"War . . . is merely an idea, an institution, like dueling or slavery, that has been grafted onto human existence. It is not a trick of fate, a thunderbolt from hell, a natural calamity, or a desperate plot contrivance dreamed up by some sadistic puppeteer on high. And it seems to me that the institution is in pronounced decline, abandoned as attitudes toward it have changed, roughly following the pattern by which the ancient and formidable institution of slavery became discredited and then mostly obsolete."-from the Introduction
War is one of the great themes of human history and now, John Mueller believes, it is clearly declining. Developed nations have generally abandoned it as a way for conducting their relations with other countries, and most current warfare (though not all) is opportunistic predation waged by packs-often remarkably small ones-of criminals and bullies. Thus, argues Mueller, war has been substantially reduced to its remnants-or dregs-and thugs are the residual combatants.
Mueller is sensitive to the policy implications of this view. When developed states commit disciplined troops to peacekeeping, the result is usually a rapid cessation of murderous disorder. The Remnants of War thus reinvigorates our sense of the moral responsibility bound up in peacekeeping. In Mueller's view, capable domestic policing and military forces can also be effective in reestablishing civic order, and the building of competent governments is key to eliminating most of what remains of warfare.
About the Author
John Mueller is Ralph D. Mershon Senior Research Scientist and Woody Hayes Chair of National Security Studies Emeritus at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at Ohio State University, where he is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Science. He is the author or editor of many books, including Terror, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security; War and Ideas: Selected Essays; Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al-Qaeda; Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them; and Capitalism, Democracy, and Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Cornell Paperbacks Edition ix
Introduction: The Decline of War, the Persistence of Warfare 1
Criminal and Disciplined Warfare 8
The Control of War and the Rise of War Aversion 24
World War I as a Watershed Event 39
World War II as a Reinforcing Event 50
War and Conflict during the Cold War 66
Civil War and Terrorism after the Cold War 85
Ordering the New World 117
The Prospects for Policing Wars 141
The Decline of War; Explanations and Extrapolations 161