Editor’s Shelf


From Parameters,  Winter 2003-04, pp. 147-48.


Michael E. Brown is probably best known as co-editor of the journal International Security, published by Harvard University’s Belfer Center. He has, however, recently edited an informative, if somewhat pessimistic, collection for his Grave New World: Security Challenges in the 21st Century (Georgetown University Press, 2003). The contributors to this sobering view of the future have been influenced not only by the end of the Cold War and the events of 9/11, but by a myriad of regional and global threats to national and international security. Brown and his contributors attempt to overcome America’s lack of awareness regarding the numerous military and nonmilitary challenges shaping the security landscape with their revealing and informative presentations. From terrorism to defense economics the contributors highlight the numerous threats facing America and the global community. Brown and his supporters provide a sobering and informative assessment of the prospects for peace in the 21st century.

The genre surrounding nuclear weapons, proliferation, and arms control has recently experienced a rebirth, mainly due to the Bush Administration’s renewed call for the development of tactical nuclear weapons and initiatives to find alternative energy sources. A major contribution to a better understanding of nuclear power and nonproliferation is a recently released book sponsored by the Nuclear Control Institute (NCI), a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization monitoring worldwide nuclear activities. Three of the institute’s members, Paul Leventhal, Sharon Tanzer, and Steven Dolley, have edited an insightful series of presentations from a 2001 conference that recognized the institute’s 20th anniversary. Nuclear Power and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons: Can We Have One Without the Other? (Brassey’s, 2002) documents the views of some of the world’s foremost experts on the relationship between nuclear power and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Contributors warn that in our rush to solve the world’s energy demands, we may be naively ignoring larger issues and dangers that an increased reliance on nuclear energy brings. The reader is presented with a series of articles evaluating everything from proliferation risks to proposals for viable alternative energy sources. This is a must read for anyone associated with, or interested in, the development of America’s energy strategy.

The casual reader often ignores manuscripts dealing with arms control, nuclear policy, disarmament, and nonproliferation, mainly due, in this humble editor’s opinion, to the esoteric nature of the literature. Jeffrey A. Larsen overcomes this impediment in his collection of superior manuscripts analyzing the history and future of arms control and disarmament. Going well beyond the ideological and traditional disputes over terminology, Arms Control: Cooperative Security in a Changing Envi-

147/48

ronment (Lynne Rienner, 2002) provides readers with revolutionary insight into the convergence of thought from the worlds of academe and the professional military related to arms control. The contributors, in what may well become a seminal work on the subject, present a varied, revealing historical perspective along with a futuristic view of the roles that arms control and disarmament play in the national and international security environment. Perhaps it is the quality of contributors or the excellent balance of thought that makes Larsen’s work so valuable—one cannot be certain. What is important, however, is that this book be found on the shelves of all those with an interest in the theory, development, and exercise of the policies and actions associated with arms control and disarmament.

America’s recent preoccupation with the “Axis of Evil” has caused many to forget or overlook one of the most potentially volatile regions on earth, Pakistan. Ahmad Faruqui attempts to correct this oversight in Rethinking the National Security of Pakistan: The Price of Strategic Myopia (Ashgate Publishing Company, 2003). The inspiration for Faruqui’s work was the 1999 clash between India and Pakistan on the icy heights of Kargil in Kashmir. The author, whose parents emigrated from India to Pakistan, realized the continuing clashes between these competing powers would certainly lead to a military-dominated government in Pakistan. Faruqui has written a lucid and poignant account of Pakistan’s strategic situation, including an integrated model for national security that emphasizes military and nonmilitary deterrents. His in-depth knowledge of the region, combined with exceptional scholarly research, provides a perspective on Pakistan’s “strategic culture” unequalled in contemporary literature.

Regionalists and Koreaphiles will appreciate the latest offering in Texas A&M University’s Military History Series. James V. Young’s Eye on Korea: An Insider Account of Korean-American Relations (Texas A&M University Press, 2003) is based on the author’s 20 years of military experience in Asia, and specifically his 14 years in Korea. The author has provided an entertaining and revealing memoir examining major historical and contemporary events. Young’s anecdotes and insights depict a Korea many have never known. Truly one of the military’s first area specialists, the author has written what may be the best book on contemporary Korean-American diplomatic and military relations. From the tree-cutting incident of 1976 to recent diplomatic and business negotiations with North Korea, Young provides a unique understanding of what lies in store for future US-Korean relations. Anyone with an interest in the region, the issues, and modern-day Korea will value this book.

Military literature can be one of the most exciting and rewarding of all genres. Military film provides the additional benefit of entertainment. Frank McAdams, an adjunct professor of cinema and television at the University of Southern California, has written an extensive analysis of the contribution made by the “war film” to US military and world history. The American War Film: History and Hollywood (Praeger, 2002) examines the role the war film plays in reflecting and developing trends in social and military history, along with its use as a tool of propagandists. The natural tension between patriotism and propaganda on the one hand, and those who were sincerely trying to depict war as they came to know it, makes for a fascinating read. All students and scholars of both war and film will appreciate this marvelously informative and entertaining survey of the war film and its role in American history. — RHT   


Go to Winter issue Table of Contents.

Go to Parameters home page.

Reviewed 24 November 2003. Please send comments or corrections to usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil