Beyond victory and defeat

Scott Sigmund Gartner, Leo Blanken

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


In the post-cold war world the United States reigns militarily supreme, in terms of traditional measures of power. It is vital for American decision makers, however, to recognize the long-term and total costs of wars against weak states, and not to be deluded by their seemingly low initial costs. The ability to use force represents a fundamentally different concept from the need to use force. Decision makers need to be cautious when contemplating projecting force, especially the deployment of troops, into peripheral conflicts. This caution should include recognition that determining the complete costs of a conflict is challenging, especially when the opposing state is weak. Decision makers would do well to keep in mind that defeating a weak state is cheap and easy; transforming it into a stable ally is costly and hard.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAfghan Endgames
Subtitle of host publicationStrategy and Policy Choices for America's Longest War
PublisherGeorgetown University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9781589019089
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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