Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Must reads

I had the great fortune to read Thomas P. M. Burnett's book, The Pentagon's New Map for my National Security class in my MSIR program. I really enjoyed it. I really like Burnett's snarky writing style which is unlike the dry, dull writing style of many academics. The book offered a new perspective on what our military should do to transform itself. According to Burnett, conventional warfare, with its infantry formations and columns of tanks, is becoming as redundant as trench warfare. Burnett says the military must engage in peacekeeping and nation building operations in addition to breaking things and killing people. Burnett is not the only one who has noticed this trend. The Washington Post reports that this report from the Human Security Centre (It's a Canadian think tank which explains the spelling of center) reports on the decline of conventional state to state warfare and the increase of civil wars around the world since the end of the Cold War. When you consider the military deployments the United States has participated in since the collapse of the Soviet Union, only two have involved state on state warfare. Both were wars against Iraq. Our interventions in the Balkans were interventions in civil wars. Somalia was a peacekeeping operation designed to prevent a famine. Burnett is right about the future of warfare.
Burnett is still valued as a consultant by the Pentagon. Burnett now has a new book coming out which I am looking forward to reading as soon as I get the time to do so. I only have six classes and a comprehensive exam left in my master's program. It should be out in paperback by then. Or maybe I will have another class where I have to read Blueprint in Action.

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