Making War, Thinking History: Munich, Vietnam, and Presidential Uses of Force from Korea to Kosovo

Naval Institute Press
Free sample

In examining the influence of historical analogies on decisions to use--or not use--force, military strategist Jeffrey Record assesses every major application of U.S. force from the Korean War to the NATO war on Serbia. Specifically, he looks at the influence of two analogies: the democracies? appeasement of Hitler at Munich and America's defeat in the Vietnam War. His book judges the utility of these two analogies on presidential decision-making and finds considerable misuse of them in situations where force was optional. He points to the Johnson administration's application of the Munich analogy to the circumstances of Southeast Asia in 1965 as the most egregious example of their misuse, but also cites the faulty reasoning by historical analogy that prevailed among critics of Reagan's policy in Central America and in Clinton's use of force in Haiti and the former Yugoslavia.

The author's findings show generational experience to be a key influence on presidential decision-making: Munich persuaded mid-twentieth-century presidents that force should be used early and decisively while Vietnam cautioned later presidents against using force at all. Both analogies were at work for the Gulf War, with Munich urging a decision for war and Vietnam warning against a graduated and highly restricted use of force. Record also reminds us of the times when presidents have used analogies to mobilize public support for action they have already decided to take. Addressing both the process of presidential decision-making and the wisdom of decisions made, this well-reasoned book offers timely lessons to a broad audience that includes political scientists, military historians, defense analysts, and policy makers, as well as those simply curious about history's influence.
Read more

About the author

JEFFREY RECORD is a well-known defense policy critic and teaches strategy at the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama. He has served as a pacification advisor in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War, Rockefeller Younger Scholar on the Brookings Institution's Defense Analysis Staff, and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, the Hudson Institute, and the BDM International Corporation. Dr. Record also has extensive Capitol Hill experience, serving as Legislative Assistant for National Security Affairs to Senators Sam Nunn and Lloyd Bentsen, and later as a Professional Staff Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He is the author of eight books and over a dozen monographs, including Beating Goliath: Why Insurgencies Win; Dark Victory: America's Second War Against Iraq; Making War, Thinking History: Munich, Vietnam, and Presidential Uses of Force from Korea to Kosovo; Hollow Victory, A Contrary View of the Gulf War; The Wrong War, Why We Lost in Vietnam; and Bounding the Global War on Terrorism. Dr. Record received his doctorate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Read more

Reviews

Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Naval Institute Press
Read more
Published on
Feb 15, 2014
Read more
Pages
216
Read more
ISBN
9781612515816
Read more
Language
English
Read more
Genres
History / United States / 20th Century
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Jeffrey Record
"Wanting War" is the first comprehensive analysis of the often contradictory reasons why President George W. Bush went to war in Iraq and of the war s impact on future U.S. armed intervention abroad. Though the White House sold the war as a necessity to eliminate an alleged Iraqi threat, other agendas were at play. Drawing on new assessments of George W. Bush s presidency, recent memoirs by key administration decision makers, and Jeffrey Record s own expertise on U.S. military interventions since World War II, "Wanting War" contends that Bush s invasion of Iraq was more about the arrogance of post Cold War American power than it was about Saddam Hussein. Ultimately, Iraq was selected not because it posed a convincing security threat but because Baghdad was militarily helpless. Operation Iraqi Freedom was a demonstration of American power, especially the will to use it. Ironically, as Record points out, a war launched to advertise American combativeness is likely to lead U.S. foreign policymakers and military leaders to be averse to using force in all but the most favorable circumstances. But this new respect for the limits of America s conventional military power, especially as an instrument of ffecting political change in foreign cultures, and for the inherent risks and uncertainties of war, may prove to be one of the Iraq War s few positive legacies. Record argues that the American experience in Iraq ought to be a cautionary tale for those who advocate for further U.S. military action."
Jeffrey Record
Jeffrey Record
Jeffrey Record has specialized in investigating the causes of war. In "The Specter of Munich: Reconsidering the Lessons of Appeasing Hitler" (Potomac Books, Inc., 2006), he contended that Hitler could not have been deterred from going to war by any action the Allies could plausibly have taken. In "Beating Goliath: Why Insurgencies Win" (Potomac Books, Inc., 2007), Record reviewed eleven insurgencies and evaluated the reasons for their success or failure, including the insurgents stronger will to prevail. "Wanting War: Why the Bush Administration Invaded Iraq" (Potomac Books, Inc., 2009) includes one of Record s most cogent explanations of why an often uncritical belief in one s own victory is frequently (but not always) a critical component of the decision to make war. Record incorporates the lessons of these earlier books in his latest, "A War It Was Always Going to Lose: Why Japan Attacked America in 1941." The attack on Pearl Harbor is one of the most perplexing cases in living memory of a weaker power seeming to believe that it could vanquish a clearly superior force. On closer inspection, however, Record finds that Japan did not believe it could win; yet, the Japanese imperial command decided to attack the United States anyway. Conventional explanations that Japan s leaders were criminally stupid, wildly deluded, or just plumb crazy don t fully answer all our questions, Record finds. Instead, he argues, the Japanese were driven by an insatiable appetite for national glory and economic security via the conquest of East Asia. The scope of their ambitions and their fear of economic destruction overwhelmed their knowledge that the likelihood of winning was slim and propelled them into a war they were always going to lose."
Jeffrey Record
Wanting War is the first comprehensive analysis of the often contradictory reasons why President George W. Bush went to war in Iraq and of the war's impact on future U.S. armed intervention abroad. Though the White House sold the war as a necessity to eliminate an alleged Iraqi threat, other agendas were at play.

Drawing on new assessments of George W. Bush's presidency, recent memoirs by key administration decision makers, and Jeffrey Record's own expertise on U.S. military interventions since World War II, Wanting War contends that Bush's invasion of Iraq was more about the arrogance of post–Cold War American power than it was about Saddam Hussein. Ultimately, Iraq was selected not because it posed a convincing security threat but because Baghdad was militarily helpless. Operation Iraqi Freedom was a demonstration of American power, especially the will to use it.

Ironically, as Record points out, a war launched to advertise American combativeness is likely to lead U.S. foreign policymakers and military leaders to be averse to using force in all but the most favorable circumstances. But this new respect for the limits of America's conventional military power, especially as an instrument of ffecting political change in foreign cultures, and for the inherent risks and uncertainties of war, may prove to be one of the Iraq War's few positive legacies. Record argues that the American experience in Iraq ought to be a cautionary tale for those who advocate for further U.S. military action.
Dr. Jeffrey Record
Japan’s decision to attack the United States in 1941 is widely regarded as irrational to the point of suicidal. How could Japan hope to survive a war with, much less defeat, an enemy possessing an invulnerable homeland and an industrial base 10 times that of Japan? The Pacific War was one that Japan was always going to lose, so how does one explain Tokyo’s decision? Did the Japanese recognize the odds against them? Did they have a concept of victory, or at least of avoiding defeat? Or did the Japanese prefer a lost war to an unacceptable peace?

Dr. Jeffrey Record takes a fresh look at Japan’s decision for war, and concludes that it was dictated by Japanese pride and the threatened economic destruction of Japan by the United States. He believes that Japanese aggression in East Asia was the root cause of the Pacific War, but argues that the road to war in 1941 was built on American as well as Japanese miscalculations and that both sides suffered from cultural ignorance and racial arrogance. Record finds that the Americans underestimated the role of fear and honor in Japanese calculations and overestimated the effectiveness of economic sanctions as a deterrent to war, whereas the Japanese underestimated the cohesion and resolve of an aroused American society and overestimated their own martial prowess as a means of defeating U.S. material superiority. He believes that the failure of deterrence was mutual, and that the descent of the United States and Japan into war contains lessons of great and continuing relevance to American foreign policy and defense decision-makers.
Professor Jeffrey Record
Jeffrey Record
Wanting War is the first comprehensive analysis of the often contradictory reasons why President George W. Bush went to war in Iraq and of the war's impact on future U.S. armed intervention abroad. Though the White House sold the war as a necessity to eliminate an alleged Iraqi threat, other agendas were at play.

Drawing on new assessments of George W. Bush's presidency, recent memoirs by key administration decision makers, and Jeffrey Record's own expertise on U.S. military interventions since World War II, Wanting War contends that Bush's invasion of Iraq was more about the arrogance of post–Cold War American power than it was about Saddam Hussein. Ultimately, Iraq was selected not because it posed a convincing security threat but because Baghdad was militarily helpless. Operation Iraqi Freedom was a demonstration of American power, especially the will to use it.

Ironically, as Record points out, a war launched to advertise American combativeness is likely to lead U.S. foreign policymakers and military leaders to be averse to using force in all but the most favorable circumstances. But this new respect for the limits of America's conventional military power, especially as an instrument of ffecting political change in foreign cultures, and for the inherent risks and uncertainties of war, may prove to be one of the Iraq War's few positive legacies. Record argues that the American experience in Iraq ought to be a cautionary tale for those who advocate for further U.S. military action.
Jeffrey Record
"Wanting War" is the first comprehensive analysis of the often contradictory reasons why President George W. Bush went to war in Iraq and of the war s impact on future U.S. armed intervention abroad. Though the White House sold the war as a necessity to eliminate an alleged Iraqi threat, other agendas were at play. Drawing on new assessments of George W. Bush s presidency, recent memoirs by key administration decision makers, and Jeffrey Record s own expertise on U.S. military interventions since World War II, "Wanting War" contends that Bush s invasion of Iraq was more about the arrogance of post Cold War American power than it was about Saddam Hussein. Ultimately, Iraq was selected not because it posed a convincing security threat but because Baghdad was militarily helpless. Operation Iraqi Freedom was a demonstration of American power, especially the will to use it. Ironically, as Record points out, a war launched to advertise American combativeness is likely to lead U.S. foreign policymakers and military leaders to be averse to using force in all but the most favorable circumstances. But this new respect for the limits of America s conventional military power, especially as an instrument of ffecting political change in foreign cultures, and for the inherent risks and uncertainties of war, may prove to be one of the Iraq War s few positive legacies. Record argues that the American experience in Iraq ought to be a cautionary tale for those who advocate for further U.S. military action."
©2017 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.