By William H. McNeill
"No precis can do justice to McNeill's problematic, encyclopedic therapy. . . . McNeill's erudition is gorgeous, as he strikes simply from ecu to chinese language and Islamic cultures and from army and technological to socio-economic and political advancements. the result's a grand synthesis of sweeping proportions and interdisciplinary personality that tells us virtually as a lot concerning the background of butter because the historical past of weapons. . . . McNeill's better accomplishment is to remind us that each one humankind has a shared previous and, fairly with reference to its number of guns and conflict, a shared stake within the future."—Stuart Rochester, Washington put up ebook international
"Mr. McNeill's comprehensiveness and sensitivity do for the reader what Henry James acknowledged that Turgenev's dialog did for him: they recommend 'all kinds of helpful things.' This narrative of rationality utilized to irrational reasons and of ingenuity cannibalizing itself is a piece of readability, which delineates mysteries. the best of them, to my brain, is why humans have by no means discovered to cherish their very own species."—Naomi Bliven, The New Yorker
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Extra info for The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force and Society since A.D. 1000
To come to grips with a programme of reconstitution of the armed forces we need, in principle, to define clearly whether we desire to have them. This implies engaging all of society and the civilian elites. We believe the answer should be yes. After we accept this premise we need to define its purpose. This should be military rather than having a force with a military appearance performing non-military functions. Last, we need to discuss, what resources it should have and therefore how should it be organised, trained, and deployed.
Andean militaries and police are presently no match for narco-trafficking organisations operating transnationally and backed by private armies, advanced weaponry, and highly sophisticated intelligence systems. Andean security forces are further hamstrung by operational inefficiency and ineffectiveness. A November 1989 raid on the eastern Bolivian town of San Ramon, touted by the US Embassy as 'the largest counter-narcotics enforcement operation in recent times' is a case in point. The raid was compromised by a tip-off; the targeted Colombian and Bolivian traffickers fled the site over 12 hours before the operation.
Using the military to send electoral signals to the US public is not exactly the kind of national policy objective that Clausewitz and his current students have in mind. Decisive Means and Results: Can the US Military Secure National Objectives? The lack of clarity about objectives and mission makes it difficult to evaluate the drug war in terms of other principles - is this a kind of war in which the means and results can be decisive, and is military force the best way to secure these objectiyes?