Review: The Invention of Peace–Reflections on War and International Order

4 Star, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class

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4.0 out of 5 stars Slim, Pointed, It's About Culture and Obedience to a State,

October 28, 2001
Sir Michael Howard
This is an essay with deep insights, but it is not a portal to other knowledge as it lacks any notes or bibliography. The author is one of our top strategists, historians, and teachers of war and peace and this is very much a capstone presentation.The settlement of disputes among groups whose grievances are so great they are willing to die rather than accept impositions from others, are a fact of life. As 11 September has shown us, we are vulnerable to unconventional attacks against civilians, within our own borders–this book is relevant and readable.

The core idea is that only organized nation-states that can command the loyalty and obedience of their citizens, are capable of preventing war and championing peace. The concepts of corporate peace and non-governmental peace are explicitly disavowed.

Legitimization and brutality are recurring themes in history–peace among nations occurs when mutual respect or fear legitimize the status quo, and incredible brutalities, including routine massacres of “infidel” civilians, occur when states fail to control themselves or their populations.

A major disruptive factor in today's world is the combination of educated but unemployed masses within the Arabian and Islamic nations, and the globalization of communications–but it is a one-way globalization, firehosing the Muslims with corporate consumerist visions and impositions, while a Muslim Press Service has yet to form. Individual states–one could suggest that the United States is among them–failing to nurture a clear definition of citizenship, and the requisite loyalties–are destined to suffer internal fragmentation and external attack.

Strong militaries are needed to win wars, but overt military intervention is not the route to a sustainable peace in today's complex environment–only diplomacy, cultural outreach, and mutually agreed consensus can create and sustain peace….this is the simple yet brutal message of this book, one our leaders have yet to grasp.

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