Grand Strategies in War and Peace (Revised) Paperback – 1 Sep 1992
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About the Author
Paul Kennedy is the author or editor of thirteen books, including "Preparing for the Twenty-first Century" and T"he Rise and Fall of the Great Powers," which has been translated into more than twenty languages. He serves on the editorial board of numerous scholarly journals and has written for "The New York Times," "Los Angeles Times," "The Atlantic Monthly," and several other publications. Educated at Newcastle University and Oxford University, he is a former fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University and of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung in Bonn.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a collection of some nine essays, each by an eminent authority (including future U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice). The first three essays look at British grand strategy during the War of the Spanish Succession, World War I and World War II. The next four essays look at the grand strategies of the Roman Empire, seventeenth century Imperial Spain, Imperial and Nazi German grand strategies, and French grand strategies in the two World Wars. The eighth essay (the one by Condoleezza Rice) looks at Communist Russia's grand strategies from the beginning of the Soviet Union to the Brezhnev era. The final essay was written by Paul Kennedy himself, and suggests how American grand strategy should look to function in a multipolar world where America has been overtaken by other powers in key measures of national preeminence.
Overall, I found this to be a fascinating book, with Eliot A. Cohen's essay on Churchill and World War II Britain being the very crown of the book. The final essay on the United States has been overtaken by events, with the U.S. still maintaining preeminence in spheres in which Professor Kennedy foresaw eclipse. But, that said, this is a fascinating read.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Within this narrow field, however, this book is excellent. The essays are clear, easy to follow, and persuasive. Most do an excellent job of providing not just a history lesson, but an analysis of the positive and negative aspects of the strategy. Of particular use were the three essays concerning British strategy in the War of Spanish Succession, World War I, and World War II. The essays on German and French policy also covered more than one war, making them useful for an analysis of how policy changes over time. Both successful and unsuccessful examples are given, and much thought is given on why this is so.
Beyond this, all I have are minor quibbles, the most serious being the fact that this is, essentially, a series of case studies. It is dangerous to use case studies to provide an objective analysis, in that there is a temptation to choose a thesis first, then choose which cases to observe to support that theory. Case studies are more useful in defending or defining a theory than in determining one. Here we can only hope that Paul Kennedy's reputation is earned (and I believe it is), because it would be very easy for him to mislead us.
The focus of the book is on Western Europe, and this is somewhat disappointing, given that other countries are becoming more and more prominent on the world scene. An analysis of Chinese, or even better, Japanese policy would have been useful, especially given its unique position. The end notes are placed at the very back of the book, making it difficult to check references, etc. The first essay could have used tighter editing as well.
Enough complaints, however. This is an excellent book, more useful for history than for strategy formulation, but a useful companion book nonetheless.
This book is a collection of some nine essays, each by an eminent authority (including future U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice). The first three essays look at British grand strategy during the War of the Spanish Succession, World War I and World War II. The next four essays look at the grand strategies of the Roman Empire, seventeenth century Imperial Spain, Imperial and Nazi German grand strategies, and French grand strategies in the two World Wars. The eighth essay (the one by Condoleezza Rice) looks at Communist Russia’s grand strategies from the beginning of the Soviet Union to the Brezhnev era. The final essay was written by Paul Kennedy himself, and suggests how American grand strategy should look to function in a multipolar world where America has been overtaken by other powers in key measures of national preeminence.
Overall, I found this to be a fascinating book, with Eliot A. Cohen’s essay on Churchill and World War II Britain being the very crown of the book. The final essay on the United States has been overtaken by events, with the U.S. still maintaining preeminence in spheres in which Professor Kennedy foresaw eclipse. But, that said, this is a fascinating read. Also, it does make one see how the recent administrations (both Republican and Democratic) have not pursued a grand strategy that has left America fully ready to deal with future wars, supported by broad alliances, or pointed towards a brighter post-war world.
So, let me just say that this is a very interesting book on national grand strategy, one that will give anyone a good deal of food for thought. I highly recommend this book.
This book is 17 years old, and hence does not reflect the 4th generation through 7th generation warfare thinking of Max Manwaring, Steve Metz, myself and many others, nor does it reflect the globalization versus jihad and the class war of immoral capitalism.
+ Grand strategy is about LONG-TERM interests, not a single Administration's "legacy."
+ Grand strategy demands the integration of the political, economic, and military (this is not good enough. The US military uses DIME for diplomatic, informational, military, and economic, but my own matrix, documented in my early papers at OSS.Net, distinguishes among:
More recently, to help a presidential contender, I took the ten-high level threats to humanity spelled out in A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility--Report of the Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, reviewed all the Mandate for Change books going back 20 years, and identified the following twelve policy areas that must be harmonized over time AND (this is IMPORTANT): demonstrated to Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Wild Cards, so they do not repeat our mistakes.
The ten grand strategy LONG-TERM policies are:
+ Moral resources join human and technical and economic resources as being fundamental to ways and means.
+ Husbanding and managing natural resources for the long-term is vital.
+ Diplomacy is vital (the US spent $30B on this in 2007, against $950B on waging war--in 2008 the Department of State is being down-sized to help pay for the Iraq debacle--this is plain NUTS.
+ Flexibility and frequent adaptation are essential (as opposed to the village idiot mantra, "stay the course")
+ A true grand strategy has at least as much to do about maintaining a prosperous peace as it does with executing a costly war.
+ Balance in all things among military and non-military, short and long term etc. is critical attribute of sound grand strategy.
+ The US is now strategically vulnerable on all fronts, not least because we allowed our corporations to externalize costs and eliminate home-front capabilities without regard to national prosperity or security.
+ The elements of grand strategy have a multiplier effect on one another. If they are left unattended, the Nation hollows out.
+ Armed forces should be able to deal with multiple contingencies, not just a worst case scenario (see my Joint Forces Quarterly article on the need for four forces after next: Big War, Small War, Peace War, and Homeland Defense.
+ The debt and future unfunded obligations that the Bush-Cheney regime have imposed on future generations are not just irresponsible (the author's view) but constitute high crimes meriting impeachment (my view).
I would love to see the editor of this book convene a grand strategy summit in early 2008, in order to place before We the People, and the varied contenders for the Presidency, a balanced budget 10 years into the future, as a foundation for a national conversation.
A few other books on strategy:
The Search for Security: A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century
The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators by 2025
Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy
Under Clinton as well as Bush, the USA made love to 42 of 44 dictators, and prostituted itself to the Saudis and the Israelis.
Under Bush-Cheney, failed states went from 75 in 2005 to 177 in 2007. It is my personal view that Bush should be locked in a closet, Cheney impeached and hanged if convicted (see my itemization of his documented crimes at Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency, and McCain made our caretaker president with a Democratic vice president. In grand strategy terms, Bush the idiot and Cheney the war criminal have not only burned the White House to the ground, they have burned our seed corn, mortgaged our future, alienated the entire planet, and disgraced the Republic.
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