THE FUTURE OF WAR by George Friedman


Power, Technology, and American World Dominance in the 21st Century
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 From those wonderful folks who brought you The Coming War with Japan (1991), another arresting, thoughtful, and closely reasoned appreciation of how and by whom armed conflicts might be successfully conducted in the post-millennial era. Persuasively dismissing the beguiling notion that global interdependence, economic or otherwise, has made war unthinkable, the Friedmans (who run the GPA Strategic Forecasting Group, a corporate intelligence service) assume that the days of shooting irons (artillery, machine guns, mortars, rifles, et al.), which ruled the world's battlefields for over five centuries, are numbered. As the final stages of Desert Storm made clear, they assert, precision ordnance (directed by lasers or other advanced means) is supplanting ballistic firearms. The advent of so-called smart bombs and missiles, the authors point out, has made a wealth of inordinately expensive weapons systems obsolete by making them unacceptably vulnerable to assault; cases in point range from manned fighter planes crammed with avionics through aircraft carriers and tanks. Nor, the authors maintain, do nuclear capabilities loom large in the strategic scheme of things, other than as a deterrent against other countries' nuclear arsenals. Accordingly, the Friedmans conclude, the key to military domination in the 21st century will be conventional ordnance precisely applied, and the willingness to use it. With unrivaled command of computer, guidance munitions, radar satellite, and sensing technologies, they argue, the US is in the strongest position to seize the high ground of space (for use not only as a reconnaissance site but also as a launching pad) and achieve a capacity to engage in remote-control warfare in which pilotless vehicles deliver explosives at hypersonic speeds and with deadly accuracy to enemy targets anywhere on earth. Provocative, accessible perspectives on the long history of war and on a new world of belligerency whose convincingly documented emergence could give pause to prophets of Western decline.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-517-70403-X
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1996


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