Waging War: Alliances, Coalitions, and Institutions of Interstate Violence

By Patricia A. Weitsman | Go to book overview

1
INTRODUCTION

EVEN AS U.S. HEGEMONY reached its zenith in the late 1980s, the alarm of American decline was sounded in many influential circles. The volume of this alarm has grown in recent years, with the collapse of the financial system in 2008 and the rising economic power of China in the past decade. The declinist arguments pervading scholarly and policy-making circles focus a great deal on the economic components of U.S. power. Yet comparisons of economic or even military capabilities worldwide fail to account for the institutional dimension. Contemporary coalition warfare reveals that U.S. military might remains unrivaled and will be difficult for any other great power to match for some time to come. This has to do with the institutions of violence—not just with the technology, capability, and level of professionalism and training of the U.S. military, although these are essential ingredients of American hegemony as well.

Military alliances provide constraints and opportunities for states seeking to advance their interests around the globe. The two decades following the end of the Cold War are instructive in this regard. The active engagement of the United States and its partners in many corners of the world illustrates the distinctive nature of waging war in the contemporary age. War, from the Western perspective, is no longer—not that it ever was—a solitary endeavor. Partnerships of all types serve as a foundation for the projection of power and the employment of force. These relationships among states provide the foundation upon which hegemony is built.

The institutions of violence that promote U.S. interests include the web of military alliances that the United States has constructed worldwide. They include the coalitions that the United States culls in the face of crises. In addition,

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Waging War: Alliances, Coalitions, and Institutions of Interstate Violence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Acronyms xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Fighting with Friends 14
  • 3 - Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield 48
  • 4 - Operation Allied Force 74
  • 5 - Operation Enduring Freedom and the International Security Assistance Force 99
  • 6 - Operation Iraqi Freedom and the War in Iraq 132
  • 7 - Operations Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector 164
  • 8 - Conclusion 188
  • Notes 199
  • Index 265
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