The calculus of the 1990s sought not to balance effort to interest; rather, it postulated that, absent a central focus, the American people will not abide a fight for principles—especially abstract principles of international order. As former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger reflected on his tenure—at the height of the siege of Sarajevo in the mid-1990s:
If the Soviet Union still existed…I would have told you we should have been in there with both feet…. In a world where we are no longer at sword points with the Soviet Union, the decisions the U.S. has to make with regard to when it will intervene…are much more difficult and always—I don’t know how else to say this—always will depend on our judgment on what the American people are prepared to tolerate. In that sense, Vietnam never goes away. 1
The demands of military writers in the 1990s that policy makers deliver crisp objectives and absolute deadlines stem from an urge that, as long ago as Clausewitz, could be recognized as a canard. The military held that matters regarding force were becoming too technical for the hoary Clausewitzian symbiosis between war and policy making to still appertain. 2 Thus, contemporary Pentagon planners insisted that “military power should be used only when there are clear-cut military objectives,” “end points,” and “exit strategies.”
Even when political objectives might be clear enough, when military objectives seemed too fuzzy, force was precluded unless and until, as General Powell insisted, “we can measure [how] the military objective has been achieved.” 3
The constitutional implications of the near veto the American military
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Publication information: Book title: Soldiers, Statecraft, and History:Coercive Diplomacy and International Order. Contributors: James A. Nathan - Author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2002. Page number: 157.
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