Losing the endgame

Win the shooting war and lose the peace? It’s an old story for US policymakers, going back at least as far as World War I. And it’s about time for us to start doing it differently.

That’s the thesis of How Wars End: Why We Always Fight The Last Battle, a new book by Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Affairs magazine. Rose talks about his book in an interview on with UC Berkeley Professor Harry Kreisler on UCTV’s Conversations with History (website, iTunes).

Rose, who first started observing foreign-policy up close as a junior staffer in the Clinton administration, has reviewed the history of US wars in the last 100 years, with a special emphasis on the endgame. His conclusion: US policymakers play it badly, mainly through inattention and wishful thinking. They focus narrowly on winning the shooting war, and seem to think that the aftermath will take care of itself. It never does.

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