The New American Way of War: Military Culture and the by Ben Buley

By Ben Buley

This ebook explores the cultural historical past and future customers of the so-called ‘new American approach of war’. In fresh a long time, American army tradition has develop into more and more ruled via a imaginative and prescient of ‘immaculate destruction’, which reached its apogee with the autumn of Baghdad in 2003. Operation Iraqi Freedom used to be hailed because the positive validation of this new American manner of warfare. For its so much enthusiastic supporters, it additionally encapsulated a broader political imaginative and prescient. through attaining entire technical mastery of the battlefield, the U.S. could render conflict surgical, humane, and predictable, and develop into a accurately calibrated software of nationwide coverage.

American method has usually been characterized as missing in challenge for the non-military results of activities. even if, the chaotic aftermath of the Iraq conflict printed the undying fact that army good fortune and political victory aren't an identical. in truth, the yankee means of struggle has often emerged because the contradictory expression of competing visions of battle suffering for dominance because the early chilly conflict interval. by way of tracing the origins and evolution of those competing perspectives at the political application of strength, this ebook will set the presently well known picture of a brand new American manner of struggle in its broader historic, cultural and political context, and supply an evaluation of its destiny prospects.

This ebook may be of great curiosity to scholars of strategic stories, army concept, US international coverage and overseas politics. it is going to be hugely proper for army practitioners drawn to the elemental options which proceed to force American strategic pondering within the modern battlegrounds of the conflict on Terror.

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Extra info for The New American Way of War: Military Culture and the Political Utility of Force (LSE International Studies Series)

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In a dual defensive response to public unease over militarism’s threat to republican liberty, the military developed a concept of military professionalism whose hallmark was apoliticism, while paradoxically remaining acutely sensitive towards public opinion. 56 Isolated from American society on the western frontier and free from Congressional and Presidential interference, Army reformers like William Sherman and Emory Upton looked abroad for inspiration. An admirer of the Prussian military establishment, Upton was the most influential exponent of the separation of the armed forces from ‘mere politicians’.

Indd 21 8/25/2007 6:38:54 PM 22 No substitute for victory commanders facing the novel and different challenges posed by the onset of the Cold War. Their emphasis on war’s inherent tendency to defy attempts to limit or control its course was perhaps best stated by Rear-Admiral J. C. Wylie in 1967. Contradicting the Clausewitzian dictum, he questioned the utility of any active use of military force as a servant of policy except as a final resort. In contrast to the preoccupation of his contemporary strategists like Thomas Schelling with the precise calibration of force, he argued instead that military violence inevitably tended to cripple the policies in whose name it was invoked as it developed a momentum of its own: War for a non-aggressor nation is actually a nearly complete collapse of policy.

On the contrary, it demanded an anti-Clausewitzian view of the use of force as a response to the failure of politics or diplomacy rather than an instrument of politics or diplomacy. In suggesting that warfare takes over where politics leaves off, it rejected the sovereignty of the political dimension of war. The logic of policy ceases to apply once war begins. This hostility to political direction or constraints was based on an over-riding emphasis on the distinctive grammar of war: its innate tendency to gather its own momentum and resist attempts to subject it to political limits or rational constraints.

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