Secret Wars: Covert Conflict in International Politics, Austin Carson

Erik J. Dahl
Content Type
Journal Article
Political Science Quarterly
Issue Number
Publication Date
Fall 2020
Academy of Political Science
In this valuable new book, Austin Carson examines the phenomenon of covert military intervention, which he defines as occurring when an external major power secretly provides military assistance during war. Carson argues that such interventions are more common than might be expected and that they often lead to a puzzling dynamic, whereby an adversary detects the intervention but does not publicize it. Carson’s use of the term “covert” follows the conventional definition of government activities designed to conceal the actor’s role in that activity, but by focusing on covert military intervention, he is studying a phenomenon different from “covert action,” which in the American context usually refers to activities undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agency, rather than by military forces. This book is therefore a complement to other works on covert action, including Lindsey A. O’Rourke’s recent Covert Regime Change: America’s Secret Cold War.
Military Intervention, Book Review, Conflict, Political Science
Political Geography
Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, United States of America