How can you achieve victory in war if you don't have a clear idea of your political objectives and a vision of what victory means? In this provocative challenge to US policy and strategy, Donald Stoker argues that America endures endless wars because its leaders no longer know how to think about war, particularly limited wars. He reveals how ideas on limited war and war in general evolved against the backdrop of American conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. These ideas, he shows, were flawed and have undermined America's ability to understand, wage, and win its wars, and to secure peace afterwards. America's leaders have too often taken the nation to war without understanding what they want or valuing victory, leading to the 'forever wars' of today. Why America Loses Wars dismantles seventy years of misguided thinking and lays the foundations for a new approach to the wars of tomorrow.
Reveals why America fails to win wars or secure peace afterwards
Demonstrates that current flawed ideas of limited war have led to America's defeats and 'forever wars'
Replaces existing Cold War and post-Cold War theories on limited war with more realistic concepts
Donald Stoker was Professor of Strategy and Policy for the US Naval War College's Monterey Program at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, from 1999 until 2017. The author or editor of eleven books, his Clausewitz: His Life and Work (2014), is on the British Army professional reading list.
1. Are we at war? What do we want? And do we want to win?
2. The way we think about war (particularly limited war) is broken: here is how we fix it
3. The political objective: why nations fight (limited) wars
4. Constraints: or why wars for limited aims are so difficult
5. Strategy: how to think about fighting for a limited political objective
6. And you thought the war was hard: ending the war and securing the peace
Conclusion: is history rhyming?