Steaming Into a New World

By Norman Friedman

The Cold War fight for survival justified a whole range of government actions that would not have been accepted otherwise. The continued use of a peacetime draft is a case in point. The Cold War was used to justify very heavy military investment, but by the end of the Cold War there was a strong feeling in the United States that this overspending had sapped the civilian economy. Whether or not that was true, it is obvious that economic health will be a post-Cold War priority for many decades to come—until we again face another major threat.

In order to deny Western Europe to the Soviets, the Cold War United States tried hard to unite its European allies in a way favorable to us; the theory was that a stronger Western Europe would resist the Soviets more effectively. With the Marshall Plan in the late 1940s, the U.S. government tried to promote a "United States of Europe." One must wonder whether that effort was quite as far-sighted as it then appeared. At present the two leading powers in the European Union are France and Germany, and the French often seem anything but friendly to the United States. During the Cold War, economic differences with the Europeans largely were submerged because both we and they faced a mortal threat. The Europeans considered us an essential bulwark against the Soviets—now that the threat is gone, divisive economic issues have reappeared.

Pax Brittanica

The strategic drift a superpower faces after winning a lengthy war for survival is not new. In 1815 the British emerged from what must have seemed an endless war against Revolutionary France. Just as we resisted the Soviet attempt to unite the world against us, the British fought Napoleon to keep him from uniting Europe against them. The habits of thought appropriate to many decades of war were not easily changed, yet the 19th century brought different challenges for Britain. In meeting them, the British found it difficult (but essential) to distinguish between the habits they had developed and the underlying principles behind those habits.

Our situation is much like what the British faced after the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Like the British, we are the only world power with a truly global reach. Also like them, we have to find a new way to identify our national interests. With the single great threat to national survival—Napoleon—gone, the British had to look deeper into their national strategy. Their former enemy France was prostrate (though not as prostrate as the Soviet Union is today), and Britain ruled the seas uncontested. The end of the war shattered what had been until then the basis for British national strategy. Generations of Royal Navy officers had been brought up to understand the details of blockading the French coast and fighting French warships—after 1815 that knowledge was obsolete. It took the British almost a century to come to terms with their changed strategic environment, where France increasingly became an ally rather than an enemy.

Even without an immediate threat to national survival, Britain still had to maintain forces against the possibility that such a threat might arise in the future. However, the immediate goal of the British government was to promote the health of the British economy, and that often meant maintaining peace in what we would call the Third World (it also meant keeping British traders abroad safe from the whims of local despots). A second goal was to promote what the British saw as liberal democracy abroad. This new ideological goal, which is familiar to us, was justified in part on the theory that a more democratic world would be a safer one.

We think of the period between 1815 and World War I as a long peace. However, the British were almost continuously at war during these years, mainly in their turbulent colonies in Africa and Asia. In most cases they were enforcing their access to markets and resources; it is unlikely that we would do quite the same thing. Yet we also face a similarly turbulent Third World. Our equivalent to the British economic imperative is the view that the U.S. economy can flourish only in a peaceful world, and we badly want to hold down the level of violence between Third World countries. To do that we often will have to be engaged in those countries, and we may find ourselves fighting many small battles or short wars.

Well aware that a big war might break out in the future, the British had to limit the cost of their standing forces because those costs could sap seriously their economy. The British thought—immediately after they defeated Napoleon—that they had a solution to this problem: their large battle fleet could be laid up against the threat of a future war, and in an emergency it could be manned by the experienced sailors of the merchant fleet. Unfortunately, technology changed so rapidly that their big sailing navy became obsolete about mid-century. After that, even though they did not face any immediate crisis, the British felt trapped into constantly rebuilding their fleet to prepare for the possibility of eventual war.

Back to the Future

Does all this sound familiar? We are downsizing because, in the absence of a mortal threat, our economy has become of paramount interest. Like the British, we feel a strong moral imperative toward promoting democracy and free economies. Because technology is moving so fast, we are even more aware that what we stockpile today may well be insufficient tomorrow. We have an additional problem: the British drew a clear distinction between their battle fleet and the lesser warships they would use to enforce their rule in the colonies. We make no such distinction, partly because the Third World is now much better armed than its 19th-century counterparts.

Strategy is about ends and means. During the Cold War the end—national survival—was quite clear; strategic debates were all about the means to that end. Was it best for the United States to rely entirely on nuclear deterrence (to avoid high and unsustainable defense spending), or to strengthen the ability to resist pro-Soviet movements in the Third World (to stave off eventual economic strangulation)? Was it better to concentrate on land-based bombers or on a mix of land- and sea-based air power? Was it best to adopt a defensive or an offensive posture? Our current situation is confusing because we now have to define ends as well as means. Like the British in the last century, we are faced by numerous challenges, many of which demand armed responses. None of them directly threatens our existence the way that the Soviets did during the Cold War, yet as a whole they are likely to be well worth fighting.

To Americans used to a Cold War climate, it seems natural that there now should be another mortal challenge. Can anything less justify the immense cost of our standing forces? Yet candidate challengers, such as Iran, Iraq, or China, cannot match the Soviet example—at least for now. Similarly, Islamic Fundamentalism is hardly the unified Communist colossus of the past. All of these challengers present us with real threats, but trying to bring them anywhere near Cold War scale in the end is likely to destroy public support for U.S. foreign and defense policy. It also is likely to distort our strategy.

The consequences of trying to make a Third World problem into a direct threat to our existence can be quite serious; the public can tell the difference. To mobilize the country for the Gulf War, President George Bush compared Saddam Hussein to Adolf Hitler. When the allied coalition won the Gulf War, the President enjoyed unparalleled popularity. A year later, the victory seemed incomplete: Saddam was still in power. We had not fought a total war, because in reality the threat posed by the Iraqis was limited. President Bush's defeat in the 1992 election may well have been a consequence of the over-hyping of Saddam. Similarly, in 1998 President William Clinton ordered missile strikes on terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, as a way of dealing with Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden apparently had ordered a series of terrorist attacks against Americans, including the destruction of two embassies in Africa. In effect the attacks hyped bin Laden—who subsequently gained many followers in a world in which the United States already is less than popular.

There is an immense difference between preparing for a big war against a single mortal enemy, and preparing to fight a more or less continuous round of small wars against a wide variety of minor enemies. In the former case, forces can be tailored for a very limited series of contingencies and places. It is appropriate to sacrifice heavily to gain bases in areas that would be very valuable should the big war break out. Forces can be forward deployed on a more or less permanent basis.

We should remember that the public understands that it is worth paying a very high price to deal with a mortal threat. A string of little wars is a different proposition. Seen together, little wars can challenge the peace on which we depend. It is very much in our interest to put down local enemies, for otherwise the many foreign governments that dislike us may well band together and cause us real harm. However, that is a distant possibility—and the public does not, and should not, see it in the same light as the old Soviet threat. As long as we can easily put down local challengers, the threat is unlikely to materialize.

The accent here is on "easily." The Gulf War was a case in point: We and our allies suffered very few casualties. Many see the war as an unfortunate precedent—the American public now imagines war as a video game, without human cost. The public will support military action as long as that action is reasonably inexpensive, but if the price rises too high, there will be an inevitable debate. In the end we may find ourselves forced to withdraw from the Third World. After all, this also was true for the British in the 19th century. Their forces received public support through a series of small wars, but a really expensive war—against the Boers in South Africa—raised just the sort of questions that a very costly U.S. operation in the Third World might raise. If U.S. security depends on our peacekeeping or coercive capability in the Third World, then we have to be able to operate in ways acceptable to our own population. That is not a symptom of national softening or of a self-indulgent population.

The key attribute of Third World crises is that they are randomly distributed geographically. Agility is the most important attribute of forces designed to deal with them, because it is impossible to say in advance where bases will be needed. That was not a serious problem for 19th-century Britain, because eventually it had a worldwide network of bases (albeit an expensive one) in the form of its empire. We do not want an empire, and we cannot afford to base troops and aircraft everywhere at the same time. Although troops themselves are now quite mobile (thanks to airlift), their mountains of supplies are not, and we cannot afford to place floating reserves of material throughout the world.

Difficult Military Options

We face some difficult choices, much like what the British were confronted with more than 180 years ago. Very mobile naval forces are the best solution to randomly distributed Third World crises. Unfortunately, the firepower they can carry with them is limited. If a crisis blows up into a major war, something more is needed. Alternatively, we may have to accept that in most cases we will not achieve decisive results. The best we are likely to do is to damage a country or government so much that it backs away from attacking us and goes after another, softer target. Occupation would be an extremely unpopular option, and running many such countries is prohibitively expensive—as the British discovered when they ran their extensive empire. During the Cold War, we thought that nuclear weapons solved this sort of problem, because they offered immense firepower in a very lightweight and cost-effective package.

From a military point of view, the loss of nuclear weapons as the cornerstone of defense strategy surely is the greatest single consequence of the end of the Cold War. It might well be said that the Bomb kept the Cold War cold. Nuclear weapons helped justify a dramatic reduction in the number of airplanes and missiles—since a single nuclear bomb was equal to thousands of conventional weapons. As it happened, there never was any need to demonstrate that equivalence. However, the notion that remarkably small numbers of airplanes and missiles appeared sufficient to fight a global war has survived the end of the Cold War. We currently are trying to develop an alternative, in which the small number of precision weapons we have achieve decisive results by hitting a few key targets. That is, we are trying to do with small amounts of explosives and extremely precise guidance what we used to imagine doing with vast amounts of explosive power. It is important to realize to what extent we still are pursuing a Cold War-style strategy that assumes that strategic attacks guarantee very short wars.

Going back to sustained wars means going back to pre-atomic thinking, and we will need forward bases near the battle zone. Sustained operations mean that we have to be able to keep firing for a long time. When we struck Iraq in December, we had to withdraw one battle group when it ran out of Tomahawks, and insert a second to take its place in order to maintain our attack. At present only carriers can replenish their weapons at sea. Vertical missile launchers have many virtues, but the ability to be replenished under way is not one of them. If the fleet is to do what we expect—to dominate a battle ashore—we must confront this issue. A Tomahawk carrying a 1,000-pound warhead can be very effective, but it is not an atomic weapon capable of ending a war. The only weapon that can be replenished easily at sea is a 5-inch gun, and its ammunition is needed in vast quantities. Precision has reduced the numbers we need, but in some important cases we have to be able to lay down volume fire. This kind of question becomes more important as we face more small wars.

We also have to rethink the way we buy munitions and other materiel. In the past, we estimated our needs on the basis of a single big short war; the joke used to be that we and our allies would buy 30-days' worth, and then wonder about what to do on day 31. No one said anything about casually expending several hundred Tomahawks—as we have done against Iraq and Serbia. In addition, simply keeping a few thousand troops continuously in places like Bosnia consumes spare parts. There is a reason our forces seem to be wearing out; it is not, as some may imagine, an anomaly.

Some will argue that we cannot afford to maintain the massive forces required to fight a protracted war. The traditional answer has been to maintain the potential for mobilization, both in terms of personnel (reservists and a draft) and materiel. But even mobilization can become politically difficult if the public is against the war, as it was during the Vietnam War. We also have to take issues of battle damage much more seriously. During the Cold War, we assumed that if the war turned hot, the result would be both short and decisive—because of the effect of nuclear weapons. Anything that could not be repaired in a few weeks was unlikely to return to the war. Now no single conflict is likely to be particularly decisive. If a war lasts, or if one short fight is followed by many others (as seems likely), it will be terribly important to be able to return ships to service. With few resources available overseas, ships will have to be able to fight their way out even after they have been damaged. We have to recognize that our Cold War standards need review—there is no technological reason we cannot make our new ships much more survivable, absent a nuclear threat.

The Future of NATO

Then there is the alliance constructed to fight the Cold War. For the British, the alliance they had built against their main enemy included eventually every other good-sized power in Europe. It turned out that the countries the British fought after 1815 had all been their allies during the great struggle—namely, Russia in the Crimean War, and later Germany and Austria in World War I. It also turned out that their main future allies were their past enemies, France and the United States. The lesson for us is that alliances are not permanent. Countries join together, sacrificing some of their precious sovereignty, because their governments fear an external threat even more. Once the threat is gone, earlier antagonisms soon surface; national interests soon predominate. Yet those used to a long-lived alliance find such behavior perfidious.

For example, during the Cold War there were significant economic tensions between the Western Europeans and us. During that time period, both sides had a strong interest in mending them because NATO was a bulwark against the mortal threat posed by the Soviets. Now that the mortal threat is gone, governments and the public are focused on national economic health. U.S.-European antagonism now is becoming heated over economic issues. We are surprised, but we should not be. The real surprise is that neither side realizes just how important NATO still is to European stability. However, no one should forget that NATO's original driving force is gone. After 1815 it took about two decades for the anti-Napoleon alliance to dissolve; how much longer will NATO last? At the very least, it is past time for us to recognize that the interests of the different members of the alliance often diverge sharply (e.g., Greek and Italian resistance to the bombings in Serbia).

The Future Role of Ideology

The United States is an ideological power, just as was our Cold War adversary. That means that many Americans would say that this country has a mission to encourage the spread of its ideology—democracy—throughout the world. To the extent that we see free markets as a necessary precondition for democracy, we also want to spread our kind of economics. Many Americans also would say that undemocratic governments are illegitimate. These ideas go back to the foundation of the United States, but they only rarely are expressed as a national ideology (probably because they are so widely accepted and understood within the United States). Nonetheless, they have real consequences for us. Without a major enemy, our ideology often takes center stage.

Despotic governments therefore see the United States as a natural enemy, to be feared and resisted. The United States is seen widely as the prime mover of all types of modernization—technological, social, and economic. Many people and many governments throughout the world find modernization frightening. By our very existence, we are their enemy. This means that there is little or nothing the U.S. government can do to avoid all challenges. Moreover, those who dislike us likely will try to attack us at home using terrorist techniques. We cannot, then, avoid engagement in the Third World.

We feel noblest when we pursue what we see as a historic mission—promoting a more decent world. That mission inevitably collides with the reality that any post-Cold War U.S. administration must promote prosperity at home. As a country, we find the collision embarrassing. The Gulf War is a good case in point.

The Gulf matters because oil is still the world's lifeblood. Had Saddam been allowed to keep Kuwait, he would have dominated Saudi Arabia and with it much of the world's oil supply. He surely would have used that leverage to gain further goals, such as U.S. acquiescence in the destruction of Israel. All of that sounds like national strategy, but it is closely linked to U.S. economics. Saddam would not have cut off oil entirely, but he would have reduced the supply. The resulting sharp rise in the price of oil would have sapped the Western economies, as the oil embargo did in the 1970s. It was to avert such disasters that the United States backed the Saudis. The embarrassment was that the regimes we were protecting in the Gulf were, to put it mildly, undemocratic. We appeared to be abandoning our fundamental principles in the service of the big oil companies. The tension between ideology and economics surely will bedevil us more—rather than less—as the Cold War recedes from view.

Because political and economic realities can distort the best of ideologically inspired intentions, we now find it difficult to define our national interests in particular parts of the world. Clearly, as the world's largest economy, we have major interests everywhere—defining them in detail now is more difficult. Exactly why are we in Bosnia and Kosovo? Why were we in Somalia? The compass seems broken.

The world now is a much more confused place than it was during the Cold War. Superpower rivalry had a kind of polarizing effect on every country; the smaller countries generally found that they had to back one side or the other. In return they got protection and often enough economic aid to keep their otherwise inefficient governments in power. However, they also often had to give up their own national goals, ones that their superpower patrons might find dangerous. Now, without great power patrons or threats, smaller governments feel much freer to fight or—more ominously—crush their internal enemies. There are enough tensions in the Third World to cause wars virtually everywhere. We seem unable to predict them, or to know in advance which conflicts will involve us. We do know that as a superpower we often will find ourselves involved abroad.

And so to Kosovo—and to Serbia

Of the latter, someone said a few years ago: "Welcome to Serbia, the country which brought you the 20th century—and which, if you are not careful, can bring you the 21st." What he meant was that Serbian nationalism had touched off World War I, when the Serbian government ordered the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand. (Many would say that the 20th century actually began in 1914, with the war.) Serbian nationalism in Bosnia and then in Kosovo can bring about a series of ethnic disasters leading to some new conflagration in a few years. Our interest in Kosovo, then, is simply the hope that by putting out the relatively small fire now we can save ourselves from exactly the sort of disaster into which the world headed in the early years of this century.

Those opposing intervention in Kosovo argue that, however unpleasant the actions the Serbian government may take, this is an internal matter in a sovereign country. However, in the early 1980s, before Yugoslavia disintegrated, Kosovo was an autonomous region. It was just short of independent republic status within Yugoslavia. Except for Montenegro, all of the other parts of the former federal republic broke free of Yugoslavia. International recognition of the new republics was crucial. The present crisis began when Kosovo's autonomous status was abrogated unilaterally by the central government in Belgrade. The Kosovars resisted the loss of the freedoms they had enjoyed; they demanded return to their autonomous status. Now, given the extent of the violence, nothing short of independence likely will satisfy them. Given this history, it is arguable that Serbian action in Kosovo is more like an attack on a previously separate country than an attempt to put down an internal rebellion, although it has some elements of internal policing.

To the extent that Kosovo can be advertised as an internal Serbian affair, it frightens governments that have their own serious ethnic problems. It may be seen as a precedent for intervention, and that is one reason why the Russians and the Chinese have objected. Having done so badly in Chechnya, the Russians face many further challenges by ethnic minorities that might imagine that they want their independence. The Chinese face the continuing problem of Tibet, among others (for example, the people of Sinkiang—which used to be called Chinese Turkestan—are ethnically related to the Turks). In the Russian case, of course, there is the very important added factor of ethnic affinity with the Serbs. The Turks fear intervention on behalf of the Kurds. Many other governments have similar problems. For that matter, if internal policy can be used as a justification for armed intervention, neither we nor our allies can be sure that excuses cannot be found in our own conduct, however specious we may consider those excuses to be. It is therefore important to emphasize again that the Kosovo problem began when the area's autonomy—a step from full independence—was taken away unilaterally by the government in Belgrade. It was not merely a routine police affair in a rebellious province whose independence had been unrecognized.

To some extent, moreover, we bear a moral responsibility for what is happening in Kosovo. When Yugoslavia broke up originally, the Serbs and the Croatians both fought over parts of one of the newly independent countries, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Despite recognizing the new country, the West was slow to react to clear cases of aggression, including Serbian attempts to "ethnically cleanse" areas contested between Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Muslims. One effect of the slow and inadequate Western reaction was to demonstrate to Muslims that, to the West, their brothers' blood was cheap compared to that of Christians (i.e., Serbs). The governments of the major Muslim countries met and threatened to take their own steps if the West did not stop the genocide. To many Europeans, this sort of outcome was unacceptable. Moreover, it can be argued that, having achieved much of what he wanted in Bosnia, Slobodan Milosevic expected much the same in Kosovo. The West would huff and puff, but it would do nothing significant. Milosevic may well consider bombing to be in the huffing and puffing category.

The fear in Kosovo is that, as refugees pour into Albania, this time the Muslim countries may decide to act. Access to Kosovo is far better than that to Bosnia. Kosovo borders on a Muslim country, Albania, that is being inundated in refugees from the fighting. The Albanian government hardly can hope to support them, and it even can see forced expulsion of the Kosovars as a kind of attack on itself. Moreover, Albania is not far from Turkey; although nominally a secular country, Turkey has an overwhelmingly Muslim population, and its government is undoubtedly under considerable pressure to do something to stop the obscene holocaust ongoing in Kosovo. To some considerable extent, the Turks would like to be seen as ideal partners for the newly independent ex-Soviet Muslim republics of Central Asia. Too, there is a powerful Muslim fundamentalist party in Turkey that can argue that there is little point in adhering to NATO if the alliance shies away from protecting Muslims.

The Serbs are related ethnically to both the Greeks and the Russians. A Turkish intervention might easily touch off the long-awaited Greek-Turkish war, and possibly something even worse in Southern Europe—a war no one wants. Moreover, the nationalist political card currently is being played in Russia. There, anger over attacks on fellow Slavs coincides with fury that the West no longer considers Russia a force with which it must reckon. Again, the longer the horror in Kosovo goes on, the better the chance that it leads to something wider and much worse.

Europe is filled with countries in which ethnic minorities feel oppressed. In many cases their brothers rule countries just across the border. For example, there is a large Hungarian minority in Rumania, and there is a large Turkish minority in Bulgaria. Ill treatment is common. Success by the Serbians in Kosovo may inspire much worse, which easily can touch off local warfare. Many of the countries involved either are NATO or "partnership for peace" members. Several surrendered nuclear weapons in exchange for U.S. guarantees of their borders. We would dearly like not to have to make good on all of those agreements. Stopping the disaster in Kosovo now can help put off considerable pain later.

Kosovo probably is typical of the crises we will face in the future. At first glance, it is a minor local problem. Unfortunately, our behavior in this crisis largely will decide whether a whole series of other potential crises erupt. If they do, the resulting disaster will be anything but minor and local. We can choose between two very different historical analogies. One is the "domino theory," under which successive U.S. administrations backed South Vietnam for fear that if it fell, other more important countries would follow. The other is the failure to contain Hitler in the mid-1930s. We now know, for example, that the German General Staff planned to overthrow Hitler if the Western allies put up any resistance to his march into the Rhineland in 1936 and to his occupation of much of Czechoslovakia in 1938.

Which is it to be? The domino theory largely has been discredited, because in fact South Vietnam did fall but the dominoes did not. In this case, it seems likely that American support bought enough time for the neighboring governments to strengthen themselves, and also that it bled North Vietnam badly enough that it retained little stomach for further conquests. Also, intervention bought enough time for the Chinese (who were very interested in expansion in 1964-65) to shift toward a strong desire for American support against the Soviets. The moral is that often it is well worthwhile to act in hopes of buying time, because the act of resistance often transforms the situation. As for the Hitler analogy, it seems less likely that Milosevic is on the point of being overthrown by his army in the event that NATO resists; but it is obvious that his appetite will increase if he is allowed to digest Kosovo and to expel the Kosovars. Undoubtedly there are other parts of the Balkans that he considers part of Greater Serbia.

Then there is the military dimension. Kosovo may be the critical failed test of ideas like "Joint Vision 2010" and network-centric warfare. The air strikes are succeeding brilliantly. Targets are being hit exactly as intended, and (at least as of this writing) there have been no NATO casualties. Yet the strikes are not even slowing the progress of the holocaust. The atrocities against the Kosovars are being carried out by men on the ground hardly dependent on the apparatus of a modern war machine. They even may feel that it is more urgent to destroy the Kosovars before NATO can get to the next stage, at which point they may be forced back. For example, late in March it was reported that the Serbs were deliberatley destroying all records of land ownership in Kosovo, specifically to prevent Kosovars from reclaiming their homes if they returned.

In the context of Joint Vision 2010 , there seems to be no Serbian "center of gravity" to destroy by air or missile attack. Even Slobodan Milosevic may not qualify, because he is unlikely to be the only enthusiast for Serbian nationalism or for the destruction of the Kosovars. If he is killed, there are plenty of others to take his place. The war can be stopped, but probably only by troops on the ground—and more or less permanently there. That appears to be the lesson of other ethnic wars, like the Greek-Turkish fight for Cyprus. After several decades, enough sanity can return for the troops to withdraw. Until then, modern technology buys remarkably little to help in peace-keeping. Moreover, as in past wars, bombing seems to improve morale in the bombed country. That we are now carefully trying to avoid hitting non-military targets merely makes the civilians in Serbia feel safer, so they can vent their anti-NATO feelings more easily. As in the past, air power is an extremely valuable enabler—for ground forces. It is not an independent war-winner, unless it wins by obliterating the target country—which it no longer can do, now that it is extemely unlikely we will use nuclear weapons.


Our Cold War practice of stationing very large forces abroad no longer is tenable, for two reasons. One is that our Cold War allies no longer are likely to provide us with facilities on a more or less unconditional basis, so that forces in their countries may well be unable to act as needed. We already have experienced the problem when trying to use NATO facilities to support our policies in the Middle East (which many NATO countries rejected). The second reason is that we cannot predict where major forces will be needed.

U.S. defense policy still is predicated on fighting a major war. At one time it was "two and a half" wars—Europe, Korea, and a lesser war somewhere else. Then, as our resources shrank, we cut that to a war and a half. Now we think of two major regional wars, say Gulf War II and Korea. The unstated assumption is that forces built for such wars will suffice in all other contingencies. Can we afford to make this assumption in the post-Cold War world, where we likely are to face numerous, more or less simultaneous, but unrelated crises?

It seems wiser to think in terms of a large number of simultaneous applications of force, beginning with presence to ward off a crisis in the first place. We need the potential to move further forces into place if the crisis grows out of hand, but distributed forces are the key to holding down the problems. We now are in a new world. We probably are far too tempted to continue the policies that brought victory in the Cold War, without rethinking them. There lies surprise, miscalculation, and ultimately disaster.

Dr. Friedman, a frequent contributor to Proceedings and a columnist with the magazine, is the author of the upcoming book The Fifty-Year War , a history of the Cold War to be published by the Naval Institute Press.


Norman Friedman is a prominent naval analyst and the author of more than thirty books covering a range of naval subjects, from warship histories to contemporary defense issues. He is a longtime columnist for Proceedings magazine and lives in New York City.

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