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Every War Must End (Columbia Classics (Paperback)) Revised Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231136679
ISBN-10: 0231136676
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Editorial Reviews

Review

The reissuing of Iklé's classic is to be welcomed...because it demonstrates how with clear prose, broad knowledge, and a sharp focus, a little book can address a big question.

(Foreign Affairs)

About the Author

Fred Charles IklE (1924-2011), a Swiss-born sociologist and defense expert, played a significant role in the establishment of U.S. defense policy. A professor of political science at MIT, IklE also served as director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and was appointed Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, from 1981 to 1988.
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Product Details

  • Series: Columbia Classics (Paperback)
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Revised edition (January 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231136676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231136679
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #892,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By John Matlock on April 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
The twentiety century taught us a lot about wars and how they end. World War I showed us that making strong demands on the defeated (who didn't admit defeat to their own people) set the stage for the next big war.

World War II was fought until the Unconditional Surrender of the Germans and Japanese. Something that thinkers still debate as having made them fight all that harder.

VietNam was fought with no clear end in sight, and "another VietNam" entered our language.

The first Gulf War was ended when Colin Powell and Bush II debated how to end the war. They stopped before they had to go in and see what the Sunni's, Shiite's and Kurds made of the power vacuum left by the removal of Saddam would have created. Bush II is learning about this now.

This is the second revised edition of this book, originally published in 1971 and then updated in 1991 and now 2005 to reflect happenings in new wars.

Still some of the old wars had interesting insights that I didn't know before, such as how Finland, originally on Germany's side against Russia, made a peace with Russia and kicked the Germans out before they became a Russian province. Great Book.
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This book should be read by everybody on any side of the current debate as to what are future Iraq (Iran?, N. Korea?- w/ the current set of maroons you never know) policy should be.

Ikle was Undersecretary of Defense for the Reagan administration. He is one of the original neocons. This book had an enormous influence on how Bush I and Powell decided to end our first Gulf War. He revised this book in 1991 and revised it again and wrote a new intro in 2005.

My point is that this man is no cut and run liberal (and I should admit that, right now, I am leaning toward just that position). However, what makes Ikle stand out from his demented neocon brethren is that he is willing to face up to ALL of the possibilities, the difficulties and the ambiguities that are inherent in any foreign policy, let alone a war. He mentions many of the wars and theatres of those wars in the twentiety century and points out how many times politicians and generals went wrong because they would not 1. clearly set out the goals they were trying to accomplish in a war and 2. constantly reevaluate those goals in light of the developing situation.

Ikle outlines a few of the difficulties that are obstacles to such a course. Rather prophetically, he talks about how difficult it is to get good intelligence to base your policies on. Sources from within the country of your opponent may mislead you for their own purposes. Agencies within your own government are posturing with the intelligence to protect their influence. Does any of this sound familiar?

In one of my favorite chapters of this book, Ikle talks about a tendency that occurs when things start to get difficult in a war.
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Format: Paperback
This short book is an outstanding analysis of how nations end wars, or accept peace. Ikle shows how governments often prefer obviously self-destructive courses rather then compromise peace terms. The problem is most acute when factional interests dominate strategy rather then a rational unitary interest. In such a circumstance, factions that benefit from continuing the war will accuse those pursuing peace of treason. Sadly, there is no equivalent derogatory word in English for those who pursue war to the detriment of their country.

The book was first written in 1971, and most of the examples are from the two world wars. The work is still extremely relevant, and at 130 pages it's well worth the time.

Highly recommended as a first book to read on ending war.
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Format: Paperback
There are already three good reviews so I will only suggest reading the following books instead of, or in addition to, this peculiar work: a) "War in human civilization" by Azar Gat; b) "War before Civilization. The Myth of the Peaceful Savage", by Lawrence Keeley; c) "How War Began" by Keith F. Otterbein; d) "War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires" by Peter Turchin; and e) "War and the Law of Nations: A General History" by Stephen Neff.
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