Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace / Edition 2

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“If you want peace, prepare for war.” “A buildup of offensive weapons can be purely defensive.” “The worst road may be the best route to battle.” Strategy is made of such seemingly self-contradictory propositions, Edward Luttwak shows—they exemplify the paradoxical logic that pervades the entire realm of conflict.
In this widely acclaimed work, now revised and expanded, Luttwak unveils the peculiar logic of strategy level by level, from grand strategy down to combat tactics. Having participated in its planning, Luttwak examines the role of air power in the 1991 Gulf War, then detects the emergence of “post-heroic” war in Kosovo in 1999—an American war in which not a single American soldier was killed.
In the tradition of Carl von Clausewitz, Strategy goes beyond paradox to expose the dynamics of reversal at work in the crucible of conflict. As victory is turned into defeat by over-extension, as war brings peace by exhaustion, ordinary linear logic is overthrown. Citing examples from ancient Rome to our own days, from Barbarossa and Pearl Harbor down to minor combat affrays, from the strategy of peace to the latest operational methods of war, this book by one of the world’s foremost authorities reveals the ultimate logic of military failure and success, of war and peace.

Luttwak's become the unthinkable. And here he has succeeded magnificently. For peacemakers and warmakers alike." -- Harry G. Summers, Jr., New York Times Book Review.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674007031
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Edition description: Revised and Enlarged Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,176,536
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Edward N. Luttwak is a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Part I: The Logic of Strategy
    • 1. The Conscious Use of Paradox in War
    • 2. The Logic in Action
    • 3. Efficiency and the Culminating Point of Success
    • 4. The Coming Together of Opposites

  • Part II: The Levels of Strategy
    • 5. The Technical Level
    • 6. The Tactical Level
    • 7. The Operational Level
    • 8. Theater Strategy I: Military Options and Political Choices
    • 9. Theater Strategy II: Offense and Defense
    • 10. Theater Stragegy III: Interdiction and the Surprise Attack
    • 11. Nonstrategies: Naval, Air, Nuclear
    • 12. The Renaissance of Strategic Air Power

  • Part III: Outcomes: Grand Strategy
    • 13. The Scope of Grand Strategy
    • 14. Armed Suasion
    • 15. Harmony and Disharmony in War
    • 16. Can Strategy Be Useful?

  • Appendix A: Definitions of Strategy
  • Appendix B: The Gulf War Air Campaign
  • Appendix C: Instant Thunder
  • Notes
  • Works Cited
  • Index

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2007

    A reviewer

    This is a very good book for novice students of this subject. Definitions such as preclusive defense ,paradox of strategy etc. are very well defined and explained.These are generally hard for beginners to understand. There are some outright errors such as Billy Mitchell bombed Tokyo in 1942.No he did not Doolittle did. Another one is not stating that naval power sometimes DOES win wars such as in the Pacific in WW2. But in all it is a very good read and very useful as a starting book on strategy. I would recommend reading this in conjuction with Lidell Hart's classic book 'Strategy'. Colin Gray and some other advanced authors should be read after this book is digested.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2004

    Sparkling account of strategic thinking

    In this dazzling book, Luttwak presents `the dynamic, paradoxical process of strategy¿. He studies the logic of strategy, its five levels (technical, tactical, operational, theatre and grand), and its two dimensions, the vertical, where the levels interact, and the horizontal, where the conflict of wills unfolds within each level. He presents activity¿s typical sequence: action, culminating point of success, decline and reversal. He approvingly notes that in World War Two, the Soviet Union followed each of its successful advances with a deliberate pause, to avoid overshooting the turning point. Luttwak explores the paradox of deterrence, that the utility of the most lethal weapons ever devised lies in their non-use; that governments threaten Armageddon to prevent it, so the Soviet bomb, then the Chinese bomb, stopped the USA from starting World War Three. Nuclear bombs secure the safety of the states possessing them: Israel¿s 200 nuclear bombs make absurd Sharon¿s claim that Israel can only survive if he attacks the Palestinians. Notably though, incremental political change can outmanoeuvre and negate even `the excessive weapon¿: the US government could not use it against Korea or Vietnam, and Sharon cannot use it to destroy the Palestinians. Luttwak shows that `peacekeeping¿ interventions - so beloved by the moralists whom we allow to run Britain¿s affairs - don¿t work; instead they extend wars by preventing their resolution: for example, United Nations relief efforts sustained Pol Pot for years, and Non-Governmental Organisations¿ relief efforts sustained the Hutus¿ genocidal leaders. In a brilliant new section, Luttwak examines the Gulf War. Only 10% of US bombs were guided (30% of the unguided were cluster bombs). But over half of the guided bombs landed within three feet of their targets - key weapons, bridges, aircraft shelters, command posts, radar equipment, telecommunications. Yet the bombing did not destroy the morale either of soldiers or civilians; it was damaging, not decisive. Finally, air war cannot deliver what ground war has not won: Iraqi forces withdrew from Kuwait, Serb forces from Kosovo, the Taliban from Kabul, but in each case the targeted governments survived physically. Again, the wars were suspended, not ended.

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