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Winning the War on War: The Decline of Armed Conflict Worldwideby Joshua S Goldstein
Synopses & Reviews
An award-winning expert on international affairs and military history reveals the astounding truth about war: Peacekeeping is working.
Read the newspapers, and you'll be convinced war is worse than it's ever been: more civilian deaths, more rapes, more armed conflicts all around the world. But as leading scholar and writer Joshua Goldstein shows in this vivid, dramatic book, the reality is just the opposite. The commonly quoted statistic that "a century ago 90 percent of war deaths were military, but nowadays 90 percent are civilian" is based on one error in a little-read, twenty-year-old report. The truth is that the military-civilian death ratio has remained at around 50-50 for centuries. Most amazingly, we are in the midst of a general decline in armed conflict that is truly extraordinary in human history.
Winning the War on War is filled with startling observations, including:
In the last twenty-five years alone, by Ernie Regehr’s count, there have been ninety-eight wars, twenty-six of which are still raging around the world. Regehr puts the cost of armament for a global military made of seventy million people at $1.7 trillion per year. And yet, the overwhelming majority of wars are not settled on the battlefield, where they end in devastating, violent stalemates. Instead, they are ended in a conference room among diplomats and politicians. In this brave and discerning book, Regehr argues that we should keep in mind the proven futility of global, military effort and keep wars from ever leaving the bargaining table.
Drawing on four decades of experience in conflict zones, advising and leading diplomacy efforts, and contributing to the adoption of the “Responsibility to Protect Act”by the World Assembly, Regeher boldly shows that political stability will never be issued from the barrel of a gun.
Everyone knows: wars are getting worse, more civilians are dying, and peacemaking achieves nothing, right? Wrong.
Despite all the bad-news headlines, peacekeeping is working. Fewer wars are starting, more are ending, and those that remain are smaller and more localized. But peace doesn’t just happen; it needs to be put into effect. Moreover, understanding the global decline in armed conflict is crucial as America shifts to an era of lower military budgets and operations.
Preeminent scholar of international relations, Joshua Goldstein, definitively illustrates how decades of effort by humanitarian aid agencies, popular movements—and especially the United Nations—have made a measureable difference in reducing violence in our times. Goldstein shows how we can continue building on these inspiring achievements to keep winning the war on war.
This updated and revised edition includes more information on a post-9-11 world, and is a perfect compendium for those wishing to learn more about the United States’ armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
About the Author
Joshua S. Goldstein is a professor at the School of International Service at American University, winner of the International Studies Association "Book of the Decade" award, among others, and a research scholar at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he lives.
Table of Contents
1. Fighting to lose: A quarter century of warfare
2. How wars start
3. How wars end
4. The limits to military force
5. Preventing war
6. Disarming conflict: Conventional disarmament
7. Disarming conflict: Banning all WMD
8. Disarming security: Reshaping the security envelope
9. When prevention fails: Protecting the vulnerable
10. Winning the peace: Building a stable peace
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