The question was why wars continue long after rational calculation suggests they should end, and Iklé used a wide range of examples to explain why. Every War Must End by Fred Charles Ikle. New York, Columbia. University Press, -viii, x6o ppi, $ One of the most encouraging features of the present. Ikle examined the painful and often unsatisfactory process by which Since Every War Must End, it behooves the Administration and its.

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Every war must end, but few end well. It will not induce a determined adversary to withdraw or to cease his aggression…. The particulars in each case are different. One relates to proliferation prevention, the second focuses on the use of force on humanitarian grounds, and the third deals with the consequences of proliferation. Caution is a tactic, not a strategy. Caution can either help avoid dangerous, precipitous, and costly moves, or it can make a bad situation worse.

The most successful strategies to date in dealing with the consequences of proliferation have been deterrence and containment, not efforts to achieve regime change. Proliferation prevention by means of bombing runs can provide short-term gains, followed by long-term costs.

Combat air patrols to protect civilians from regimes that engage in mass murder can help turn the tide, but not affect the character of governance once the regime falls. None of the decisions relating to Iran, Syria, and North Korea are slam dunks. What these cases have in common is the need to avoid the fallacy of the last move, and to think instead about how US military action, once undertaken, would likely play out over time.

Sincethe United States has generally failed to end wars victoriously and decisively — with the exception of the first Gulf war against Saddam Hussein and small-scale military operations like Grenada.

Exit strategies have sometimes been embarrassing affairs in search of decent intervals. The worst of the lot was Vietnam. The image of a small helicopter air-lifting a few fortunate exit-seekers from a long line atop wxr building in Saigon is etched on my brain. It remains a haunting coda for a war waged to demonstrate resolve and inflict punishment. Bush administration in the first Mist war, and then forgotten by the George W.


Bush administration in Afghanistan and in a second go-round with Saddam Hussein. President Barack Obama wisely re-framed this contest as the disruption and defeat of the core al-Qaeda leadership — achievable war aims. The outcome in Afghanistan is yet to be determined, but may well look depressingly familiar.

After expressing confident expectations about fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, hawkish US analysts and politicians owe their fellow citizens something more than new military action plans. Consider the first law: If only I could emphasize the end.


In traditional warfare, the parameters and forces are more finite. The enemy is generally distinguishable as are emd fronts, objectives, etc except for a few heterodox elements. Modern examples like Iraq and Afghanistan, wherein a power vacuum was created allowing many unique low-level conflicts to happen simultaneous, creating a space wherein distinguishing cause and effect of specific and potential engagements is a daunting challenge.

Even some good attempts e.

Mistakes in planning or execution may cause unintended consequences far worse than otherwise. But evfry sociopolitical impacts of the strikes, transcending the military theater, may and in my opinion do serve to only worsen our strategic outlook.

Without much defense, I offer that the best way to win is to not play at all. Use muust power and honest diplomacy in nation building as to only provide low impact perturbations to systems in equilibrium to achieve specific strategic, foreign policy goals. Issues like blowback and unpredictable chaotic behavior are minimized.

Not playing has its attractions, as you note. Others may continue to play say N. Japanso we just let them fight it out or not, nuclear weapons and all? And then there is musf occasional evil tyrant who seems too heinous to ignore. I have a friend who was on one of the aircraft carriers to which those helicopters flew. My thanks to Josh for posting this pic.

Every War Must End – Fred Charles Iklé – Google Books

For more background, check out http: The types of war have NOT changed — its the evolution of warfighting that creates illusions among the more powerful military powers that result in their failures to deliver. Semantics notwithstanding the principles of war — i. The illusions of infallibility tend to detract from these Principles. And, particularly after the fall of France, there was certainly a ikel probability ikke the war would turn into an enduring stalemate across the English Channel — possibly with ongoing aerial bombardment of cities.


So, yes, I am very glad that nations sometimes enter the bloodiest of wars without a hint of an exit strategy. In the 15th century, Florence fought for years against Pisa, thirty miles away. Back eveyr, it was considered normal: Back in the day, wars were absolutely about killing people. Today, the importance of killing is in decline. Gandhi understood that India could win by making a point of not killing kust British: They could endure a kill ration Eventually, we got tired and went home.

Today, even more than in Vietnam, information predominates. Waf, it is well understood that one of the best ways to prevent a war is to educate little girls. Such a concept would never have occured to Napoleon, or the Duke of Wellington. After the battle of Kurtsk ,it was all the way to Berlin the western allies contribution was somewhat larger than an addendum.

My Grandfather was a Rat of Tobruk. The Seige summed up that whole bloody period — outclassed, outgunned, and no real chance of victory, but fighting on anyway. The Red Army was on Stalin side ,nobody else Certainly the July negotiation held in Leningrad between the Anglo-French and the Soviets clearly indicated a lack of seriousness the scenario was the Soviets doing the Fighting ikke the Western Allies doing the sitting.

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BushGerge H. As human culture changes, so do all our institutions, including war. Pin It on Pinterest.