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Between Threats and War: U.S. Discrete Military Operations in the Post-Cold War World (A Council on Foreign Relations) Paperback – August 3, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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"Zenko's analysis of the limited use of force is brilliant and timely. He breaks new ground in moving beyond Cold War thinking to assess the efficacy of specific military measures in a unipolar environment. This work is a major step in sharpening the application of US military force to achieve political aims abroad. A 'must-read' for anyone—military or civilian—who wants to participate in or understand US national security decision-making."—Gen. Wesley Clark, U.S. Army (ret.), former Supreme Allied Commander Europe


"In his important work on Discrete Military Operations, Micah Zenko studies the use of cruise missile strikes, small air raids, and other such limited uses of force that became the norm in much of the post-Cold War era. Zenko reminds policymakers of the uneven track record of such operations, while also providing rich new historical detail on matters such as the contemplated (but ultimately foregone) strike near Khurmal, Iraq on the Ansar al-Islam extremist group in 2002. Highly recommended."—Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow and Director of Research for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution


"This book is readable, relevant, and insightful. It represents exceptional analysis on a topic that few have explored in such detail. It is well researched, well documented, and well organized. I recommend it to all civilian and military leaders pondering the utility and efficacy of direct military strikes against sensitive targets."—Colonel Robert M. Cassidy, U.S. Army Senior Fellow, Center for Advanced Defense Studies


"Between Threats and War is one of those rare but valuable works that uses rigorous scholarship to illuminate the dynamics of security decisions. Both theorists and security practitioners will find it challenging and useful."—Steven Metz, U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute

About the Author

A Council on Foreign Relations Book Micah Zenko is a Fellow for Conflict Prevention in the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has expertise in U.S. national security policy, military planning and operations, and nuclear weapons policy.
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Product Details

  • Series: A Council on Foreign Relations
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford Security Studies (August 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080477191X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804771917
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,669,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Micah Zenko is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of "Red Team: How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy." He writes the blog Politics, Power and Preventive Action, which covers U.S. national security policy, international security, and conflict prevention, and also has a column on ForeignPolicy.com.

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Mr. Zenko's analysis is eye-opening. This book presents an extremely detailed and obviously well-researched analysis of what is a missing yet key part of the public understanding on our use of force abroad: what he refers to as the use of "discrete military operations", or the use of limited force in circumstances other than the conventional understanding of military objectives (e.g., war, regime-change, etc.) The book examines case after case of these operations during numerous administrations since the Cold War. You get the quick sense that despite the less than outstanding record of success of these operations, which could be anything from airstrikes to rescue operations, their favored use in many occasions is often motivated by factors other than military objective. The book educates the reader about the political and other realities surrounding the decisions to use these tactics, filling a current void in the public debate. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
The Cold War is over, but the call for under the radar military operations are not done yet. "Between Threats and War: U. S. Discrete Military Operations in the Post-Cold War World" is an analysis of the military's actions around the world which are not often announced or heard about in the media. Author Micah Zenko presents twenty of these operations and criticizes them for the efficiency or lack their of accomplishing the U.S.'s security goals. "Between Threats and War" is a thoughtful read on the actions of the military during peacetime.
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This book provides the foundation for what I feel is going to be a growing debate among policy makers and the military. The case studies provide in-depth analysis of why political actors decided the way they did and looks to analyze the impact of their actions. Highly recommend this book for folks interested in confronting the foreign policy challenges of the 21st century.
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