Things Fall Apart: Containing the Spillover from an Iraqi Civil War

Author
James J. Wirtz
Content Type
Journal Article
Journal
Political Science Quarterly
Volume
123
Issue Number
1
Publication Date
Spring 2008
Institution
Academy of Political Science
Abstract
Although officers and officials might be forgiven for hoping for the best when it comes to military strategy and diplomacy, they must plan for the worst. Some policymakers, however, have forgotten this simple idea behind prudent planning. It might be defeatist to base one's strategy on the worst-case contingency, but military strategists and diplomats alike should be prepared for some setbacks by not assuming that all the “breaks” will fall their way. Leaders who deliberately choose war probably underestimate its costs and risks, but realists understand that optimistic political rhetoric will fade once battle is joined.
Topic
War
Political Geography
United States, Yugoslavia