The Virtual American Empire: On War, Faith and Power

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-09-15
  • Publisher: Routledge

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This is Edward Luttwak’s third and arguably finest collectionof essays. In a challenge to the intellectual backboneof those who write about peace as something one wishesinto existence through mediation and good will, Luttwak’sview of warfare is bracing: "An unpleasant truth, oftenoverlooked, is that although war is a great evil, it doeshave a great virtue: it can resolve political conflicts andlead to peace."Luttwak articulates positions shared by military figuresand political heroes who have their feet on the groundrather than in the sand. He shares his thoughts in essayscovering America at war and the new Bolshevism inRussia, ranging in place from the Middle East to LatinAmerica and stops along the way to Byzantium. Luttwakexamines military reform, great powers grown small,and drugs, crime and corruption as part of the commonculture of the West. Though his message is sometimesdelivered in a light tone, he is never foolish and nevertrivial.Luttwak develops the bracing thesis that cease firesand armistices in states of war, while sometimes inconclusive,are lesser evils than prospects for a nuclear meltdown.Even in arenas of geopolitical antagonism, neitherAmericans nor Russians have been inclined to intervenecompetitively in wars of lesser powers. As a consequence,intermittent war persists; and greater dangers to the worldare averted. It is no exaggeration to compare Luttwak toClausewitz in the nineteenth century and Herman Kahnin the twentieth century. This volume deserves to be readand digested by all who would understand contemporarygeopolitics.

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