Saturday, January 24, 2015
Review - Savage Wars of Peace
In this well-referenced, clearly written survey of America's involvement in "small wars" from the Quasi-War with France in 1798 to Kosovo in 2001, Max Boot argues that America has a long history of involvement in other countries' internal affairs and that, up until Vietnam, the U. S. had a fairly decent track record.
American interventions often brought stability, security, and a large decrease in corruption while introducing health and infrastructure improvements. He also argues that economics, often touted as a primary reason for American involvement, has actually been generally of only secondary importance.
Boot lays out a clear, concise argument that America, if it leans on its historical experience, can and should be an agent of global security and state building. He cautions that if America does not listen to history, or if it opts out of its role, the consequences can be terrible - citing the Beirut bombing and the rise of Osama bin Laden as recent failures.
Although written in 2002 this book still has relevance in the tumultuous, jihadist-edged world. We still don't seem to understand the lessons of history though they are relatively easy to reference.