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

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9780815702627: The Illusion of Control: Force and Foreign Policy in the 21st Century
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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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About the Author:

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).

Review:

"An insightful and timely analysis that challenges those leaders and writers who regard the Revolution in Military Affairs as enabling the United States to employ 'muscular diplomacy' to support a dominant role in world affairs." —Alexander L. George, professor emeritus,, Stanford University



"Given America's current military dominance, it is tempting to think that force can solve an ever-wider array of foreign policy problems....Seyom Brown describes how our military capabilities are evolving and explains why the use of force remains central to the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. He also shows why the United States must use its unmatched power with wisdom and restraint. This evenhanded analysis deserves a careful reading by citizens, scholars, and policymakers, and especially by those who command America's far-flung military forces." —Stephen M. Walt, Harvard University



"Most analysts believe that the willingness of U.S. policymakers to resort to force to support a wide array of U.S. interests is a result of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. In this provocative and well documented study, Seyom Brown demonstrates convincingly that official dispositions to employ military power broadly as an instrument of diplomacy predated the fall of 2001. He persuasively outlines the reasons for this development and warns of the unforeseen consequences of thinking that international terrorist activities, wars, and civil conflicts that threaten U.S. interests can be contained by employing the new military technologies. He concludes his excellent analysis by recommending a set of guidelines that are designed to ensure a thorough assessment of the possible outcomes of escalating a conflict at any stage." —Lawrence Korb, Director of National Security Studies, Council on Foreign Relations



"The author provides the reader with much more than a simple warning against the abuse of power, he critically assesses the strategic, political, and moral implications for the United States if military power is seen as a panacea for diplomatic challenges." — Parameters: US Army War College Quarterly, 9/1/2003



"[Brown's] description of the increasing disposition to use force follows a familiar path, but his main point, as the title indicates, is to warn agains overselling the precision and decisiveness of the military--and consequently, the ability of the United States to act alone. Those who are convinced that the Unted States is bound to lead may have kidded themselves into believing that it is not also bound to bleed. During this difficult postwar period in Iraq, Brown's message is both salutary and timely." — Foreign Affairs



"a informed and informative survey and analysis of the usage and impact of force in world politics as a crisis reaction, and the dangers of mistakenly estimating the ever-changing nature of war itself in today's volatile and confusing world." — Library Bookwatch, 8/1/2003



"This book has the advantage of being both current and well done. At a time when students of American foreign policy are struggling to make sense of recent events, Brown helps frame some of the questions that we might want to ask and provides an approach to help us answer them. There are few books that have come out recently that do this without advocating a particular point of view. For its ability to do that, The Illusion of Control makes an important contribution to the current discourse." —Joyce P. Kaufman, Whittier College, Perspectives on Political Science, 9/1/2003



"A most timely and useful study.... The advanced and the general reader alike are given much food for thought about the tendencies of recent administrations to intervene abroad with potentially disastrous results and excessive costs for both Us and foreign interests.... Highly recommended." —F.S. Pearson, Wayne State University, Choice, 12/1/2004

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Book Description BROOKINGS INSTITUTION, United States, 2003. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Seller Inventory # AAN9780815702627

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Book Description BROOKINGS INSTITUTION, United States, 2003. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Seller Inventory # AAN9780815702627

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