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Arms and Influence : With a New Preface and Afterword

ISBN: 9780300143379 | 0300143370
Format: Trade Paper
Publisher: Yale University Press
Pub. Date: 11/5/2008

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Traditionally, Americans have viewed war as an alternative to diplomacy, and military strategy as the science of victory. Today, however, in our world of nuclear weapons, military power is not so much exercised as threatened. It is, Mr. Schelling says, bargaining power, and the exploitation of this power, for good or evil, to preserve peace or to threaten war, is diplomacythe diplomacy of violence. The author concentrates in this book on the way in which military capabilitiesreal or imaginedare used, skillfully or clumsily, as bargaining power. He sees the steps taken by the U.S. during the Berlin and Cuban crises as not merely preparations for engagement, but as signals to an enemy, with reports from the adversary's own military intelligence as our most important diplomatic communications. Even the bombing of North Vietnam, Mr. Schelling points out, is as much coercive as tactical, aimed at decisions as much as bridges. He carries forward the analysis so brilliantly begun in his earlierThe Strategy of Conflict(1960) andStrategy and Arms Control(with Morton Halperin, 1961), and makes a significant contribution to the growing literature on modern war and diplomacy.

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