latter


brings unwanted thoughts of the role political parties played in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

Although Bacevich stops short of the recent war in Iraq, the task of re-making the Middle East in our democratic image flows from the realities of Bacevich’s thesis. Implicit in the endeavor is the kind of arrogance that leads to a fall. Implicit also is the rise of opposition. No one can really challenge the American military in traditional ways. But certainly the rise of widespread antagonism and terror are threatening.

Andrew Bacevich has raised questions about American diplomacy that require serious thought and the possibility of change. On the other hand, it may very well be that proselyting the world has become so ingrained a habit that no change is possible.

gr_ball.gif (967 bytes)The End of the American Era: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the Twenty-first Century. By Charles A. Kupchan. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002. 336 pages. $27.95. Reviewed by Richard Halloran, formerly with The New York Times as a foreign correspondent in Asia and military correspondent in Washington, D.C.

Even before the Cold War was over, strategic thinkers in America began a searching inquiry into the future of the United States in the era that would ensue. Early into print, two years before the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, was Paul Kennedy with The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, in which he saw the United States in relative decline. Then Francis Fukuyama proclaimed the triumph of democracy in The End of History and the Last Man in 1992. Samuel Huntington cautioned the West in 1996 to prepare for The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order.

Over the next five years, Richard Haass called the United States The Reluctant Sheriff; Thomas Friedman said in The Lexus and the Olive Tree that globalization would go far toward saving the world; Robert Kaplan foresaw The Coming Anarchy; Walter Russell Mead noted the Special Providence of America; and Joseph Nye pointed to The Paradox of American Power and why the United States could not go it alone.

Now comes Charles A. Kupchan wading into the fray fearlessly, some might say brashly, to say of his predecessors: “All of them are wrong. And most of them are wrong for the same reason.”

With the possible exception of Kennedy, Kupchan argues that the others have based their thinking on the mistaken belief that America’s present preponderance will continue. To the contrary, says Kupchan, who was Director of European Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council in the first Clinton Administration, the United States will soon be on the way down as a world power while Europe is on the way up, to be followed closely by Asia. “America’s unipolar moment and the global stability that comes with it will not last,” he contends.

“Europe now has a single market, a single currency, and more frequently speaks with a single, self-confident voice,” Kupchan says. “The rise of Asia may in the long term spell more trouble for the West than the return of rivalry between North America and Europe.” But Europe, not Asia, he asserts, “is the near term challenger to American primacy.”

Even though Kupchan scatters refreshing flashes of insight through The End of the American Era, he fails to persuade. His contentions about America are overstated, his arguments about Europe are a stretch, and his observations about Asia evince a lack of familiarity with the landscape.


Kupchan, now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, agrees that the United States emerged from the Cold War as the world’s dominant power. He argues, however, that “the United States is a great power adrift,” that “America is squandering the moment” because it has no grand strategy.

That the United States has had no grand strategy since President Reagan sought to defeat the Soviet Union in the Cold War is true. It is also irrelevant, since no power directly threatens the United States today. China accuses America of seeking “hegemony.” Many Arabs and Muslims are sore at the United States because, in Kupchan’s neat turn of phrase, “primacy evokes pique.” Many Europeans, particularly those who are still Gaullists at heart, and some Third World leaders complain that the United States is an arrogant bully.

Those lamentations, however, do not put America in jeopardy. The lack of strategy, moreover, does not mean that America is adrift, especially not in its resolve to defeat terror. In poll after poll, substantial majorities of Americans say they are satisfied with the direction in which their nation is headed, even if they disagree with this or that particular policy.

What strategy could be devised to confront the criticism of America is far from clear. Kupchan’s prescription is to retreat: “The United States cannot and should not resist the end of the American era. To do so would only risk alienating and provoking conflict with a rising Europe and an ascendant Asia.”

Given the American instinct for positive thinking and faith in the future, Kupchan’s remedy will have little appeal across America. Indeed, for a presidential or congressional candidate to campaign on that platform would surely guarantee a swift and decisive end to his political career.

gr_ball.gif (967 bytes)America at War: The Philippines, 1898-1913. By A. B. Feuer. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002. 265 pages $64.95. Reviewed by Brian McAllister Linn, author of The Philippine War, 1899-1902 and Professor of History, Texas A&M University.

There is so little published on the American military conquest of the Philippines that a composite account of the participants’ experiences should be a significant contribution. Most of the solders who fought in the Bamboo Army are long forgotten, and those that are remembered are often vilified as racist butchers bent on indiscriminate slaughter of defenseless Filipinos. A. B. Feuer deserves a great deal of credit for collecting a number of accounts by veterans and journalists and pulling them together in one book. As someone who has a great deal of personal admiration for Feuer’s efforts and who benefited from his book Combat Diary on the 22d Infantry, I was heartened to see he had turned his attention to exploring the individual experiences of Americans in the Philippines. Unfortunately, although it contains a great deal of useful information, America at War is an uneven work that could have been much better.

Feuer has a good eye for a story, and some of his selections are quite good. The sections on the Utah Battery and the Army’s gunboats provide useful insights into the methods the Americans used to bring devastating firepower to the battlefield. One of the most interesting readings is taken from Lewis Cozzens’ diary of his experiences from September 1900 to March 1901, the decisive phase of the guerrilla war in Abra Province, Luzon. Cozzens describes the terrible conditions that American troops experienced—


torrential rains, disease, putrid food, shoes rotting off their feet, and debilitating “hikes” through jungles and mountains. The Army faced a well-organized and skilled opponent who was adept at ambush, sniping, and arson. At the same time, the diary also sheds valuable insight into the reasons for the American victory: tactical skill in small-unit engagements, logistics, and relentless pressure on the guerrillas.

Unfortunately, there are a number of problems that greatly detract from the overall quality of the book. One of the worst is the inclusion of amateur historian Michael G. Price’s diatribe in a foreword. Purporting to speak for the Filipino side, Price resurrects the emotional, factually incorrect, and conspiratorial rendition of the war that has been discredited for more than two decades. Why this ill-informed tirade was included in a book that seeks to “put a human face on the American soldier, sailor, and marine who served in the Philippine Islands” is a great mystery.

There are other problems as well. Feuer’s choice of sources is quite unbalanced. Despite the dates given in the title, almost 80 pages—nearly a third of the text— focus on the three months leading up to the capture of Manila during the Spanish-American War. Almost another third is devoted to the conventional operations of 1899. In contrast, discounting brief accounts of two incidents which are a staple of Philippine War literature—Funston’s capture of Aguinaldo and the marines’ disastrous campaign on Samar—the only source on the more than two years of guerrilla war from 1899 to 1902 is the 16-page entry from Cozzens’ diary. Similarly, the decade of conflict after the end of the Philippine War in 1902 is accorded little more than 20 pages. This lack of balance is all the more frustrating because it is the period 1900-1913 that has the most to teach today’s officers.

Feuer could have added greatly to the value and reliability of this book had he double-checked his sources against other works and noted where there is conflicting evidence. For example, Feuer accepts without question Charles Mabey’s hearsay version of the fateful collision between Filipino and American patrols on 4 February 1899 that triggered the Philippine War. But Mabey’s account is at variance with almost all of the participants, both American and Filipino. Similarly, in describing the battle in which Colonel John Stotsenburg lost his life, Feuer cites a participant’s account that “one hundred brave Americans—dead and wounded—dotted the landscape.” Official casualty figures for this engagement were seven killed and 44 wounded. The problem of factual reliability is compounded by Feuer’s (or the editor’s) decision not to use standard historical format in citing works or to make it clear where many of the sources are located. It would be almost impossible for a reader to track down sources in order to verify them, and as a result this book is of limited use to scholars and students.

America at War is thus difficult to assess. The author certainly deserves a great deal of credit for finding personal accounts of participants in a war that is all but unknown to today’s Army. Many of the veterans’ accounts are exciting reading and provide an excellent view of combat in America’s forgotten war. Some, such as Cozzens’ diary, are very useful for officers contemplating today’s guerrilla conflicts. But other accounts contain factual inaccuracies and are historically suspect. The book is poorly edited, apparently went through no peer review process, and is so expensive that it is virtually inaccessible to the audiences that could most benefit from it. These problems, some of which are not Feuer’s fault, greatly detract from a work that contains some very valuable research, has some very exciting combat scenes, and could have been a very useful supplementary text.


gr_ball.gif (967 bytes)American Military Aviation: The Indispensable Arm. By Charles J. Gross. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2002. 416 pages. $35.00. Reviewed by Tami Davis Biddle, author of Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare, and Associate Professor of National Security Studies at the US Army War College.

The subtitle of Charles J. Gross’s new book, American Military Aviation: The Indispensable Arm, made me a bit wary at first. Does he mean to imply that other arms are somehow less indispensable? Will this be another volume arguing that aircraft can win wars alone? But the dust jacket photos—an A-10A on the cover and a Curtis SB2 Helldiver on the back—suggested something else; those are not, after all, the airplanes one would pick if one were setting out to downplay the contributions of the Army and the Navy to the waging of modern warfare.

In fact, Gross’s book is an assiduously balanced and ecumenical guide to military aviation in all its forms. In his comprehensive examination of air power in the 20th century, he breaks away from the tendency of aviation chroniclers to treat their subject in propagandistic tones and to elevate it, almost, to a kind of theology. That style had its roots in the US Air Force’s long struggle for service autonomy—a struggle that caused airmen to respond to their subordinate position by making overstated promises about the role of aviation in future wars. Not only does Gross avoid this, he takes a very different approach, pointing out in his introduction that “political and military leaders have consistently overestimated the potential of military aviation to solve the nation’s national security problems with a minimum of expenditure of American blood and treasure.” He goes on to explain that “military aviation has usually failed to provide an independently decisive force in modern warfare capable of winning quick and relatively bloodless victories against determined and innovative foes. Air power still works best in conjunction with armies and navies.”

Those of us who believe in air power, but who also believe that it’s most effective when working in a symbiotic relationship with ground and sea forces, will warm to this book in its early pages. I found myself wanting to say a few huzzahs for the author’s insight and fair-mindedness. Does this book, written by a retired Air Force colonel who now serves as chief historian of the Air National Guard, signal that the Air Force has finally settled into a mature confidence about its role in the world? Perhaps it does.

Gross divides his book into seven chapters that take us from Armin Firman’s attempted flight at Cordoba, Spain, in 852, to the 1999 war in Kosovo. Throughout, the author is surefooted and perceptive in his observations. His work is a synthetic account and relies almost entirely on secondary sources. But his reading list is extensive, and he writes with clarity and with enough lively detail to make his narrative both engaging and rich. His range is impressive, and he is equally at home discussing the technical details of the interwar “airframe revolution” as he is discussing the rise and impact of the postwar aerospace industry. Throughout the book he makes sure to give due attention to naval aviation.

Gross is not afraid to reinterpret the conventional wisdom. For instance he argues that military aviation in the interwar United States was not the stepchild that other authors have made it out to be:

Although the Air Corps never received all the money it requested, it was significantly strengthened at the expense of the rest of the army. Between 1920 and 1924 it spent an average of 18.2 percent of the army’s annual budget although it comprised only about


11 percent of the service’s strength. In the early 1930s, while the Air Corps was being equipped with sleek new all-metal bombers like the Martin B-10 . . . the rest of the army relied on World War I vintage tanks, artillery, and rifles.

The author is hard on some traditional heroes like Billy Mitchell, who, Gross argues, “had little real impact on the development of air power,” and he brings to light the contributions of those, like Air Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, “who took a broad joint perspective that saw beyond the narrow parochial needs and interests of his own service.” In his coverage of the Second World War, Gross examines the well-known stories as well as the less-known ones, including the important contributions of Major General George C. Kenney, who was MacArthur’s air commander in the Pacific. Gross’s coverage of the Vietnam War benefits from the extensive literature on that conflict, and his interpretation of air power in more recent conflicts—including the Persian Gulf war and the wars in the Balkans—is both levelheaded and nuanced. One would like to see Gross spend a little more time examining aviation’s impact on American society and culture, and aviation’s effect on the American economy—both of which he rightly identifies as significant. But this is a minor complaint about an otherwise impressive volume.

Those who study air power will want to have American Military Aviation: The Indispensable Arm on their bookshelf for ready reference, and those who teach air power courses may want to contemplate assigning all or portions of it to their students. Charles Gross has provided us with a fine survey that is unusual—and indeed inspired— in its balance and its emphasis on jointness.

gr_ball.gif (967 bytes)Retreat to Victory? Confederate Strategy Reconsidered. By Robert G. Tanner. The American Crisis series. Steven E. Woodworth, series editor. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 2001. 154 pages. $65.00 ($17.95 paper). Reviewed by Dr. J. Boone Bartholomees, Jr., Professor of Military History, US Army War College.

There has long been debate about how the South conducted the Civil War. In recent years the two hottest topics have been the relative importance of the eastern and western theaters and the efficacy of the Southern offensive-defensive military strategy. In Retreat to Victory? Robert G. Tanner, who established his reputation as a Civil War author with the classic Stonewall in the Valley, wades into the latter debate. The question mark in the title suggests his thesis—Tanner is skeptical about the practicality of a battle-avoidance strategy.

One critique of Confederate military strategy contends that the offensive penchant of Southern leaders, especially but not exclusively Robert E. Lee, hurt the long-term chances of Confederate victory. Comparison of casualty rates shows that when on the attack the South usually lost a higher percentage of its engaged force even when it won battles. Given the smaller population of the Confederacy, such losses were not supportable. However, when finally forced onto the defensive in 1864, Lee’s army reversed the statistical trend and slaughtered its opponent at a prodigious rate. The contention is that the South obviously should have used that technique from the beginning. Advocates point out that the South had enormous space and could have adopted a Fabian strategy of battle avoidance—retreating into the depths of the Confederacy to avoid major battles except under extremely favorable conditions while pouncing on isolated Federal units. In the extreme, the


recommendation becomes one of guerrilla war against advancing and occupying forces. Robert Tanner does not buy any of this and sets out to attack the construct point by point.

First, Tanner finds that the South was not as large as proponents of a Fabian strategy contend. Of course, the territory of the seceding states is a well-established fact and it is impressively large. Tanner, however, contends that much of that territory was strategically unimportant and did not offer usable maneuver space for Southern armies. For example, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana west of the Mississippi River represent almost half the territory of the Confederacy. These areas were sparsely populated, inaccessible, and strategically irrelevant. Similarly, Florida’s large peninsula was a strategic backwater that provided few troops and almost no other resource to the South. Its ports were so isolated they were unattractive even to blockade runners, and goods imported there took months to filter north to the heart of the Confederacy. Another huge chunk of Southern terrain disappears when one subtracts the mountains of Appalachia and the largest of the Southern swamps (like the Great Dismal swamp) as both unsuitable for maneuver of large forces, hostile to secession, and of little economic or military value. Finally, the Southern river system and long coastline reduced the potential strategic depth of large areas of the South because of their vulnerability to penetration by the Union Navy. Tanner finds that the truly useful strategic maneuver space of the Confederacy ran in a rather narrow arc from northern Virginia to Mississippi with a northward bulge in northwestern Georgia, northern Alabama, and central Tennessee. This was too long and shallow a swath to support an effective battle-avoidance strategy.

A second assumption of the Fabian strategy is that retreat was a way to conserve manpower. Tanner also questions that assumption. The normal attrition of long, hard marches took a significant toll on Confederate armies as it was. Increased use of such marches as major elements of a battle-avoidance strategy would have compounded their physical effects and eroded the army significantly. The mental or morale effect of repeatedly avoiding battle is also an important consideration. Tanner believes that Southern leaders would have had difficulty keeping their troops in ranks as they constantly retreated in front of Federal armies and as campaigns got deeper into the South and closer to the soldiers’ homes.

Next, a Fabian strategy necessarily gives up ground. That was unacceptable to the South for several reasons. The upper South, especially Virginia and Tennessee, which were most exposed to invasion, provided too many economic, military, and political assets to be abandoned. The states of the upper South also joined the Confederacy late in the secession crisis and contained strong pockets of Unionist sentiment—thus, if occupied, they were potentially vulnerable to Lincoln’s conciliatory reconstruction policy. A southern Confederacy without the upper South was not economically, politically, or militarily viable. Additionally, the South had a problem with any strategy that exposed its slaves to Union armies. Slaves had a propensity to run away even in peacetime. Experience in the Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Seminole Wars showed that the presence of a hostile army increased that propensity exponentially. A strategy that accepted or encouraged such behavior was inconceivable. This does not even consider the political or diplomatic effect of a self-proclaimed nation-state that was demonstrably unable to protect its citizens or territory—one of the primary prerequisites of a state.

In sum, Tanner finds that the South both could not and would not have executed a battle-avoidance strategy. The argument is buttressed by practical logic and extensive reference to Clausewitz. If there is a flaw, it is that Tanner does not go as far with


the critique as he might. For example, some of the economic implications of a Fabian strategy arise in the discussions of both the impact of the goal of slavery and the goal of independence on Southern strategy. However, economic issues alone would have made a Fabian strategy impractical—perhaps economics deserved a separate discussion. Similarly, even with long and generally excellent theoretical discussions, Tanner never addresses one of the true theoretical vulnerabilities of the Fabian option—how does one win? What is it that convinces the enemy to quit? In the case of Rome in the Punic wars (from which the strategy takes its name), successful operations in other theaters convinced the Carthaginian Senate to call Hannibal home. What might the corresponding mechanism have been for the Confederates?

Advocates seem to believe the rebels could have exhausted Union popular support by inflicting attrition on the scale of 1864 over a period of years. We will never know, of course, but such assertions seem to overrate both the South’s ability to inflict catastrophic losses and the fragility of Union political support. In any event, the question would have fit nicely in Tanner’s construct. Nevertheless, such comments ask for more than Tanner intended. His book is well-reasoned, readable, and persuasive. The bottom line is that Robert Tanner has contributed unique and valuable insights on the question of whether the Confederacy should have or could have retreated to victory.

gr_ball.gif (967 bytes)On War and Leadership: The Words of Combat Commanders from Frederick the Great to Norman Schwarzkopf. Edited by Owen Connelly. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2002. 347 pages. $29.95. Reviewed by Dr. Henry G. Gole, a frequent contributor to Parameters.

Anthologies invite prickly quibbles in a way that fiction and narrative history do not. This is true even when an editor’s selections are fun to read, as are those in On War and Leadership. Combat veteran of the Korean War, McKissick Dial Professor of History at the University of South Carolina, and author of several books on Napoleonic warfare, Owen Connelly knows war and scholarship. But he piques critical faculty by saying in his introduction that he will use the “words” of 20 combat commanders over a period of 250 years, calling them “muddy boots” leaders and emphasizing that they led from the front. His target audience includes “people in all walks of life who make executive decisions, civil or military,” but this reader fails to see mud in the board room or Willie and Joe on the executive jet. Connelly intends to “help balance the scale of military thought, which, since the fall of Napoleon, has been tipped heavily toward theory by a surfeit of books, beginning with Carl von Clausewitz’s Vom Kriege (1831) and Antoine de Jomini’s Precis de l’art de la guerre (1838).”

Quibbles begin here. One doubts that “theory” books on war and leadership outnumber diaries, novels, memoirs, biographies, after-action reports, hero worship, and self-justifications on the subject. (There are always more “how to” and celebrity books than theory books. Check current best-seller lists.)

And why 250 years? Why not include Gustavus Adolphus, or for that matter, Julius Caesar, if one begins with a blank sheet? Alternatively, why not narrow the selection to a single theater of operations, one rich with commanders, like World War II in North Africa or the US Civil War in Virginia, thus providing a more defined context in the infinitely varied world of combat? And if 20 combat commanders, why not 21? Why all Westerners


except Giap and (perhaps) Dyan? Why not Mao or Attila? And if Mosby and Stonewall Jackson, why not Chamberlain and Sheridan? The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant refutes Connelly’s assertion that “neither [Grant nor Lee] addressed leadership issues in a forthright way.” And why not Chesty Puller or the oft-decorated and seriously wounded Barry McCaffrey? You get the idea. Connelly’s choices are idiosyncratic.

The assertion that the Vietnam War was “terminated by negotiations and without victory” denies the ignominious defeat of the United States, desertion of our allies, evaporation of the Republic of Vietnam, and the fact that our former enemies govern from Hanoi. Be it known from this day forward: Hanoi won.

Reference to “the monster M-79 grenade launcher” puzzles old sweats. The 60mm mortar was removed from the rifle company after the war in Korea and replaced by the 81mm mortar. If 60mm was deemed too small, how did the 40mm M-79 become a “monster”?

The author’s admiration for those who lead from the front will not be shared by the veteran platoon leader or company commander of firefights in Vietnam, nor by any who have reservations about the three helicopters that were too often stacked above their part of the jungle, filled, respectively, with a battalion commander (on his second tour in Vietnam), a brigade commander (with experience from the Korean War), and a division commander (with his memories of World War II), all armed with radios, all prepared to “help” the leader on the ground, who was too busy to chat. Those seniors leading from the front were generally regarded as pests by the junior leader in contact.

See also The Army at Dawn for Rick Atkinson’s account of the artillery battalion commander in 1942 in North Africa, just filled with the right stuff, who ignored warnings from riflemen and took three of his battery commanders forward on a personal recon. All were killed, leaving the battalion leaderless. He led from the front. Fear of being called a chateau general, a charge directed at the World War I generals whose comfort in the rear contrasted so sharply with the misery of life in the trenches, probably forced him forward. Reflection on the maligned World War I leaders, however, reveals that they had to choose between leading from a place with maps, lights, and telephones or from the front with a rifleman’s tunnel vision. Neither field marshal nor platoon leader should be point man. Both need to be where they can influence the battle.

My point: the aphorisms of Frederick the Great and Napoleon should be read and savored, as should the “words” of combat commanders of demonstrated skill, or, better yet, luck. The author’s selection of Rommel, Patton, Vaux, de Gaulle, Doyan, Giap, Mosby, and Sherman shows his inclination toward the bold and creative. His choice of Jackson, Lawrence, and Stillwell reveals a taste for the oddball who walked the line between genius and the madhouse. Montgomery, Schwarzkopf, Moore, Slim, Ridgway, Manstein, and Wavell are hardly peas in a pod, but all share a certain solidity and responsibility. Soldiers, scholars, indeed, all aspiring leaders can benefit from studying those who duked it out as combat leaders. But they will not find a magic wand. There is none.

Connelly’s book is not devoid of fun. Charles de Gaulle suggests that a long list of generals killed in action would benefit camaraderie des armes, “the most noble gem of the military crown.” Patton says that there are hundreds of books on war, but only a dozen on fighting: “This is because the people who fight are killed or inarticulate.” Sherman (Memoirs, 1892) is very good in gleaning lessons later confirmed in World War I regarding increased firepower, earthworks, dispersion, and initiative from the individual soldier. Pithy bits to ponder and amuse abound.


But Slim’s self-effacing wisdom in Defeat Into Victory makes it this reviewer’s favorite World War II general’s book and raises the central point of this review. Taking bits and pieces of longer works and patching them together in an anthology is usually legitimized by claims of getting to the essence of the matter and saving time as an “expert” peels away the nonessential. But authors give their books a beginning, a middle, and an end. That’s the way they are to be read. Buffs turn to anthologies. Pros read whole books.

gr_ball.gif (967 bytes)An Introduction to the International Criminal Court. By William A. Schabas. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2001. 406 pages. $90.00. Reviewed by Colonel Thomas W. McShane, Director of National Security Legal Studies, US Army War College.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an important idea whose time has come after almost 80 years of false starts. The concept of an international forum to try individuals accused of war crimes or other international offenses dates to the end of World War I and the Treaty of Versailles. The book of Ecclesiastes expressed the same idea even earlier: “The oppressed were crying, and no one would help them . . . because their oppressors had power on their side.”

The international agreement underlying the ICC, known as the Rome Statute (or treaty), was negotiated and signed in Rome by 120 nations in July 1998. President Clinton signed the treaty on behalf of the United States on 31 December 2000, but the controversy surrounding the treaty doomed prospects for ratification. On 6 May 2002, President Bush formally notified the United Nations of our intent to withdraw from the treaty. The court commenced operations at The Hague in the Netherlands on 1 July 2002, three months after the 60th signatory state ratified the treaty.

The United States recently sought and obtained concessions from the United Nations and individual states exempting US forces involved in international peacekeeping operations from the jurisdiction of the court. These events, and the United States’ failure to join the 138 states that have signed the treaty and the 81 states that have ratified it and become parties as of this writing, makes this a timely and important subject. It has ramifications for the global war on terrorism and American national security policy.

Author William A. Schabas, an international law professor at the Irish Centre for Human Rights of the University of Ireland, Galway, and an observer at Rome, provides a straightforward, generally helpful analysis of the Rome Statute and the ICC. Some members of the US government, Congress, and media critical of the ICC, including members of the military, have not read the Rome Statute, and their opposition is a matter of faith rather than educated opinion. A brief summary of Schabas’s book may shed some needed light on this subject and encourage further study.

Chapter One outlines the formation of the treaty. Drawing upon the experiences of the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals following World War II and modern tribunals convened for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the United Nations in 1995 established a preparatory committee to draft language for a permanent criminal court. In July 1998, representatives of some 160 states and numerous nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) met in Rome to negotiate an international agreement that would become the Rome Statute. The remarkably short period of time in which this transpired reflected the strong sense of the international community for a standing court.


Heavily involved in early discussions, US negotiators were soon outmaneuvered by a group of states known as the “like minded,” including US allies Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Norway, the Republic of Korea, and the United Kingdom. This group provided the nucleus of support for critical elements of the treaty, in particular universal jurisdiction, the “core crimes” of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, the lack of Security Council veto over prosecution, and prohibition of reservations.

Article 120 required the treaty be accepted “in toto,” contrary to customary practice that states may sign treaties with “reservations” limiting application of specific provisions of the treaty against the reserving state. As the state most heavily involved in international operations, the United States wanted a limitation on prosecutorial discretion to preclude politically motivated prosecutions of Americans. US negotiators advocated this position on behalf of the Department of Defense, but the “like minded” states rejected it and established a single standard applicable to all.

In succeeding chapters, Schabas examines key sections of the treaty and controlling law in the areas of crimes, jurisdiction, principles of criminal law, investigation, pretrial and trial procedure, and punishment. It is sufficient for our purposes to examine two critical portions of the treaty influencing the United States’ final position on the court—jurisdiction and prosecutorial discretion.

The ICC enjoys universal jurisdiction over individuals committing crimes in the territory of any signatory state, and over individuals belonging to or found in the territory of a state party to the treaty. This provision significantly expands the court’s reach, as customary practice would exclude states not party to a treaty (and their nationals) from its jurisdiction. Still, the treaty contains substantial safeguards. Once a state exercises jurisdiction and investigates an offense, the ICC is effectively deprived of jurisdiction, a principle known as “complementarity.” In the words of Article 17 of the treaty, the case is “inadmissible” when a state takes action, even if the investigation does not result in prosecution. The ICC may proceed only if the state is “unwilling or unable genuinely” to investigate or prosecute the case. Therefore, unless a state’s action is a sham proceeding, the ICC lacks jurisdiction. In light of this, it appears alarmist to claim the ICC violates national sovereignty. States retain initial jurisdiction over all crimes covered by the treaty, a practice consistent with tradition and with customary international law. The ICC, it must be emphasized, was created to function only when other competent authority cannot or will not take appropriate action.

The second major issue dividing the United States and most of the international community is the investigative procedure, vested in an independent prosecutor and a Pre-Trial Chamber of judges of the ICC. Under the treaty, prosecutors exercise broad discretion, known as proprio motu, or “acting on his or her own initiative.” Prosecutors need not obtain approval of the United Nations Security Council before commencing investigation (the Security Council in any Chapter VII action may direct an investigation, as may any state party to the treaty, but it cannot stop one). “Complementarity” was designed as a safeguard against unwarranted prosecution. In addition, however, the prosecutor must first refer any case to the Pre-Trial Chamber, where a panel of three judges must endorse the recommendation to prosecute. Lastly, if the Pre-Trial Chamber endorses the prosecutor’s recommendation, the state concerned has 30 days to file objections and invoke complementarity.

Other provisions of the treaty, such as a yet-to-be-defined “crimes of aggression,” make Americans nervous, but the jurisdictional framework and potential for po-


litical prosecution are most-often cited. As one of a handful of states, including China, Iraq, and Iran, that have not joined the treaty, the United States now finds itself at a distinct disadvantage in influencing further development of the court. Although Article 124 of the treaty provides that any party to the treaty may elect to “opt out” of ICC jurisdiction over its nationals for war crimes for a period of seven years after signing (affording an excellent opportunity to see how the ICC would develop), this proved inadequate inducement for the United States.

This book introduces the ICC to the general public. It is sufficiently detailed, yet relatively brief (164 pages). The appendix, larger than the main body of the book, contains the text of the treaty, elements of crimes, and rules of procedure and evidence. These sections are of great benefit to the academic researcher or attorney as well as to laymen interested in greater detail. Schabas does a nice job of explaining how the ICC accommodates the conflicting standards of the continental, or civil law, system and the common law system found in the United States and most parts of the former British Empire. His tone is businesslike and informative. It advocates no position. As a reviewer I would have appreciated a concluding chapter discussing frankly the court’s prospects and predicting how some of the court’s relatively radical provisions will likely be reconciled by the international community. Nonetheless, Schabas achieved the goal he announced in his Preface—his book is a good introduction to the ICC.

Those interested in national security issues would be well-advised to peruse this book or some other account of the ICC. There are many from which to choose. Thus far, the level of debate in this country surrounding the ICC has been rather one-dimensional, focusing on vague fears of what might happen and perceived threats to national sovereignty. We have made up our minds, and we don’t really trust international justice. This strain of American exceptionalism reflects our isolationist past; like the ICC, it is not a new idea. To pursue it now, however, in the midst of a global war on terrorism in which we seek and need partners and allies, seems counterproductive. We feel we can’t lose if we don’t play. It’s equally possible we can’t win if we don’t play.

gr_ball.gif (967 bytes)Crescent & Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds. By Stephen Kinzer. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2001. 272 pages. $25.00. Reviewed by R. Craig Nation, Professor of Strategy, US Army War College.

Stephen Kinzer is a seasoned foreign correspondent with a knack for insightful observation. Crescent & Star, his portrait of contemporary Turkey, is informed by extensive experience in-country as the first New York Times bureau chief in Istanbul beginning in 1996, and by undisguised personal conviction concerning the soaring potential of his subject, a country perceived to possess “the resources to become a towering power.” Kinzer’s book is a particularly successful example of the journalistic country study. It makes stimulating reading, ranges widely in an effort to capture as many dimensions of modern Turkish reality as possible, and provides a series of useful recommendations for policy choices.

Kinzer’s confidence in Turkey’s prospects is well-placed. Once regarded as a marginal player on the fringe of Europe, “following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new world geopolitics, Turkey finds itself not on the fringe of anything but in the middle of the world.” Demographic growth and economic expansion have given the Turks increased weight in world affairs. The country’s geostrategic position—span-


ning Europe, the greater Middle East, and the post-Soviet Caucasus and inner Asia— makes it a critical national actor. As a secular state with democratic institutions and an overwhelmingly Muslim population, Turkey is often regarded as a potential model for the Islamic world as a whole. Its pro-Western strategic orientation has made it a reliable and much appreciated US ally. Crescent & Star offers appropriate tribute for Turkey’s achievements to Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), the founder of the modern Turkish Republic who made linking Turkey to Europe his life’s work. If it is true, as Kinzer proposes, that in a post-Cold War environment the “distinction between Europe and Asia, an artificial construct of Europeans looking for ways to define their superiority to the presumed barbarians east of them, has fallen away,” then the bridge across the Bosphorus that modern Turkey embodies will become one of the key passageways of the 21st century.

There is, unfortunately, a considerable amount of trouble in the Anatolian paradise. The Turkish democratic model is flawed, marked by neglect of human rights, an unresolved struggle to come to terms with the country’s multicultural reality, and a heavy-handed engagement of the military in civil affairs. Corruption is endemic, and the past few years have seen a harsh economic downturn. Against a background of increasing public disaffection, the rise of a politically committed Islamic movement has posed a fundamental challenge to the Kemalist legacy. Kinzer discusses these problems—the Islamic challenge, the Kurdish question, human rights abuses, the role of the military in politics, popular alienation from the political process, relations with neighboring Greece and the unresolved Cyprus issue, and the troubled prospects of closer association with Europe—in a series of sharply drawn essays that make no attempt to sugarcoat or shield the Turks from merited criticism.

The “two worlds” between which Turkey is required to choose are characterized by the Turkish words istiklal (independence), the name of Istanbul’s thriving commercial boulevard, used to represent resolute modernization and expanded personal responsibility for a mature Turkish citizenry, and devlet (the state), representing the tradition of quasi-authoritarian governance by a paternalistic elite. Kinzer’s preference is clear. He describes the political system as “ossified, dominated by a handful of phlegmatic reactionaries whose only true allegiance is to the status quo,” brands the paternalistic state (devlet baba) as the major barrier to Turkey’s continued progress, and hinges the country’s “glorious” future upon its ability to pursue the logic of progressive reform. The choice between these clearly etched alternatives, which has not yet definitively been made, emerges from Kinzer’s book as a fateful one with considerable strategic significance.

What forces are at work promoting the kinds of choices that Kinzer urges? His analysis reinforces the case for a strong link to the United States as an anchor in the West, though US Turkish policy might best be advised to proceed on the premise of tough love—Turkey will be accorded no favors if its most self-destructive tendencies are tolerated in the name of strategic expediency. Turkey’s European vocation is championed, though the extent of hostility within the European Union toward Turkey’s campaign for membership is possibly understated. In this regard, the broadening rapprochement between Turkey and Greece is justifiably singled out for special praise. Kinzer makes a realistic case for the role of the progressive officer corps as a factor for positive change, “the indispensable element in the grand national coalition that can bring true democracy to Turkey.” He is less successful in discussing the role of political Islam in the process. The Islamic challenge is addressed on the basis of the missteps of Necmettin Erbakan and his Welfare Party during their brief stint in power in 1996-97, and the “Silent Coup”


led by the military-dominated National Security Council that forced them from office is in some ways justified as a last line of defense against the Islamic threat. Though this section of Kinzer’s text concludes with a sympathetic portrait of Abdullah Gül, current Foreign Minister and representative of the Justice and Development Party that is Welfare’s spiritual successor, the kind of moderate “Muslim Democracy” orientation that the Justice and Development Party seems committed to establishing is not really invoked. Turkey’s ability to accept and co-opt a politicized Islam respectful of democratic institutions and norms into the political mainstream is, however, a critical test of its capacity to follow the direction that Kinzer proposes.

In the end these issues will be decided by the Turkish people themselves, whose increasing political maturity is singled out as a critical national asset. One of the most appealing features of Kinzer’s work is its evocation of the flavor of Turkish life in its manifest dimensions, described in the words of a wide range of average citizens. These include portraits of the delights of meze and rakı, the country’s natural beauty and magnificent archeological heritage, the contemplative atmosphere of the nargile salon, the distinctive traditions of camel fighting and oil wrestling, the institution of swimming the Bosphorus (indulged in by the author and beautifully described), and, in a surprise ending, the new Turkey’s confrontation with the “real blues.” They also include evocations of the enduring pride of Turkey’s once honored but now neglected Korean War veterans, the lot of incarcerated suspects in the contested territories of Southeastern Anatolia, and the bitter fate of the incomparable Nazım Hikmet, Turkey’s great but politically contentious modern poet. These portraits do more than offer local color. They are essential to the author’s core argument and fondest hope—that Turkey’s rich and complex cultural foundation will ultimately allow it to overcome all challenges and realize its tremendous national potential.

Crescent & Star is a rare example of a book that is relevant both to casual readers seeking a stronger awareness of modern Turkish realities and foreign policy specialists with a more focused interest in Ankara’s expanding role in world affairs. It is not a scholarly text, and indeed contains occasional factual errors, but it succeeds in posing the most critical issues involving contemporary Turkey in a particularly lucid way. These issues are of critical relevance to the US national security community. Kinzer may sin on the side of excessive enthusiasm, but his book asks appropriate questions, and answers them substantially and fairly.

gr_ball.gif (967 bytes)Patton’s Bulldog: The Life and Service of General Walton H. Walker. By Wilson A. Heefner. Shippensburg, Pa.: White Mane Books, 2001. 348 pages. $29.95. Reviewed by Dr. Samuel Newland (LTC, ARNG Ret.), Professor, Department of Distance Education, US Army War College.

    Though most students of military history recognize the name Walton H. Walker due to his leading role in the defense of the Pusan Perimeter during the Korean War, a well-written and insightful biography of this senior commander—one that delves into the details of his long and distinguished service to the nation—has long been lacking. This book on the life and service of General Walker helps to fill a gap in the historiography of key American military leadership in the first half of the 20th century.

Wilson Heefner served under Walker as an enlisted man during the Korean War, and his book is a sympathetic biography. At the same time, it’s an accurate one.


While the book covers Walker’s career from his commissioning to his untimely death in Korea, most of the book logically focuses on the periods where he made his greatest impact on US military history—World War II and Korea.

Through the early portions of the book, covering Walker’s development from his youth through World War I, the student of military history develops a sense of frustration with the author’s treatment of General Walker, for this part of the book tends to be a simple biographical narrative of the events of his life and career. There is little if any insightful analysis of his character, his role in World War I operations, or his shortcomings. Much the same is true for the author’s treatment of the interwar years.

In World War II, the fortunes of war did not take Walker and his XXth Armored Corps to Europe until the end of the third week of July 1944. Once in Europe, Walker was assigned to Patton’s Third Army, where he deservedly established his reputation as a “Bulldog.” It was in these campaigns that the leadership qualities of Walker were clearly evident. From the Cobra breakout to the war’s end, Walker was consistently aggressive, tenacious, and dependable. He was also a general officer who was no stranger to the front, constantly on the move visiting headquarters and soldiers at every level.

When the author discusses Walker as Commander of Eighth Army in the Korean War, the coverage of operations and Walker’s role as a senior leader improves considerably. In fact, the preponderance of the book addresses Walker’s role in the Korean War and reveals his brilliance on the battlefield. General Douglas MacArthur placed Walker in command of ground forces in Korea as the American/UN position became increasingly grim in July 1950. Given the strength of the North Korean People’s Army (NKPA), its initial weapons superiority, and the fact that it had the initiative, all Walker could reasonably accomplish was to delay the enemy while building up strength for a counteroffensive. Constantly on the move, Walker oversaw a painful retrograde movement that cost both sides heavily in men and equipment.

When he reached what would later be known as the Pusan Perimeter, Walker’s Allied forces began their defense in earnest. Although the author makes the case that Walker used a mobile defense to hold the perimeter and its vital port, in many respects Walker used a combination of mobile and area defense, holding space and buying time until US-led forces were ready. The Pusan Perimeter was in fact his finest hour. After the Inchon landings, Walker launched his breakout, and ultimately NKPA forces withdrew in disarray. Though MacArthur at one point intended only to secure the 38th parallel, his plans would take Walker’s forces north of the 38th as they pursued the remnants of the North Korean forces.

Once the Chinese struck, it was General Walker’s task to again delay and extricate the UN forces from disaster. It was during these retrograde operations that Walker was killed. He died in a jeep accident on a day when, characteristic of his command style, he had set out to make a personal visit to several units that had distinguished themselves in battle.

In all, Heefner’s biography is recommended for the student of military affairs. It gives a nice overview of General Walker’s role in Patton’s Third Army campaigns in World War II, and an even better look at the operations of Eighth Army during the first six months of the Korean War. Clearly the author is sympathetic to his subject, yet he provides candid insights into the life and career of a notable 20th-century US senior military leader.


gr_ball.gif (967 bytes)The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare Against Civilians: Why It Has Always Failed and Why It Will Fail Again. By Caleb Carr. New York: Random House, 2002. Reviewed by Dr. Douglas V. Johnson II (LTC, USA Ret.), a Research Professor with the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College.

If you are into Political Correctitude don’t read this book—it will only give you apoplexy—but if you like your history slashingly unvarnished and straightforward, you will love it! Be warned, however, that the Prologue and Chapter One are difficult going as the author trots out his own peculiar philosophy of organized violence. Carr’s definition of terrorism is “the contemporary name given to . . . warfare deliberately waged against civilians with the purpose of destroying their will to support either leaders or policies that the agents of such violence find objectionable.”

He then proceeds to make clear the true nature of terrorism as so defined: “[We] have in the past been, and in disturbing numbers remain, prepared to treat terrorists as being on a par with smugglers, drug traffickers, or, at most, some kind of political Mafiosi, rather than what they have in fact been for almost half a century: organized, highly trained, hugely destructive paramilitary units that were and are conducting offensive campaigns against a variety of nations and social systems.” Carr continues to refine his perception of terrorism: “One can refuse to call such people an army, if one wishes; yet they are organized as an army, and certainly they conduct themselves as an army, giving and taking secret orders to attack their enemies with a variety of tactics that serve one overarching strategy: terror.”

Following this attempt at defining the issue, he moves on to declare, within the context of Just War theory, that most wars have eventually become little more than acts of terrorism. The bombing campaigns against Germany and Japan come in for particularly sharp scrutiny, calling to mind Sir Winston Churchill’s devastatingly perceptive question, “Are we beasts?” In Carr’s treatment of Just War theory, the reader will be exposed to a good deal more Emmerich de Vattel than Hugo Grotius.

Thence Carr begins a tour of global military history from China to the Incas by way of the rest of the world, pausing in Prussia to highlight the wars of Frederick the Great. Here, says Carr, is a man who fully understood that war is a political act which, if it is waged against populations, is inherently self-defeating. Instead, Frederick fully deserves the title “Great” because he kept war within strict bounds of policy and maintained his focus on the enemy army as the key supporting pillar of the government he wished to subdue. Carr then proceeds in his analysis of the politically correct myth that all colonial wars were inherently evil by illuminating the murderous activities and willing participation of the “natives” in the ethnic and tribal wars of the 18th century and beyond. The consequence of engaging in these wars, however, led some to conclude that “to defeat a savage one must become a savage.” He argues that proposition is as hollow and self-serving today as it ever was, and that “the idea that one cannot defeat those who practice the tactics of terror without practicing such tactics oneself has never been more than a fig leaf behind which naturally malicious, vengeful, and blood-thirsty characters attempt to hide their own barbarity.” That should give American soldiers both pause and pride for their conduct of the war against terrorism. It may also serve to rehabilitate the old Vietnam saw about “winning the hearts and minds” by placing concepts in a broader, perhaps more “just” context.


Carr concludes that the current terrorist efforts will fail because their tactics are inherently illegitimate—the deliberate attack upon civilians—and: “In so doing, the organizers, sponsors, and foot soldiers of every terrorist group involved in the September 11 attacks have unwittingly ensured that their extremist cause will be discredited among many of their sympathizers, disowned by their former sponsors, and finally defeated by their enemies.”

The only remaining question is whether the United States will stoop to an equivalent level of barbarity, an issue that Carr suggests may be in some doubt if the traditional “American Way of War” is followed. The reader may not agree with what Carr has to say, but one cannot help but be profoundly stimulated by his arguments.

gr_ball.gif (967 bytes)Strategic Thinking: An Introduction and Farewell. By Philip Windsor, edited by Mats Berdal and Spyros Economides. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002. 199 pages. $19.95. Reviewed by Bill Doll (Colonel, ARNG Ret.), Senior Analyst, Joint Warfare Analysis Center, Dahlgren, Va.

It is unfortunate that Philip Windsor was not more widely published or more widely read during his lifetime. He had a keen mind and a unique perspective insofar as the Cold War period was concerned. Strategic Thinking: An Introduction and Farewell is his final work, ultimately edited by others and published after his death in 2000. The book grew out of a series of lectures titled “Strategic Aspects of International Relations” that he delivered during his tenure at the London School of Economics from 1967 to1997. This book is an absolute must for any student of strategic thought.

Windsor’s thesis is that the nuclear age was one in which “strategic thinking dominated the conduct of international affairs.” It was, and is, an age in which strategy came to dominate politics because the means (nuclear weapons) in essence defined the ends. As introductory examples he offers a simple analysis of three nuclear-era identifiers: the Cold War, superpowers, and bipolarity. The term Cold War suggests that Clausewitz’s dictum that war was the continuation of political intercourse carried on with other means had been reversed: politics had now become the continuation of war by other means. “Superpowers” were neither empires nor global powers, the United States being the possible exception insofar as it had global economic influence, and they were not hegemons. They were more simply defined by their ability to destroy the society of an enemy state and eventually the entire world. Finally the much-touted “bipolar” world dominated by Moscow and Washington was not that at all. This was evident by the continuing problems in the Middle East, the nonaligned nations movement, and the emergence of China. The point here is that strategic considerations in the conduct of states in recent history were based on such catchphrases. Nuclear deterrence, in an effort to manipulate catastrophic risk, acquired a unique political dynamic that required a rule set that came to dominate strategic thinking, which in turn determined the ways that international affairs could be conducted. The failure of the rule set at lower operational or even tactical levels could quickly escalate, and left unchecked would just as quickly lead to the destruction of civilization. To ensure this would not occur, regimes such as alliances and arms control became imperative, but would also further complicate the situation.

In order to understand the basis of this new strategic thinking, Professor Windsor takes the reader through the development of Just War theory, the legal traditions it


spawned, and the political context of war: an interesting yet broad journey from Constantine to Clausewitz. In each step he evaluates the development of the moral basis of warfare from the perspective of these traditions, each leading to the next, though none of them totally disappearing. His treatment of Clausewitz’s development of the political context of war cuts through much of the misunderstanding of On War and lays an excellent foundation for Windsor’s thesis. This analysis is perceptive and should be required for any student of statecraft and strategy. It is an excellent departure point for the development of modern warfare.

Professor Windsor then fully develops his thesis. War in the 20th century, he argues, was transformed in two regards. The first was the development of the machinery of war, specifically the submarine, the tank, and the airplane. The second was the social and mental transformation in ideological form that sent nations into war determined not just on conquest, but on the total destruction of their adversaries’ population. From these circumstances nuclear weapons were developed, “for fear that one ideological monster, Hitler, would do so first.” Thermonuclear weapons were subsequently developed for the same reason; this time the “ideological monster” that persuaded Truman to act was Stalin. For Windsor, it is the nonuse of these nuclear weapons that would revolutionize strategic conduct while at the same time containing the totalitarianism they were meant to destroy. These two considerations “led to the autonomy of strategy that has characterized the nuclear age.” And here, Windsor refers back to the historical context: “The transformation of war . . . meant the almost certain breakdown of any systems of moral, legal, or political control. The implicit promise of the nuclear age was that the strategic threats themselves could provide a new framework of control.” This would require applications of strategic thinking, ones that would eventually lead to politics becoming the continuation of war by other means as previously stated.

Professor Windsor spends several chapters tracing the patterns of how nuclear strategic thinking unfolded, exploring each dilemma and paradox. Whether it is deterrence, proxy war, guerrilla warfare, or limited war, it is war all the same. And since the nuclear age was the umbrella of all this, it required the test of rationality and thus an ethical case for its conduct. Windsor finds neither.

In conclusion Windsor delivers his evaluation of the post-Cold War era. During the Cold War “the conflict was conducted in terms to which the use of force was irrelevant; strategic considerations became . . . predominant in the field of international relations. Strategic thinking became self-referring and self-legitimating.” Now, however, the Cold War is history, and the role of the superpower has vanished. “Where does this leave strategic thinking?” he asks. “The short answer, as exemplified by the rapid collapse of any expectations of a New World Order, is that strategic thinking is now in a state of confusion and disarray.” Windsor develops some additional thoughts here, not the least of which is the idea of “controlling peace”—an interesting framework for future perspectives. He closes with the proposition that what has become necessary is “a proper sense of the tragic—starting with the assumption not that war is abnormal but that peace is difficult to achieve. If that becomes the future orientation of strategic thought, strategic assumptions can no longer provide a quick-fix solution to the tragic nature of human existence in international society. Instead, the understanding of tragedy can still be what, from the composition of the very earliest tragedies, it was meant to be: an act of liberation.”

Some may take issue with Philip Windsor’s thesis, but his assessment and analysis demonstrate a keen ability to understand a unique period in history. While decidedly a


British view of the era, his perspective is the first of what is sure to be many analyses of Cold War strategic thought. In that sense it is the mark by which succeeding authors will be measured. For that reason alone, Strategic Thinking is well worth reading.

gr_ball.gif (967 bytes)Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence. By Mark Juergensmeyer. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. Reviewed by Dr. Martin L. Cook, Elihu Root Professor of Military Studies and Professor of Ethics, US Army War College.

This book should be required reading as we try to grasp the full dimensions of the “war against terrorism.” Americans especially suffer from a nearly insuperable blindness when it comes to the role of religion in the political and cultural lives of most of humanity. Our proud American traditions of religious tolerance, diversity, pluralism, and separation of church and state, essential and crucial as they are to our own culture and life, make it nearly impossible for us to grasp the fact that those ideas are almost entirely unknown to most cultures and societies on our planet. Juergensmeyer’s book is the best in the field at offering a comprehensive overview of the role religion plays in various terrorist movements around the world. In addition, it provides a general theoretical framework for those phenomena.

The first half of the book draws on Juergensmeyer’s study of specific religiously inspired terrorist groups. He starts close to home in reporting on individuals and groups in the United States prepared to bomb abortion clinics and kill physicians. He then moves on to consider other “Christian” terrorist groups such as the various White Supremacist groups in the United States and the religious roots of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

He then examines various Jewish groups involved in assassination and bombing in the name of Judaism, Islamic groups involved in the first World Trade Center bombing and suicide missions in Israel, Sikh terrorist movements in India, and Aum Shinrikyo’s biological weapon attacks in Japan.

In each case, the strength of Juergensmeyer’s treatment is that he combines a fairly detailed description of the specifics of the individuals and groups in question with an equally carefully analysis of their theological justifications for their actions. In this regard, he is careful not to move quickly to generalizations about religious terrorism, but to let each group speak for itself and articulate the particulars of its grievances and ideology.

The second half of the book moves beyond the specifics and cautiously attempts a more general assessment of the common features of religiously inspired terrorism. What distinguishes religious terrorism from more ordinary political terrorism is that it lacks a concrete and achievable political goal: it is “cosmic war.” That way of construing the conflict as an absolute encounter of unalloyed good with irredeemable evil makes such conflicts utterly intractable. Juergensmeyer identifies three common elements of these conflicts:

Not only is the struggle cosmic war, so are the foes. Juergensmeyer writes, “The process of creating satanic enemies is part of the construction of an image of cosmic war. . . . By belittling and humiliating [one’s opponents]—by making them subhuman—one is asserting one’s own superior moral power.”


Juergensmeyer sees the response of religious terrorism as grounded in the sense of personal and cultural humiliation of the terrorist. Committing acts of violence—even if futile in ordinary political terms—generates what he calls “symbolic empowerment”: “These cosmic wars impart a sense of importance and destiny to men who find the modern world to be stifling, chaotic, and dangerously out of control. The imagined wars identify the enemy, the imputed source of their personal and political failures.”

The root issue, Juergensmeyer argues, is precisely the American blind spot: the idea of a nation “rooted in a secular compact rather than a religious or ethnic identity.” Increasingly around the world, he argues, this core idea (separation of church and state, essentially) is being seen as an alien cultural construct to which many societies are increasingly averse as they seek ways to resist their own sense of cultural and religious humiliation and subordination. “In such cases, religious alternatives to secular ideologies have had extraordinary appeal.”

Juergensmeyer’s book concludes by assessing the strengths and weakness of various possible outcomes to the actions of religious terrorism: destroying violence by military force, reprisals that succeed in “terrifying terrorists” into ceasing their activities, terrorism actually succeeds and wins, a victory of the Enlightenment’s separation of religion from the political, and “healing politics” from within the resources of religion itself.

To the author’s credit, he leaves his assessment of each in the form of “on the one hand, on the other”—with one exception. He sees the chance of the spread of American-style privatization of religion and separation of religion from politics to be essentially nil. In other words, the strategic environment of the future will be awash in religiously inspired thought and action. It therefore is incumbent on Americans to read and deeply ponder books such as this as we begin to think about that environment. If we at least begin to see our own blind spot, we will have made progress. Ultimately, however, we will need to integrate a deep understanding of the role of religion in cultures around the world if we are to engage them effectively and avoid the oversimplifications that a purely secular politics and construal of military power tempts us toward.

Juergensmeyer’s cautionary word should weigh heavily upon our strategic thinking: “The war-against-terrorism strategy can be dangerous, in that it can play into the scenario that religious terrorists themselves have fostered: the image of a world at war between secular and religious forces. A belligerent secular enemy has often been just what religious activists have hoped for. In some cases it makes recruitment to their causes easier, for it demonstrates that the secular side can be as brutal as it has been portrayed in their own religious ideologies.”

gr_ball.gif (967 bytes)War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning. By Chris Hedges. New York: Public Affairs, 2002. 210 pages. $23.00. Reviewed by Shannon E. French, Ph.D., a Philosophy Professor in the Department of Leadership, Ethics, and Law at the US Naval Academy and author of The Code of the Warrior: Exploring Warrior Values, Past and Present.

We all know the adage, “War is hell.” It isn’t news to anyone that war is a gruesome, nauseating experience that grinds up innocence and spits out hatred. What Chris Hedges reminds us in War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, however, is that war also can be strangely compelling, even addictive. Those who live surrounded by chaos and conflict, stalked by an indiscriminant reaper of souls, have no time for the trivial. Their threatened


existence takes on an intensity that is unmatched in peacetime. Friends become comrades worth dying for. Romantic attachments become loves that will last beyond the grave. Political, ideological, religious, and ethnic differences become causes that justify slaughter. Life in the face of war is at once more terrifying and more meaningful.

Chris Hedges has seen war, not as a combatant or a refugee, but as a journalist. Hedges spent 15 years as a foreign correspondent, during which time he bore witness to man’s inhumanity to man in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Israel, Palestine, the Sudan and Yemen, Algeria, the Punjab and Romania, before covering the Gulf War, Kurdish rebellions in northern Iraq and Turkey, the Bosnian War, and the war in Kosovo. He remarks that he has been “in ambushes on desolate stretches of Central American roads, shot at in the marshes of southern Iraq, imprisoned in the Sudan, beaten by Saudi military police, deported from Libya and Iran, captured and held for a week by Iraqi Republican Guard during the Shiite rebellion following the Gulf War, strafed by MiG-21s in Bosnia, fired upon by Serb snipers, and shelled for days in Sarajevo with deafening rounds of heavy artillery that threw out thousands of deadly bits of iron fragments.” His book is his attempt to piece together some insights from all that he has observed into a coherent picture of the disturbing attraction war seems to hold for humanity.

Hedges’ project is a worthy one, but there are some faults with his realization of it. The reader is at once drawn in by his obvious sincerity and depth of feeling and put off by his sometimes pompous and ornate prose. Phrases such as “all the sacrifice had been for naught” seem antiquated against the gritty backdrop of modern combat. Of greater concern is Hedges’ tendency to make sweeping generalizations about the nations and individuals who prosecute wars. In his desire to draw dramatic conclusions and definitive “lessons learned,” he ignores the true moral complexity that defines our reality. For example, despite having previously noted that “war is not a uniform experience or event,” he writes:

States at war silence their own authentic and humane culture. When this destruction is well advanced they find the lack of critical and moral restraint useful in the campaign to exterminate the culture of their opponents. By destroying authentic culture —that which allows us to question and examine ourselves and our society—the state erodes the moral fabric. It is replaced with a warped version of reality. The enemy is dehumanized; the universe starkly divided between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. The cause is celebrated, often in overt religious forms, as manifestation of the divine or historical will. All is dedicated to promoting and glorifying the myth, the nation, the cause.

Does he really mean to assert that all states at war behave this way? In his rush to condemn what is indeed an evil when it occurs, he presents an indefensible over-generalization.

Hedges includes several timely references to the US response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, and the then-prospective war with Iraq. He makes it clear that he does not approve of war with Iraq (calling it “as ill-conceived as the war we lost in southeast Asia”), but he again does not offer any reasoned arguments to justify his position. And given what he has seen of genuine oppression, his insistence that nationalist fervor in America has turned us all into Jerry Falwells—“We embrace gross and overtly racist notions of Islam. . . . Questioning of the nationalist line . . . is branded unpatriotic, intellectual treason, just as it was in Argentina in 1982”—rings hollow.


Hedges seems torn in his emotions toward the men and women who actually fight in modern wars. He states that he is not a pacifist, and expresses admiration for the professional soldier who is heir to the legacy of the Roman legions. Yet he labels all killing in war “murder,” is intensely skeptical of the heroic ideal, and claims that early in the 20th century, “The accepted principles of humanity, the archaic code of the warrior, became quaint and obsolete.” He is aware of the bond of love that forms among comrades-in-arms and wants to be respectful of it, but somehow misses the mark when he writes, “Combatants live only for their herd.”

The author gives several examples of war journalists, including himself, who repeatedly sought out conflicts to cover. He compares these journalists to drug addicts, unable to live for too long away from the intensity of the hot zones. The psychology of these journalists is interesting, but it is should not be confused with that of the professional warrior. The journalist who told Hedges he thought he was “trying to be a hero and get exclusive pictures” has a different concept of heroism than that of a Navy SEAL.

Hedges is at his best when he is describing his own wartime experiences and when he is giving the reader detailed facts about specific conflicts—in other words, when he is writing like a journalist. He is at his worst when he tries to move from the particular to the universal. His strongest general conclusions are those about the link between war and sex, explored in the final chapter. Yet his book is well worth reading, despite its flaws. Hedges may over-reach, but what he is aiming for—to protect us from the seduction of war—is noble, and he gives us much to think about along the way.

gr_ball.gif (967 bytes)The Ideas that Conquered the World: Peace, Democracy, and Free Markets in the Twenty-first Century. By Michael Mandelbaum. New York: Public Affairs Press, 2002. 402 pages. $30.00. Reviewed by Andrew Olson, Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University.

The Ideas that Conquered the World provides insights on the principles that have guided US foreign policy since President Woodrow Wilson. Michael Mandelbaum, one of America’s leading foreign policy intellectuals, uses history as a guide to describe the ascendancy of three big ideas—free trade, democracy, and peace. He offers this book as an alternative to conventional realist thought in foreign affairs, suggesting that America’s soft power is more important than its military might, and, in effect, was responsible for winning the Cold War. Mandelbaum highlights the power and successes of Wilson’s triad of ideas, but when applied to current strategic threats he treats them as self-implementing, ignoring the core issues in the struggles by Wilson and others to gain their acceptance as guidelines for US foreign policy.

The book addresses the concepts of political Liberalism and the role of social history in the evolution of this very Western political philosophy. It traces the historical development of free trade and democracy, starting with the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain and the French Revolution. The United States became the champion of the relatively new ideas of free markets, democracy, and common security, and later, under President Wilson, Mandelbaum argues, the diffusion of ideas and ideals of free markets and democracy ultimately led to the defeat of conservatism on the European continent, while facing down fascist and communist political and eventually military threats. He extends his argument in the wake of the Cold War, suggesting that the


power of these ideas has created an extraordinary new reality—the obsolescence of war between great powers.

Mandelbaum evokes the image of a tripod in explaining how free markets, democracy, and peace operate together. Free markets allow for the creation of wealth, democracy provides self-determination, and when both these legs are present it is highly probable that individuals will pursue peace over the destructiveness of war. Mandelbaum asserts that peace on the European continent is due to the triumph of free markets, democracy, and the adoption of a defensive-oriented military strategy. He does address technological advances in warfare, such as nuclear weapons and the theory of Mutually Assured Destruction, but does not give them their due credit in making warfare among global powers obsolete.

In The Ideas that Conquered the World, Mandelbaum also neglects the difficulty of breaking the cycle of poverty, disease, murderous dictatorships, and human rights abuses that threaten the world. The notion that the developing world needs to be brought to the banquet table is not new. Surprisingly in a book addressing “the world,” this book does not speak to the failures of democracy and free markets in Africa or Southeast Asia. For instance, currently free markets and democracy are struggling mightily in Central and South America (not to mention Central Asia and the Middle East), areas which have enjoyed US military protection since the Monroe Doctrine and yet still remain in the shadow of the United States, Europe, and Japan. Whether the big ideas take root there and, in fact, conquer the region remains to be seen.

Unfortunately, Mandelbaum also does not tackle the complex issues of culture, ethnicity, and religion, the roles they play in determining national (and subnational) values and interests, and how to resolve the ongoing and potential conflicts that remain in the age of globalization. Regardless of the post-Cold War dominance of the liberal powers, prosperity remains predominately a Western enterprise. In addition, challenges to security that many experts agree will confront the United States and the world in the 21st century are conspicuously absent in Mandelbaum’s writing. These new threats include resource scarcity—namely water—and growing economic regionalism. As the near future unfolds, will countries fight over essential resources and markets that provide for the very wealth and stability that produce peace?

In conclusion, Michael Mandelbaum’s book provides an excellent historical understanding of the evolution and diffusion of the Western liberal ideas of free trade, democracy, and peace. It should be read not only by those interested in foreign policy, but especially by younger students who may not have an adequate understanding of the Cold War and how our belief in free markets came to be so unchallenged and ubiquitous. Appreciating the interconnectedness of Wilson’s triad of ideas is critical to advocates of US foreign policy, especially if further dispersion and implementation of these ideals as public diplomacy is to be successful on a global level.

Mandelbaum’s objective was to use social history as a basis for understanding the dominance of free markets and democracy, and that he achieved wonderfully. However, by ignoring the history of events in the developing world, he understates or ignores essential realities, most notably that the US military power that lends so much credence to the notions of free markets and democracy, while simultaneously making war among global powers virtually inconceivable, may not be relevant in the new world of the 21st century. Surely some new thinking is required to clearly understand the emergence of new threats in a new age.

Go to Summer issue Table of Contents.

Go to Book Review Index.

Go to Parameters home page.

Reviewed 15 May 2003. Please send comments or corrections to