The Illusion of Control: Force and Foreign Policy in the 21st Century

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Brookings Institution Press, 2004 M05 26 - 196 pages

This provocative book assesses the implications of a disturbing trend in U.S. security policy: an increased willingness to use military force as an instrument of diplomacy. In The Illusion of Control, Seyom Brown shows how U.S. officials are relying on force to counter a wide range of threats to America's global interests—eclipsing previous strategies that restricted the use of military force to situations in which the country's vital interests were at stake. Brown points out that a disposition to employ military power broadly as an instrument of diplomacy was on the rise well before September 11, 2001— and it shows every sign of persisting into the future. While resorting to force may seem to be a reliable way to establish control over a disorderly world, Brown cautions that expecting to gain and maintain control through military prowess could turn out to be a dangerous illusion. In fact, employing new military technologies in an effort to control international terrorist activities, wars, and civil conflicts is likely to pull the United States into excessive commitments and imprudent action. Brown analyzes the growing willingness of U.S. government officials to use force, then critically assesses the strategic, political, and moral implications for the United States. Adapting traditional "just war" concepts to contemporary strategic, political, and technological realities, he offers a set of guidelines to help ensure that use-of-force decisions are approached with the judicious care and gravity they warrant.

 

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Contents

Introduction Force and Foreign Policy Revisited
1
The Disposition to Use Force Crisis Reaction or General Trend?
16
The Changing Structure of World Politics
49
The Changing Shape of War
78
The Just War Tradition Revisited
105
The Control of Illusions Using Military Power Judiciously
142
Excerpts from A National Security Strategy for a New Century
179
Excerpts from On Military Transformation
181
Excerpts from The National Security Strategy of the United States
185
Index
189
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About the author (2004)

Seyom Brown is Lawrence A. Wien Professor of International Cooperation in the Department of Politics at Brandeis Univesity. He has held senior research and policy analysis positions at the RAND Corporation, the Brookings Institution, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Recent books include Human Rights in World Politics (Longman, 2000), New Forces, Old Forces, and the Future of World Politics (HarperCollins, 1995), The Faces of Power: Constancy and Change in United States Foreign Policy from Truman to Clinton (Columbia, 1994), and The Causes and Prevention of War (St. Martins, 1994).

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