The legend of the Cuban Missile Crisis— that Kennedy drove events through a virtual ultimatum to the Soviets—was another blow to diplomacy and a precursor to the concept of overwhelming force. But in the post-Cold War era, diplomacy, backed by a credible capability to use moderate force, is necessary for any measure of lasting peace.
The “New Strategists”—a community of scholars and practitioners of U.S. foreign relations—once were optimistic about diplomacy’s revivification.1 But the combination of force with diplomacy, widely enjoined in the late 1950s and early 1960s, has yet to be consummated. After the Vietnam War, coercive diplomacy fell into disrepute, as did what proved to be an exaggerated concern with credibility and resolve.
But both credibility and resolve retain real meaning. With the end of the Cold War, the issue of credible force, though still commanding verbal respect from U.S. policymakers, is suffused with a fear of casualties and inhibited by strictures developed within the Pentagon. As a result, force now suffers a devaluation commensurate with the long depreciation of diplomacy. Nonetheless, wedding force with diplomacy is desirable—even necessary—for any foreign policy that would pretend to assist in the construction of world order.
The Depreciation of Diplomacy and the Rise of Coercive Statecraft
To U.S. policymakers, the great lesson of the interwar period was that negotiation with totalitarian regimes reaps only further demands.2 To William Bundy, a senior architect of U.S. policy in the 1960s, the 1938 Munich crisis is the “basic datum” of U.S. foreign policy:
The rejection of armed action contributed to the most ghastly human phenomena. To Kennedy, Johnson, Rusk,. . . McNamara,. . . [war] could prevent vast evil and open the way to progress. War was viewed ... not as Catch-22 or MASH, or even Patton. ... but as the only way to deal with world order.3
The United States might have overcome Munich’s legacy had President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wartime diplomacy not also fallen into disrepute.4 After all, if it were the business of diplomats to make it unnecessary to fight, the onset of World War II bespoke diplomacy’s refutation.5 If it were the business of diplomats to lay the foundation for a firm peace, then, at the end of World War II, diplomacy appeared to have failed once again. Indeed, during the administration of Harry S Truman, Yalta had become an oath.6 The Republican party’s 1952 platform denounced the 1945 Yalta Conference accords as “secret understandings” that “aided communist enslavements.”7 The negotiators of Yalta had, it was charged, put the capstone on “twenty years of treason.”8
For more than a decade after World War II, diplomats commonly were accused of deserting U.S. interests for those of its adversaries. In the 1952 campaign, vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon campaigned against Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s “Cowardly College of Containment.”9 To Senator William Jenner (R-IN), for example, General George Marshall, President Truman’s second Secretary of State, was a “front man for traitors . . . a stooge, or a co-conspirator for this administration’s crazy assortment of collectivists, cut-throats and Communist fellow traveling appeasers.”10
The classic concrete manifestation of a diplomat’s craft is a negotiated agreement. Traditionally, international accords form the tissue of positive international law that orders international society.11 But against Soviet policy, as characterized by Truman advisor Clark Clifford in 1946, any hope for serious diplomatic undertakings would have seemed as unreal as it would have appeared irresponsible:
The language of military power is the only language the disciples of power understand. . . . Compromise and concessions are considered, by the Soviets, to be evidence of weakness and they’re encouraged by our “retreats” to make new and greater demands.12
Clifford’s advice was a significant departure. For most of history, force has been diplomacy’s sturdy servant—and its ironic nemesis. As Henry Kissinger wrote,
In any negotiation, it is understood that force is the ultimate recourse. It is the art of diplomacy to keep the threat potential, to keep its extent indeterminate. . . . For once power has been made actual, negotiations in the proper sense cease. A threat to use force which proves unavailing . . . destroys the bargaining position altogether!;] for it is a confession not of finite power, but of impotence.13
To the New Strategists, however, classic diplomacy had lost all utility. Nonetheless, a kind of bargaining was still possible. If force were made discrete and instrumental,14 a “Diplomacy of Violence”15 might serve as the functional equivalent of the dated formalities that had hitherto characterized the conference chamber. In this new coercive statecraft, “adversaries would bargain with each other through the mechanism of graduated increments of military force in order to achieve ‘negotiated’ accords.”16 As Thomas Schelling, an academic and one-time policymaker, explained: “The power to hurt is bargaining power,” its “only purpose, unless sport or revenue, must be to influence somebody’s behavior, to coerce his decisions or choice; to be coercive, violence has to be anticipated. And it has to be avoidable by accommodation. ... To exploit it is diplomacy—vicious diplomacy, but diplomacy.”17
The Kennedy Administration: Clausewitz Redux?
Members of the Kennedy administration were eager students of Karl von Clausewitz, especially of his famed dictums regarding the integration of war and policy.18 The lethal elements of international relations were the administration’s great preoccupation. “Domestic policy,” President John F. Kennedy cautioned, can “only defeat us[;] foreign policy could kill us.”19 In their first days, his foreign policy advisors faced options that gave little choice between apocalypse and capitulation. Even before Kennedy’s inauguration, those advisors had given some thought to mounting a conventional defense against Soviet threats in Europe; but as soon as the President assumed office, senior military planners presented him with only two options; “humiliation and all-out nuclear action.”
The Cuban Missile Crisis seemed to confirm that force even at the precipice of Armageddon could be managed. An exultant Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, for example, held that, henceforth, the only serious strategy could be crisis management. Favorable settlements, it was concluded from the Missile Crisis, were possible when determined by overwhelming, albeit latent, force.20 Success depended upon seasoned practitioners and supple, discrete military instrumentalities allied to goals that did not provoke an insensate response. U.S. military power could be determinative with a minimum of bloodletting if it were preponderant yet restrained—and did not paint the other side into a corner.
In reality, however, the military in the Cuban Missile Crisis was never as responsive as hoped. Near misses abounded. U.S. overflights deep into Soviet territory easily could have been interpreted as precursors of atomic attack. U.S. unarmed missiles were readied and tested next to live missiles in a fashion that could have been interpreted as portending a U.S. atomic attack on Russia—and invited a Russian attempt to preempt. If the United States had invaded, the landing expedition would have been met by a Soviet force twice as large as had been thought—some 40,000 Russian troops, equipped, perhaps, with short-range atomic artillery. The results could have been both a holocaust on the beach and a vast nuclear escalation.21
President Kennedy was unwilling to reveal the extent of the compromise negotiated with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev that resolved the Cuban Missile Crisis. As a result, a legend emerged that Kennedy offered Khrushchev only a face-saving formula that would, in fact, “strengthen our stand.”22 In 1963, Secretary McNamara told the House Appropriations Committee that “there was absolutely no deal . . . regarding the removal of the Jupiter weapons.”23 But missiles in Turkey were traded for assurances that the United States would not invade.
All but a select group of Kennedy intimates thought Kennedy determined events by a virtual ultimatum. For the chroniclers of the 1960s, the Cuban Missile Crisis ended in a virtual Soviet capitulation.24 In truth, however, the United States withdrew its missiles from Turkey soon after the Soviets withdrew their weapons from Cuba. But knowledge of the trade—indeed, the conversations with Khrushchev and Soviet intermediaries—was restricted to all but four Kennedy advisors, who conspired to keep the President’s willingness to negotiate a secret. Instead, it was argued—even by those who knew differently—that Kennedy’s and his advisors’ gritty determination and skill had allowed U.S. interests to prevail.
One result of this misleading legend was that those who had most favored negotiations were routed by the new national security managers, most of whom were either wholly or partly wrong in their assessment of the facts of the Missile Crisis. From then on, few policy alternatives were presented unless they were predicated on strength. A moderate in these terms was boxed in. As Under Secretary of State George Ball explained his “devil’s advocacy” about Vietnam (a troop ceiling of about 70,000 and a series of bombing halts): “If I had said let’s pull out overnight or do something of this kind, I obviously wouldn’t have been persuasive at all. They’d have said, That man’s mad.’”25 Within the U.S. defense community, success in limited war became even more of an imperative after the Cuban Missile Crisis, for a successful use of conventional force would prove conclusively that conventional force could be orchestrated effectively and successfully without escalation out of proportion to the interest defended. A well-managed limited war could prove sufficient resolve in the use of arms, without the threat of nuclear holocaust. McNamara earned the respect of defense intellectuals of all stripes in his attempt to vivify the practice of limited war so that nuclear war might be made less likely. As McNamara explained:
The greatest contribution Vietnam is making—right or wrong is beside the point—is that it is developing an ability in the United States to fight a limited war, to go to war without the necessity of arousing public ire.26
Insurgent warfare, as Vice President Hubert Humphrey told a National War College audience, was seen as “the major challenge to our security” in this century. National Security Advisor W. W. Rostow viewed Vietnam as Woodrow Wilson viewed World War I: as the opportunity to end war itself. As Rostow explained:
If we have the common will to hold together and get on with the job—the struggle in Vietnam might be the last great confrontation of the postwar era.27
Clausewitz On His Head
The hopes of force planners and social scientists came undone in the skies, jungles, villages, and rice paddies of Southeast Asia. Gradual response, signaling, nation-building, counterinsurgency—even containment and the great defense consensus of the Cold War—floundered. Revisionists usually place most of the onus for the U.S. failure at arms in Vietnam on the U.S. political leadership—thus allowing the military to escape a substantial part of the burden of failure of the 1960s and early 1970s.
But the military understood that its exodus from Vietnam in the early 1970s was perhaps just in time to preempt its own collapse—from widespread combat avoidance, failures to report, a plague of racially based disorders, a retention crisis, general indiscipline, and the widespread use of drugs.28 As part of its effort to reconstitute itself, the U.S. armed forces returned to the great theorist and practitioner of war, Clausewitz. But Clausewitz could not conceive of letting purely military considerations override political considerations. For him:
Subordinating the political point of view to the military [is] absurd, for it is policy that has created war. Policy is the guiding intelligence and war only the instrument, not visa versa. No other possibility exists, then, than to subordinate the military point of view to the political.29
Since the mid-1980s, Clausewitz has been both embraced in discourse and abandoned in fact by U.S. policymakers.30 Ever since Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger announced his “doctrine,” U.S. armed forces have labored under an expanding list of restrictions, foremost of which has been the conviction that force should meet a three-part test. First, force should not be committed "unless the particular engagement or occasion seemed vital to our national interests.”31 Second, the recourse to arms has to receive the “full sanction of the American people.” Third, as General Colin Powell put it, force must be brought to bear in an “overwhelming” fashion.32
After the Gulf War, President George Bush, in a speech to West Point cadets, offered a tentative step toward breaching the wall of strictures Weinberger and Powell had erected by taking issue with the military’s new fixation: “vital” interests. As he put it, “The relative importance of an interest is not a guide. Military force . . . might be the best way to protect an interest that qualifies as important, but less than vital.” Bush also rejected the notion that force should be overwhelming, offering instead that force be “effective, where its application can be limited in scope and time and where the potential benefits justify the potential costs and sacrifice.”33
Similarly, in the Clinton administration, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin tried to escape from the Weinberger and Powell binds, stating: “Real leadership requires a willingness to use military force, and force can be a useful backdrop to diplomacy, a complement to it, or, if need be, a temporary alternative.”
Yet, for all the modest effort of some civilian leadership to unburden policy from the strictures insisted on by a branch of public service that currently has more cachet than the presidency, policymakers have been constrained to assure military planners that “force is a last resort . . . used in an overwhelming fashion” to achieve “clear and measurable objectives.”34
Clausewitz’s great fear was that war could lose its integration with the broader world of statecraft. At that point, he despaired, war would be “autonomous,” “pointless and devoid of sense.”35 To Clausewitz, there was no such thing as a strictly military undertaking. “[P]eople,” he wrote, “still like to separate the purely military elements of a . . . plan from its political aspects, and treat the latter as if they were somehow extraneous. But there can be no . . . purely military evaluation of a great strategic issue, nor ... a purely military scheme to solve it.”36
Current policy theory reverses the Clausewitzian insistence on the supremacy of policy over any autonomous logic attendant to arms. As senior civilians working in the Pentagon told one defense correspondent, the Joint Chiefs “exercise an incredible veto. . . . There is no interest on the civilian side of this building in challenging the Joint Staff.”37 Indeed, the new wisdom stands the Clausewitzian relationship between policy and strategy on its head. “[I]f there’s one story that is going to be written out of Desert Storm and Just Cause and everything else we’ve done,” General Powell noted, “it’s how political objectives must be carefully matched to military objectives and the military means and what is achievable.”38
Notions such as validating the power of the United Nations, ensuring that there is a price to pay for aggression, or punishing war crimes apparently would be abandoned if the Powell/Weinberger strictures prevail. It is not surprising that in the salad days of the Powell/Weinberger inhibitions, those profound goals of post-World War II U.S. foreign policy—demonstrating a price to genocide, buttressing NATO, or insisting on a modicum of world order as a precondition of U.S. security—since they have no immediate military referent, have been at a discount. With the Powell/Weinberger strictures serving as predicates of national security policy, even central deterrence is at risk of being consigned to the back shelves of our store of interests, inventoried under the rubric: “too hard.”39
It is, of course, no secret where these strictures come from. As General Powell recalled, “As a major and a captain, I saw what doing otherwise produced in Vietnam.”40 The U.S. goal of appearing a steadfast ally in Vietnam was achieved at a cost disproportionate to any real U.S. interests. Indeed, the entire matrix of interests to costs was fatally askew in Indochina. Yet, the lesson of Vietnam for the U.S. policy community has not been to ensure that the nexus between effort and expense is in better balance; but to conclude that, absent a central focus, the American people will not abide a fight for abstract principles.
Current U.S. military wisdom holds that matters regarding force are now too technical for the Clausewitzian symbiosis between war and policy making to appertain.41 Even when political objectives are clear, if military objectives seem too fuzzy, military force is now precluded unless and until, as General Powell insisted, “we can measure [how] the military objective has been achieved.”42 Only then is a mission “acceptable” to the U.S. military.
On Overwhelming Force
Apart from the constitutional implications of the near veto the U.S. military now seems to exercise, the empirical assumptions of the new reticence beg examination. In fact, in the 1980s, when the great rethinking of U.S. strategy was percolating in war college classrooms and think tanks, the United States entered several arenas of hostility—sometimes with a surfeit of force, sometimes with a deficit. The lesson of overwhelming force had ample opportunity to be tested. To be sure, when plenteous force was employed in Panama and Grenada, the immediate results appeared to be unvarnished successes. Conversely, in those areas where limited means were attempted—Central America and Lebanon—the results were clouded and indeterminate.
But these observations need qualification. It is easy to term the Lebanon mission ill-conceived, and the murder of some 241 U.S. peacekeepers at the Beirut airport seems to underscore the mission’s apparent failure. Yet the United States did have serious interests in Lebanon in the early 1980s. Peacekeeping forces—albeit, perhaps much larger forces—were relevant to the stakes. The trouble with the U.S. deployment in the Levant was not that the mission was unclear, but that it was not achievable in the short term with the forces at hand. Absent the stomach and force levels to confront Syria and its protégés, the folly of a modest deployment tasked beyond its means was clear enough—after the bombing of the Marine barracks—to provoke a withdrawal.
In Central America, neither the U.S.-backed Contras nor U.S. trainers nor even U.S.-trained forces were sufficient for an early realization of non-Communist, stable, democratic governments. But the United States did achieve eventual success; the Sandanistas agreed in 1990 to an election, which resulted in their defeat. In large part, U.S. goals were achieved because the great Sandanista benefactors—the Soviets and Cubans—were facing ruin and collapse. But more important, U.S. goals were realized because the United States stuck with a small, surrogate force for a very long time. It was not overwhelming arms, but a slow grinding persistence that carried the day.
In other instances in Central America where overwhelming force was used—Panama and Grenada—conditions are arguably worse and more unstable than they were before the intervention. In the case of the Gulf War, the balance of power in the region was left only marginally improved, especially when measured by resources expended. Iraq was weakened, but not sufficiently to stop Saddam’s depredations against his own people. Meanwhile, Iran was emboldened ideologically and fortified politically by Saddam’s defeat.
There were suspicions that President Bush had mounted the Somali intervention in December 1992, not because it was in U.S. interests, but because, of the two remaining claimants on U.S. attention—Yugoslavia and Somalia—Somalia looked easier. U.S. forces did prevent starvation from spreading and initially were successful in stabilizing Mogadishu and most of the stricken countryside. But in March 1994, when the United States departed, the verdict on the Somalia mission was problematic. The effort, like the one in Lebanon, had two stages. And, like Lebanon, the second stage proved disastrous.
The first-stage mission, feeding the hungry, could not be sustained if it had to be balanced against significant U.S. casualties. Yet, like Lebanon, the U.S. peacekeeping mission had mutated into peacemaking. Neither Lebanon nor Somalia could withstand images of American dead and wounded. In the end, Western aid and attention dribbled away. The lesson learned by the executive officer of the 10th Mountain Division, Lieutenant Colonel Raoul Archembault, was that “you can’t solve social problems with military force.”43 One prominent Somali businessman commented: “They gave it a good try. But the Americans set deadlines. In our society we have no deadlines.”44
The recent expedition to Haiti seems to fly in the face of the initial conclusion reached at the end of U.S. involvement in Somalia about the relevance of military Power to social engineering. Given extant military and Political sensitivities to casualties and the absence of an overweening constituency for a favorable outcome, the effort in Haiti was largely hostage to fortune. The Clinton administration’s Haitian undertaking was partially redeemed by early withdrawal and insignificant casualties, but a final verdict awaits the redemption of political events within Haiti itself.
Before the September 1994 action in Haiti, the Clinton administration’s guidelines on peacekeeping insisted that U.S. troops would only be committed in the case of civil war after the outlines of a settlement appear acceptable to all sides.45 U.S. troops would be sent only into areas where U.S. interests were deemed “fully engaged.” Nation-building, as National Security Advisor Anthony Lake noted, had been scratched off the list of U.S. interests because it was too burdensome and problematic for the kinds of force the United States might be willing to commit.46 In addition, U.S. troops would not operate under U.N. command; rather they would be autonomous, responsible only to the President who would have to seek “congressional support for [the] operation.”47
The new PDD 25 became less an enabling document to fund U.S. interests through multilateral endeavors and more a public stockade wherein U.S. interests would be cuffed by every stricture the military had hammered on since the early 1980s.48 The problematic interests in U.S. armed involvement in Haiti, and the firestorm of criticism that accompanied it—including the scuttling of legislative initiatives of real importance in trade and health—only seemed to increase the shackles on force in cases where more serious interests might be in play.
U.S. Foreign Policy under the New Rules
With the new military writ in place, U.S. diplomacy cannot help but be enfeebled. A precise “end state” is not relevant, for example, to otherwise perfectly valid constabulary missions such as drug interdiction or peacekeeping in the Sinai. Some good uses of force go on for a very long time, including most limited wars. The British war in Malaya lingered for 12 years. U.S. efforts to help against a Maoist insurgency in the Philippines have been going on since World War II. In addition, if the mission is seen as relatively short, or if there is a specified time or a condition that perforce leads to withdrawal, an inevitable and perhaps fatal advantage is given to U.S. adversaries. Hostile elements could feign meeting specifications—they could sign an agreement or agree to withdraw—only to resume hostilities after U.S. forces had been withdrawn. Initial mission statements could be met, but after withdrawal had been effected, the military situation could change radically.
One of the unarticulated but apparent conditions of the new military writ is that only a small number of casualties is permissible. This inhibition encourages those who wish us little well, such as Saddam Hussein, who told April Glaspie on 25 July 1990 that the United States cannot tolerate “tens of thousands” of deaths.49 Within a week, Saddam was in Kuwait. He may have been disabused, but other thugs do not seem to have gotten the message. As one senior Serbian official told a Belgrade television audience not long ago: “Clinton has his own problems. ... He can’t afford to have even a few soldiers killed in Bosnia.”50
As long as the United States seems to evince an intolerance of casualties, decision makers are bound to act only in cases that seem to pose overwhelmingly menace—or in cases that seem imminently doable. If an “end state” is indicated, either by Congress, the War Powers Act, or some kind of promise extracted in advance by edgy military planners, and if the end state is tied to “too many” casualties, the incentive to bloody U.S. forces—or not to use U.S. forces—is nearly irresistible.
Deterrence is fundamentally psychological, a calculus of will and interests. An evidence of will is an ability to take a good deal of discomfort. If it is discovered that the United States cannot stomach casualties, future Saddams will be emboldened. Some will get away with it; some will not. But the mere proliferation of temptation and the resultant forays of some aggressors will inevitably animate and encourage others, leaving the possibility that one day, a well-armed aggressor will challenge the United States, leaving Americans the same unhappy choice confronted during the heyday of the Cold War: the use of apocalyptic force or capitulation.
The Shadow of Power
The burden of policy is less to find clear military objectives than it is to find pertinent policy objectives. Force, if managed subtly, casts its own penumbra—what Acheson described as the “shadow of power.”51 It need not require that policymakers be prepared to escalate from small deployments (or small, punishing expeditions) to all-out war. Indeed, if policy is credibly attached to interests, force in modest sum signals intent and reinforces one’s own position while giving pause to others. Power must be credible, but it need not always be followed by huge and overwhelming undertakings.52
Deployments can symbolize, at the same time, both intent and threat. Currently, however, there is a vast depreciation of presence missions. For example, when senior U.S. State Department officials requested a Sixth Fleet “sail-by” in the Adriatic when Dubrovnik was shelled from the sea in the opening days of Serb aggression against Croatia, they were dismissed by Lawrence Eagleburger, Acting Secretary of State, because he could not imagine “what the next steps were.”53 If it had been similarly required throughout the American experience that “clear . . . measurable military objectives” be adduced in advance, the deployment of B-29s to England during the Berlin Airlift in 1948 never would have been possible.
Because the call for overwhelming force and well-known, definable end states have become “doctrine,” and because of the spectacular victory in the Gulf War, more subtle uses of force have been little discussed. Yet suasion is a significant ingredient of diplomatic and military influence. To be sure, presence missions risk becoming stale with overuse or being discounted because the instruments of the mission are unfamiliar and misunderstood. Nor can modest coercive displays be tested and found wanting—as was the case when the USS Harlan County (LST-1196) retreated from a Haitian pier in October 1993 at the mere sight of an unruly mob waving sticks. Nor does the Serbian defiance of NATO flybys in
Bosnia auger well for “expressive diplomacy” backed by military power. In what could be a coda for the policy of two administrations in the Balkans, Anthony Lake told a Harvard audience in October 1994: “Diplomacy without power usually fails.”54
It is unfortunate that, unlike Israel and Russia, the U.S. force doctrine contains nothing with respect to “punitive measures.” Punishing force, the current argument goes, since it would not bring victory, would conjure an unwarranted escalation or a humiliating retreat. This false stipulation is as wrong as it is paralyzing. Like simple- minded Chauncey Gardner in Jerzy Kosinski’s novel, Being There, policymakers’ current preference is simply “to watch.” Yet exploitable military power short of war ought to exist short of massive firepower. To be sure, the agent of exploitable power—whether it be ships, planes, or armed peacekeepers—has to be recognized as capable of calling forth large and probable punishment if it is to be effective. But small increments of force need not signal a commitment of resources beyond the interests in question.55
The relationship between force, order, and justice is worth keeping in mind; a depreciation of force can be destructive to a nation’s reputation and, in the U.S. case, lead to real harm to the world community.56 When Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General John Shalikashvili argued that one could not use air power in the siege of Gorazde because it would favor one side over another, he missed the whole point of what force is good for, when one side—Serbia—was clearly intent on continuing its aggression even while claiming it was doing no such thing. Indeed, according to Western intelligence sources, Serbs took Shalikashvili’s statements as a “green light.”57
From Serbia to Haiti to Korea, a parade of hollow threats has hobbled U.S. statecraft. Indeed, the process of escalating threat, followed by embarrassing equivocations, has further separated force from the service of diplomacy. Without a credible capability to use moderate force, fate rather than statecraft determines the future. Overreliance on multilateral—or unilateral—force to enforce peace can detract from conventional diplomacy; but an absence of the ability to call upon force neuters diplomacy in a world that still knows no central organizing principles.
Among the more effective symbolic uses of force are ground troops in great numbers.58 But sustained demonstrations of air and naval power rarely are discounted by adversaries. An unwillingness to use unambiguous instruments of coercion and to validate threats with the use of force when called for undermines alliances, weakens prior commitments, emboldens rogue states and terrorists, and threatens U.S. leadership and credibility.
In the post-Cold War era, facing adversaries who do not bear easy summation, strategy must find suitable and commensurate levels of coercive force. The reverse—to reject objectives that cannot be achieved with diplomacy alone—is fraught with danger. If force is rendered irrelevant except as a last resort, disorder and anarchy will be given a license unseen since the United States’ rise to world power. “A better kind of peace” will be illusory without a measure of force that is less than apocalyptic.59
The 20th century saw in its first two-thirds a vast depreciation of diplomacy. If it is ever again to be the steadfast servant of order, measured force will need to be a serious, credible, and reliable option.
1 The “New Strategists” is a term coined by James E. King, a pivotal member of the community he ably documented. Among the group, King included Bernard Brodie, Arnold Wolfers, Henry Kissinger, B. H. Liddell Hart, Edward Meade Earle, Robert Osgood, John Blackett, Willian Kaufman, and Leo Szilard. This essay is both in Jim King's debt and in his honor.
2 Leonard Mosely, On Borrowed Time: How World War Two Began (New York: Random House, 1969), p. 383.
3 Transcript of remarks by William P. Bundy, University of Delaware, (16 October 1973), p. 2.
4 Robert J. Beck, “Munich’s Lessons Reconsidered,” International Security, vol. 14, no. 2, Fall, (1989): 161-191. By 1947, Harry Truman had concluded that the Soviets had not kept a “single agreement," and the only U.S. recourse was to “resort to other methods.” Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S Truman, Washington (1947), p. 239.
5 Michael Howard, War and the Liberal Conscience (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1978), p. 132.
6 See Athan G. Thcoharis, The Yalta Myths: An Issue in U.S. Politics, 1945-1955 (Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 1970).
7 Theodore Draper, “NeoConservative History,” New York Review of Books, vol. 32, no. 16, (January, 1986), p. 5; and Stephen Ambrose, Eisenhower (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983), p. 543.
8 Charles Webster, The Art of Diplomatic Practice (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1962), p. 42; and Ernest Satow, A Guide to Diplomatic Practice (London: Longman's, Green & Co., 1922), vol. 1, pp. 1-4.
9 Stephen E. Ambrose, Nixon (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987), p. 297. Even General Eisenhower came to use the term “State Department pink" to characterize the political complexion of his Democratic party opposition. See Roger Morris, Richard Milhous Nixon (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1990), p. 860.
10 Congressional Record, 81st Congress, 2nd Session, 96, pp. 1414-17.
11 Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977), p. 177.
12 “American Relations with the Soviet Union,” a report prepared by Clark M. Clifford and George Elsey, submitted to Truman 24 September 1946, printed in Arthur Krock, Memoirs, Sixty Years on the Firing Line (New York: Funk and Wagnal’s, 1968), appendix A, p. 431.
13 Henry A. Kissinger, “The Congress of Vienna,” World Politics (July 1956), vol. 8, p. 277.
14 Robert E. Osgood, Limited War (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957); see especially p. 282 ff.; and Robert E. Osgood, Limited War Revisited (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1979).
15 Thomas C. Schelling, Arms and Influence (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966), p. 2.
16 Osgood, Limited War Revisited, p. 11.
17 Schelling, Arms and Influence, p. 2.
18 “War is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse, carried on with other means.” Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Michael Howard and Peter Paret, eds. (Princeton: NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 87.
19 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy In the White House (New York: Fawcett Crest Books, 1967), p. 395.
20 Henry Kissinger, Years of Upheaval (Boston: Little Brown, 1982), p. 980. Kissinger was mindful of this lesson during the nuclear alert of October 1973 as well. See Richard Ned Lebow and Janice Gross Stein, We All Lost the Cold War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994), pp. 15, 321 ff.
21 See James A. Nathan, The Cuban Missile Crisis Revisited (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992), p. 36 ff; and John Newhouse, “A Reporter at Large, Socialism or Death", The New Yorker (27 April 1992), p. 70 ff.
22 Theodore C. Sorensen, Kennedy (New York: Bantam, 1966), p. 699.
23 U.S. House Appropriations Committee, Department of Defense Appropriations for 1964, 88th Congress, 1st Session (1963), pt. I, p. 57.
24 Robert Kennedy, Thirteen Days, (New York: New American Library, 1969), P- 108; and Roger Hilsman, To Move a Nation (Garden City: Doubleday, 1967), pp. 215-26.
25 Leslie Gelb and Morton Halperin, “The Ten Commandments of the Foreign Affairs Bureaucracy,” Harpers, vol. 244 (June 1972), p. 36.
26 Cited by Harry G. Summers. Jr., On Strategy: The Vietnam War In Context (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1982), p. 18.
27 W. W. Rostow, “The Great Transition: Task of the First and Second Post War Generation,” speech (23 February 1967), University of Leeds, cited by Eqbal Ahmad, "Revolutionary War and Counter Insurgency,” p. 27.
28 See Richard A. Gabriel and Paul L. Savage, Crisis in Command (New York: Hill and Wang, 1978), pp. 184, table 4. Also see Kenneth Campbell, “The Roots of the Military’s ‘Vietnam Syndrome,”’ pp. 5-21 ff.
29 Clausewitz, On War, chapter 8, book 6, p. 607.
30 See Harry Summers, On Strategy: The Vietnam War In Context; and Earl H. Til- Ford, Setup, pp. 294-95 ff.
31 Speech by the Honorable Caspar Weinberger, “The Uses of Military Power," (28 November 1984), Defense Issues (January 1985), p. 35.
32 See Edwin J. Arnold, Jr., “The Uses of Military Power in Pursuit of the National Interests,” Parameters, Spring 1994. p. 9.
33 George Bush, "The Uses of Military Force, The President’s Difficult Choice,” Defense Issues 8 (1 November 1991): 3.
34 See Gen. Colin Powell, cited by Edwin 3. Arnold, Jr., “The Uses of Military Power in Pursuit of the National Interests,” Parameters, Spring 1994, p. 9.
35 Clausewitz, On War, book 8, [B] chapter 6, p. 605; book 1. chapter 27, pp. 87, 88; book 5, chapter 6[b], p. 402; James E. King’s, unpublished manuscript, Carl von Clausewitz, p. 61.
36 Clausewitz’s letter of 22 December 1827 to his friend Carl Ferdinand Von Roeder, a Prussian general staff officer, emphasis in the original. Zwei Briefe des Generals von Clausewitz: Gednaken sur Abwehr." Militarissenschaftliche Rundschau, March 1937, pp. 5-9. Emphasis in the original. Translated by Peter Paret, Understanding War. Essays on Clausewitz and the History of Military Power (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992), pp. 126-129 and 225.
37 Paul Quinn-Judge, "Doubts of top brass on the use of power carry great weight, Boston Globe, 20 April 1994), p. 12.
38 David Roth, Sacred Honor: A Biography of Colin Powell (Grand Rapids, Ml: Zonervan Publishing, 1993), pp. 195-56, and Richard H. Kohn, “Out of Control: The Crisis in Civil-Military Relations," The National Interest 35 (Spring 1994), pp. 12-14 ff.
39 S. Douglass Cater said that Acheson claimed to have three boxes on his desk: one labeled "in,” another labeled “out," and a third marked “too hard.”
40 Transcript, National Press Club Luncheon Speaker, National Press Club, 28 September 1993. Richard H. Kohn, "Out of Control: The Crisis in Civil-Military Relations,” pp. 12-14 ff.
41 John E. Shephard, Jr., "On War: Is Clausewitz Still Relevant?” Parameters, September 1990, p. 90.
42 Edwin Arnold, Jr., “The Uses of Military Power in Pursuit of National Interests," Parameters, Spring 1994, p. 7, 10 ff.
43 “Last of U.S. troops leave Somalia,” New York Times (26 March 1994), p. 1. See Donatella Lorch, “Somalis See Pact As Last Chance,” New York Times (26 March 1994), p. 1.
44 Donatella Lorch, “Somalis See Pact As Last Chance,” p. 1.
45 Elaine Sciolino, “New U.S. Peacekeeping Policy De-emphasizes the Role of the UN,” New York Times, (6 May 1994), p. 1.
46 These were Clinton National Security Advisor Anthony Lake’s words. See Daniel Williams, “Joining the Pantheon of American Missteps,” Washington Post, (26 March 1994), p. 18; and "When should we send in our troops? Interview with Editorial board and staff of USA Today and Anthony Lake," USA Today (7 April 1994), p. 13.
47 "Daniel Williams, "Joining the Pantheon of American Missteps," p. 18.
48 See Elaine Sciolino, "The New UN Peacekeeping Policy De-emphasizes . . New York Times', and Editorial "Not-so-assertive multilateralism,” Washington Times (9 May 1994), p. 20. For a summary text of the directive see PDD-25 (5 May 1994), Office of Peace Keeping and Humanitarian Operations, Department of State, Washington, D.C.
49 The New York Times (23 September 1990), p. 6.
50 The remark was made by Mihajilo Markovic, leader of the former Communist (now Socialist) party. Roger Thurow, “Serbs Bet That West Won’t Risk The Thing They Fear: Ground Troops.” Wall Street Journal, (21 April 1994), p. A10.
51 See Dean Acheson, Present at the Creation (New York: W.W. Norton, 1969), p. 405; Cdr. James F. McNulty, “Naval Presence—The Misunderstood Mission," Naval War College Review (September-October 1974), pp. 21-31; James A. Nathan and James K. Oliver, The Future of United States Naval Power (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1979), pp. 65-82.
52 James Cable, Gunboat Diplomacy (London: 1ISS, 1971), (Third Edition, New York: St. Martins, 1994).
53 Interview with Peter Jennings, ABC Special, "While America Watched," transcript by Journal Graphics, 16 March 1994.
54 Speech cited by Jim Hoagland "When the World Won’t Behave: Clinton Learns the Limits and Lessons of Gunboat Diplomacy,” Washington Post (4 December 1994), p. Cl.
55 James Cable, Gunboat Diplomacy, updated, (3rd Edition), (New York: St. Martins Press, 1994).
56 Robert E. Osgood and Robert W. Tucker, Force, Order, and Justice (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976), esp. chapter 1, pp. 3-41.
57 Michael R. Gordon, "US Officials Debate Policy to Halt Serbs,” New York Times (6 April 1990), p. 1. See “Washington Whispers, Bosnia. Did Pentagon Statements give ‘green light’ to Serbs," US News & World Report (25 April 1994), p. 27.
58 Barry M. Blechman and Stephan S. Kaplan, “Armed Forces as a Political Instrument,” Survival, July/August 1977, pp. 168-174.
59 Clausewitz, On War (Howard and Paret), book 6, chap. 28, p. 488; book 6, chap. 30, p. 501; and Hugh Smith, "The womb of war: Clausewitz and International Politics," Review of International Studies, vol. 16, no. 1 (June 1990), p. 52.
Mr. Nathan is a former foreign service officer. He has taught at the Johns Hopkins University, the Naval War College, the Army War College, and for many years at the University of Delaware. He is presently Khalid bin Sultan Eminent Scholar, Auburn University at Montgomery. He is also executive director of the Alabama World Affairs Council and the author of a number of books.