Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226107684 Published March 2014
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226107714 Published March 2014
E-book $7.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226107851 Published March 2014

Success and Failure in Limited War

Information and Strategy in the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and Iraq Wars

Spencer D. Bakich

Spencer D. Bakich

344 pages | 2 line drawings, 5 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226107684 Published March 2014
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226107714 Published March 2014
E-book $7.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226107851 Published March 2014
Common and destructive, limited wars are significant international events that pose a number of challenges to the states involved beyond simple victory or defeat. Chief among these challenges is the risk of escalation—be it in the scale, scope, cost, or duration of the conflict. In this book, Spencer D. Bakich investigates a crucial and heretofore ignored factor in determining the nature and direction of limited war: information institutions.

Traditional assessments of wartime strategy focus on the relationship between the military and civilians, but Bakich argues that we must take into account the information flow patterns among top policy makers and all national security organizations. By examining the fate of American military and diplomatic strategy in four limited wars, Bakich demonstrates how not only the availability and quality of information, but also the ways in which information is gathered, managed, analyzed, and used, shape a state’s ability to wield power effectively in dynamic and complex international systems.

Utilizing a range of primary and secondary source materials, Success and Failure in Limited War makes a timely case for the power of information in war, with crucial implications for international relations theory and statecraft.
J. P. Dunn, Converse College | Choice
John Arquilla, US Naval Postgraduate School | Michigan War Studies Review
“Despite all the interest in preparing for short, sharp wars, including counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts at various operational levels, no effective conceptual basis for such conflicts has been formulated. In Success and Failure in Limited War, Bakich has taken a big step toward plugging that gap by stressing and clarifying the much tighter bonds between military action and diplomacy in limited wars. . . . The author’s approach really proves its worth in explaining the debacle of the second Iraq war. His analysis of the co-optation of intelligence, the virtual crippling of the National Security Council, and systemic organizational flaws is both compelling and deeply troubling. . . . Bakich has opened a rich new vein of research into international relations in matters of war and peace. Success and Failure in Limited War will inform and guide future students of civil and military decision-making in crisis and conflict for years to come.”
Stéphane Taillat | Politique Étrangère (France)
“Bakich here offers a rigorous and well researched study, which makes the link between analysis of foreign policy, strategic studies, and international relations.”
Adam N. Stulberg | Georgia Institute of Technology
“Bakich addresses an important puzzle—the sources of mixed strategic success in US experience with limited wars since World War II—by advancing a novel argument concerning the role of ‘information institutions.’ Success and Failure in Limited War provides a very useful framework that both complements the mountain of historical and decision making literature on the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, as well as integrates emerging insights from many insiders regarding contemporary decision-making in the two Iraq wars. The real payoff: Bakich compensates for gaps in the dominant realist, domestic politics, and constructivist arguments.”
Jeffrey W. Legro | University of Virginia
“Bakich has given us a ‘must read’ study: he brilliantly explains how information flows (and their absence) definitively shape the success of wartime decision making and he provides a highly readable history of the limited wars that have consumed US foreign policy over the past sixty years. Policy makers, scholars, and students alike will find this book invaluable.”
Robert Jervis, Columbia University | author of "Why Intelligence Fails: Lessons from the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq War"
“Even more than most enterprises, limited wars are characterized by uncertainty, and Bakich’s great contribution is to focus on the role of institutions that gather and process information in influencing their outcomes.  With a good theory involving both diplomats and the armed forces and thorough case studies, this book is both fascinating and important.”
Chapter One
Information Institutions and Strategy in War
Chapter Two
Explaining Strategic Performance in Limited Warfare
Chapter Three
Military and Diplomatic Defeat in the Korean War
Chapter Four
The Vietnam War, Little Consolation
Chapter Five
Military and Diplomatic Success in the Persian Gulf War
Chapter Six
Iraq—Win the Battle, Lose the War
Chapter Seven
Information Institutions Matter!

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