Soldiers Statesmen And Cold War Crises Chapter 1 Summary

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Book Review 2: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Cold War Crises by Richard Betts Summary: Betts starts off his book by recognizing the ambiguity around the advocacy of the use of force in a crisis by military leaders even though there is a prevalent assumption that military professionals are more aggressive than diplomats and politicians. He states he writes the book in order to provide a comprehensive survey of the postwar role of American military men in decisions on their most essential function, their use of force in combat. Betts acknowledges the vast availability of literature on military participation in decisions on defense budgets and weapons procurement, but feels there is a void when looking at decision-making from the perspective of military leadership versus civilian leadership. The book addresses four principle questions. First, when the use of force was an issue, what did military advisers recommend compared to civilian advisers? Second, what effect did the advice of the military have on presidential decisions, and how was their influence brought to…show more content…
Overall, historians and theorists have predicated the Cold War as a learning experience for future decision-making. However, one can draw similarities in current military actions, like Iraq and Afghanistan, where those can argue not much has changed in the demeanor and action of military leadership to civilian leadership. Overall, Betts provides a thoroughly researched and structured framework for the reader to analyze historical evidence from a different perspective but I found his conclusions to be inherently flawed. Bibliography: Betts, Richard K. Soldiers, Statesmen, and Cold War Crises. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1977.

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