Shaping Strategy: The Civil-Military Politics of Strategic Assessment

Princeton University Press
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Good strategic assessment does not guarantee success in international relations, but bad strategic assessment dramatically increases the risk of disastrous failure. The most glaring example of this reality is playing out in Iraq today. But what explains why states and their leaders are sometimes so good at strategic assessment--and why they are sometimes so bad at it? Part of the explanation has to do with a state's civil-military relations. In Shaping Strategy, Risa Brooks develops a novel theory of how states' civil-military relations affect strategic assessment during international conflicts. And her conclusions have broad practical importance: to anticipate when states are prone to strategic failure abroad, we must look at how civil-military relations affect the analysis of those strategies at home.

Drawing insights from both international relations and comparative politics, Shaping Strategy shows that good strategic assessment depends on civil-military relations that encourage an easy exchange of information and a rigorous analysis of a state's own relative capabilities and strategic environment. Among the diverse case studies the book illuminates, Brooks explains why strategic assessment in Egypt was so poor under Gamal Abdel Nasser prior to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and why it improved under Anwar Sadat. The book also offers a new perspective on the devastating failure of U.S. planning for the second Iraq war. Brooks argues that this failure, far from being unique, is an example of an assessment pathology to which states commonly succumb.

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About the author

Risa Brooks is assistant professor of political science at Northwestern University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jun 5, 2018
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Pages
315
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ISBN
9780691188287
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / General
History / Military / Strategy
Political Science / General
Political Science / International Relations / General
Political Science / Peace
Technology & Engineering / Military Science
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This compendium on Europe's military situation is written by leading analysts of military studies representing every major nation of Europe. Also included are three overview chapters that set the tone for this volume. These chapters--Martin Shaw on the evolution of a "common risk" society, Christopher Dandeker on the military in democratic societies, and Wilfried von Bredow on the re-nationalization of military strategy--provide an introduction to the work. Although the Cold War is now two decades removed from Europe, the challenges of transition to new defense systems and institutional structures still confront those who plan the future for military establishments. The country studies as well as the final analysis of the trends and probable future developments in Europe should be required reading throughout the national security structure for politicians and decision makers seeking to understand the dilemmas facing European militaries and the societies they defend. The chapters cover a wide range of nations. Jean Callaghan, Christo Domoztov, and Valery Ratchcev examine the Bulgarian armed forces after the 1997 elections and Marie Vlachova and Stefan Sarvas review civil-military relations in the Czech Republic. Janos Szabo studies the defense sector in Hungary. Adriana Stanescu sees Romania as a case of delayed modernization. Vladimir Rukavishnikov studies the military in post-communist Russia. Paul Klein and Jurgen Kuhlmann review the German armed forces in the context of a peace dividend. Bernard Boene and Didier Danet consider France and the post draft situation. Marina Nuciari and Giuseppe Caforio consider the Italian military in a democratic context. Jan van der Meulen and his colleagues look upon the Netherlands military as a case study in post-modernization. The final contribution summarizes lessons learned in assessing the contemporary civil-military complex.

This brand new edition of The US Military Profession into the Twenty-First Century re-examines the challenges faced by the military profession in the aftermath of the international terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001.

While many of the issues facing the military profession examined in the first edition remain, the 'new war' and international terrorism have compounded the challenges. The US military must respond to the changed domestic and strategic landscapes without diminishing its primary function—a function that now many see that goes beyond success on the battlefield. Not only has this complicated the problem of reconciling the military professional ethos and raison d’etre with civilian control in a democracy, it challenges traditional military professionalism. This book also studies the notion of a US military stretched thin and relying more heavily on the US Federal Reserves and National Guard. These developments make the US military profession increasingly linked to public attitudes and political perspectives.

In sum, the challenge faced by the US military profession can be termed a dual dilemma. It must respond effectively to the twenty-first century strategic landscape while undergoing the revolution in military affairs and transformation. At the same time, the military profession must insure that it remains compatible with civilian cultures and the US political-social system without eroding its primary function.

This is an invaluable book for all students with an interest in the US Military, and of strategic studies and military history in general.

Arab leaderships have been remarkably stable since the 1970s, particularly given the frequency of military coups in preceding years. Nonetheless, the military remains a key force in most Arab states and political leaders must maintain its loyalty if they are to retain office. Regimes have used a range of methods to ensure the military’s backing:
In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak has maintained political control largely through providing the military with private and corporate benefits; selective appointments and institutional checks, are also useful instruments.

Tribal relations underpin King Hussein’s political control in Jordan. Transjordanians have not only been the main beneficiaries of political power, but have also occupied the key positions in the armed forces.
In Syria, President Hafez al-Assad has built his regime on the Alawi minority, while the vast security apparatus limits the spread of sectarian, class or ideological grievances in the military.
President Saddam Hussein has established multiple security agencies in Iraq designed to prevent conspiracies against his regime. Regular rotations and purges ensure that few officers are in place long enough to contemplate, let alone organise, a coup, while the severe punishments meted out to suspected plotters are a further disincentive to rebellion.

In this paper, Risa Brooks argues that the need for Arab regimes to maintain political control can undermine the combat potential of their armed forces. Centralising command, creating overlapping commands, politicising selection criteria and authorising involvement in economic activities all potentially compromise military effectiveness.
The fact that regimes have successfully managed political–military relations in the past does not mean that they will automatically do so in the future. Changing social or economic conditions could upset the equilibrium in political–military relations. Regime stability cannot therefore be taken for granted
Transition to new leadership is a looming issue for the key regimes in Egypt, Syria and Jordan; political–military relations will play a crucial role in how it is resolved. New leaders must gain and maintain social support if they are to consolidate power. The fact that so many Middle Eastern regimes face uncertain transitions raises the sobering prospect of profound instability and change in this strategically vital region.
Maintaining political control is a continuous and evolving process. A breakdown in social support for the leadership, failure to detect a conspiracy within the military and economic or political change that threatens military prerogatives could all disrupt political–military relations. Current stability should not give rise to complacency.

In The Dictator's Army, Caitlin Talmadge presents a compelling new argument to help us understand why authoritarian militaries sometimes fight very well—and sometimes very poorly. Talmadge's framework for understanding battlefield effectiveness focuses on four key sets of military organizational practices: promotion patterns, training regimens, command arrangements, and information management. Different regimes face different domestic and international threat environments, leading their militaries to adopt different policies in these key areas of organizational behavior.Authoritarian regimes facing significant coup threats are likely to adopt practices that squander the state's military power, while regimes lacking such threats and possessing ambitious foreign policy goals are likely to adopt the effective practices often associated with democracies. Talmadge shows the importance of threat conditions and military organizational practices for battlefield performance in two paired comparisons of states at war: North and South Vietnam (1963–1975) and Iran and Iraq (1980–1988). Drawing on extensive documentary sources, her analysis demonstrates that threats and practices can vary not only between authoritarian regimes but also within them, either over time or across different military units. The result is a persuasive explanation of otherwise puzzling behavior by authoritarian militaries. The Dictator's Army offers a vital practical tool for those seeking to assess the likely course, costs, and outcomes of future conflicts involving nondemocratic adversaries, allies, or coalition partners.
A harrowing exploration of the collapse of American diplomacy and the abdication of global leadership, by the winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service.

US foreign policy is undergoing a dire transformation, forever changing America’s place in the world. Institutions of diplomacy and development are bleeding out after deep budget cuts; the diplomats who make America’s deals and protect its citizens around the world are walking out in droves. Offices across the State Department sit empty, while abroad the military-industrial complex has assumed the work once undertaken by peacemakers. We’re becoming a nation that shoots first and asks questions later.

In an astonishing journey from the corridors of power in Washington, DC, to some of the most remote and dangerous places on earth—Afghanistan, Somalia, and North Korea among them—acclaimed investigative journalist Ronan Farrow illuminates one of the most consequential and poorly understood changes in American history. His firsthand experience as a former State Department official affords a personal look at some of the last standard bearers of traditional statecraft, including Richard Holbrooke, who made peace in Bosnia and died while trying to do so in Afghanistan.

Drawing on newly unearthed documents, and richly informed by rare interviews with warlords, whistle-blowers, and policymakers—including every living former secretary of state from Henry Kissinger to Hillary Clinton to Rex Tillerson—War on Peace makes a powerful case for an endangered profession. Diplomacy, Farrow argues, has declined after decades of political cowardice, shortsightedness, and outright malice—but it may just offer America a way out of a world at war.

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
Search for Common Ground Award
Middle East Institute Award
Finalist, Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought
Stavros Niarchos Prize for Survivorship
Nobel Peace Prize nominee

"A necessary lesson against hatred and revenge" -Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate

"In this book, Doctor Abuelaish has expressed a remarkable commitment to forgiveness and reconciliation that describes the foundation for a permanent peace in the Holy Land." -President Jimmy Carter, Nobel Peace Prize laureate

By turns inspiring and heart-breaking, hopeful and horrifying, I Shall Not Hate is Izzeldin Abuelaish's account of an extraordinary life.

A Harvard-trained Palestinian doctor who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and "who has devoted his life to medicine and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians" (New York Times), Abuelaish has been crossing the lines in the sand that divide Israelis and Palestinians for most of his life - as a physician who treats patients on both sides of the line, as a humanitarian who sees the need for improved health and education for women as the way forward in the Middle East. And, most recently, as the father whose daughters were killed by Israeli soldiers on January 16, 2009, during Israel's incursion into the Gaza Strip. His response to this tragedy made news and won him humanitarian awards around the world.

Instead of seeking revenge or sinking into hatred, Abuelaish called for the people in the region to start talking to each other. His deepest hope is that his daughters will be "the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis."
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