Preventive Defense: A New Security Strategy for America

Preventive Defense: A New Security Strategy for America

by William J. Perry, Ashton B. Carter
     
 

William J. Perry and Ashton B. Carter, two of the world's foremost defense authorities, draw on their experience as leaders of the U.S. Defense Department to propose a new American security strategy for the twenty-first century. After a century in which aggression had to be defeated in two world wars and then deterred through a prolonged cold war, the authors argue

Overview

William J. Perry and Ashton B. Carter, two of the world's foremost defense authorities, draw on their experience as leaders of the U.S. Defense Department to propose a new American security strategy for the twenty-first century. After a century in which aggression had to be defeated in two world wars and then deterred through a prolonged cold war, the authors argue for a strategy centered on prevention. Now that the cold war is over, it is necessary to rethink the risks to U.S. security. The A list--threats to U.S. survival--is empty today. The B list--the two major regional contingencies in the Persian Gulf and on the Korean peninsula that dominate Pentagon planning and budgeting--pose imminent threats to U.S. interests but not to survival. And the C list--such headline-grabbing places as Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda, and Haiti--includes important contingencies that indirectly affect U.S. security but do not directly threaten U.S. interests. Thus the United States is enjoying a period of unprecedented peace and influence; but foreign policy and defense leaders cannot afford to be complacent. The authors' preventive defense strategy concentrates on the dangers that, if mismanaged, have the potential to grow into true A-list threats to U.S. survival in the next century. These include Weimar Russia: failure to establish a self-respecting place for the new Russia in the post-cold war world, allowing it to descend into chaos, isolation, and aggression as Germany did after World War I; Loose Nukes: failure to reduce and secure the deadly legacy of the cold war--nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in Russia and the rest of the former Soviet Union; A Rising China Turned Hostile: failure to shape China's rise to Asian superpower status so that it emerges as a partner rather than an adversary; Proliferation: spread of weapons of mass destruction; and Catastrophic Terrorism: increase in the scope and intensity of transnational terrorism.They also argue for better management of the defense establishment so the United States will retain a strong military prepared to cope with all contingencies, deter aggressors, and win a conflict if deterrence fails.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The post-Cold War era is still a dangerous time, and the role and structure of America's armed forces continues to be hotly debated. Perry, the former secretary of defense, and Carter, an assistant secretary of defense under Perry, feel that the United States should now focus its efforts on trying to prevent bad situations from degenerating into costly conflicts that could threaten America's friends and vital interests. Their main themes include helping Russia avoid regressing into a weakened and insecure "Weimar" state like Germany after World War I, improving our perceptions of and reactions to China's growing strength, controlling weapons of mass destruction in newly established states or those being developed elsewhere, and preparing for acts of "catastrophic terrorism." Above all, they argue, we need to keep America's military strong and able to deal with a variety of threats. This all seems self-evident, but many people do not want to spend the time or money to address these important issues. This timely book is recommended.--Daniel K. Blewett, Loyola Univ. Lib., Chicago Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
A former secretary and assistant secretary of defense under Clinton divide threats into those to US survival, of which they see none now; to US interests, as in the Persian Gulf and Korean peninsula; and to US security, as in the former Yugoslavia and parts of Africa. They propose pro-active approaches to keep potential threats from developing into real ones. Perhaps to establish their credentials, they include photographs of themselves in various famous situations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
Thomas L. Friedman
The most important book by any ex-Clinton official.
The New York Times
From the Publisher

"An informative mixture of anecdote, analysis, and advocacy." — Times Literary Supplement

"America has had difficulty discerning where to look for the next big threat as opposed to the momentary flash point. That is a problem addressed... in a thoughtful new book, Preventive Defense.... [The authors'] emphasis is on broadening the definition of defense beyond military strategy to make prevention the most effective form of deterrence." — Christian Science Monitor

"The authors of this book have taken their experiences as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy and Secretary of Defense in the Clinton Administration and decanted them nicely into a unique vision...." —Gordon Adams, Survival

"Preventive Defense lives up to [its] praise and provides a concise prescription for US security plicy in the late 1990s and beyond." — Georgetown Public Policy Review

"The most important book by any ex-Clinton official." — The New York Times

"eerily prophetic" —Felix Soh, The Strait Times (Singapore), 7/5/2002

"The great merit of Preventive Defense is its accessibility for a lay audience. in less than 250 pages, readers are provided with a cogent and very sober assessment of five dangers that have the potential to become A-list threats to U.S. security, followed by a set of thoughtful and practical policy recommendations to forestall their development." —William C. Potter, Issues in Science and Technology

"...an important book that should be read by policymakers and students of national security strategy." —Joseph R. Cerami, Parameters: Journal of the US Army War College

"Preventive Defense is well written and easy to read, yet represents an in-depth analysis of the threats and challenges facing our world at the brink of the 21st century by the most authoritative authors on the subject. The personal recollections of Dr. Perry and Dr. Carter are skillfully intertwined with a highly professional manuscript. It is a wonderful read!" —Andrei Kokoshin, Former Secretary, Security Council of the Russian Federation

"This is a fascinating book, leading into the 21st century. William Perry and Ashton Carter describe an impressive approach to assure peace and international security. The book offers a broad overview of effective measures for conflict prevention from which Europe can profit immensely." —Volker Rühe, Former Defense Minister, Germany

"Perry and Carter outline an important new preventive defense stratgey to identify post-cold war dangers that might become cold war-scale threats and to apply U.S. tools and tactics to avert them..." —Sam Nunn, Former U.S. Senator

"What should the American strategy be for the 21st century? Carter and Perry rightly answer their own question by emphasizing the need to mobilize every resource-political, economic, and military-to head off the dangers of proliferation, terrorism, and loose nukes...Preventive Defense gives us both the wake-up call and the elements of a new strategy." —The Right Hon. Michael Portillo, Former Minister of Defense, U.K.

"This book's prescription for the post-cold war defense strategy of the United States weaves together fresh analysis with the authors' considerable experience to delineate their concept of 'preventive defense.'... Provocative, interesting, instructive, and insightful and sound." —James Schlesinger, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Former Director of the CIA

"An essential guide to the critical choices that must be made as America rethinks potential threats to national security.

" —Gen. Brent Scowcroft, Former U.S. National Security Adviser

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780815713074
Publisher:
Brookings Institution Press
Publication date:
03/28/1999
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.58(d)

What People are saying about this

Gen. Brent Scowcroft
An essential guide to the critical choices that must be made as America rethinks potential threats to national security.
— Former U.S. National Security Advisor

Meet the Author

Ashton B. Carter is a research fellow at the Center for International Studies at MIT. William J. Perry is codirector of the Preventive Defense Project at Stanford and Harvard, and was the nineteenth U.S. Secretary of Defense (1994-97).

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