- Foreign policy analyses written by CFR fellows and published by the trade presses, academic presses, or the Council on Foreign Relations Press.
While American national security policy has grown more interventionist since the Cold War, Washington has also hoped to shape the world on the cheap. Misled by the stunning success against Iraq in 1991, administrations of both parties have pursued ambitious aims with limited force, committing the country's military frequently yet often hesitantly, with inconsistent justification. These ventures have produced strategic confusion, unplanned entanglements, and indecisive results. This collection of essays by Richard K. Betts, a leading international politics scholar, investigates the use of American force since the end of the Cold War, suggesting guidelines for making it more selective and successful. Betts argues that American force should be used less frequently but more decisively.
A Council on Foreign Relations Book
Reviews and Endorsements
The Department of Defense Blog Chairman's Nightstand pick for August 2012
In twelve detailed, well-written, and insightful chapters, American Force does a masterful job analyzing all of the important issues that have arisen during the conduct of post–World War II United States national security policy. This book is a must-read for policymakers and analysts trying to comprehend the current threats to U.S. security and develop effective and efficient responses to them.
Lawrence J. Korb, former assistant secretary of defense and senior fellow, Center for American Progress
In this distillation of a career spent on careful study of America's use of military power, Richard K. Betts provides a good, strong dose of skepticism. A practical man, remarkably free of ideological cant, Betts has mixed a fine antidote to strategic conceits, a healthy and humbling aid to good judgment.
Philip Zelikow, former counselor, U.S. State Department, and staff director of the 9/11 Commission
Richard K. Betts has long been one of America's smartest, sanest, and most knowledgeable scholars on national security affairs. American Force distills his considerable wisdom and offers incisive and clear-eyed analyses of the main security issues that United States leaders now face. If those who aspire to be commander-in-chief (and those who hope to advise him or her) could be required to read one book, this should be it.
Stephen Walt, Harvard Kennedy School
Highly recommended for aficionados of foreign-policy and national-security issues.
Richard K. Betts offers fresh thinking about where America stands in the world in the early twenty-first century and how this nation can move forward most sensibly in the defense of its territory and global interests. In short, this is an outstanding effort. There is no other book quite like it.
Loch K. Johnson, University of Georgia
In the NewsRichard Betts discusses the end of the Iraq War on the "Brian Lehrer Show"
A CFR Book. Columbia University PressRichard Betts discusses the work of Francis Fukuyama, Samuel Huntington, and John Mearsheimer at the Carnegie Council
A CFR Book. Columbia University Press