This proposal for a radically different US defense posture will not soon convert official Washington, but it nonetheless deserves to be heard. Klare (Peace and World Security Studies/Hampshire College; American Arms Supermarket, 1985, etc.) is defense correspondent for the Nation and a well-known critic of the military establishment. Unsurprisingly, his book suffers a bit from the assumption that the Pentagon can do no right or good. More surprisingly, considering the author's success as a military popularizer, this particular book is not laid out in a way that will grab many readers. It begins with the reformulation of US defense policy in the Bush administration under the leadership of Colin Powell as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and proceeds to Desert Storm. Only about halfway through the book does Klare hit his main theme: the current tendency in Washington to focus on certain Third World states as the major new threats to US security. What the patient reader will find, however, is a lucid account of an increasingly glaring disparity between official military doctrine and the actual state of the world. Geared primarily to fight two simultaneous wars in Third World situations, the Pentagon is ill equipped, as Klare sees it, to cope with an increasingly chaotic world afflicted by ethnic and sectarian strife and mass human migrations from disintegrating states. Moreover, ``the Pentagon's policy of identifying certain Third World states as possible enemies may have inspired a certain bravado of the `David and Goliath' variety on the part of these nations' leaders, leading them to eschew compromise and engage in high-risk behavior.'' Iraq, Iran, and North Korea are examples. If there is a major flaw in this unexciting but very sensible book, it is its failure to address the possibility of a renewed security threat from a Russia attempting to recover control of the former Soviet empire.
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