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How Democracies Lose Small Wars

How Democracies Lose Small Wars
State, Society, and the Failures of France in Algeria, Israel in Lebanon, and the United States in Vietnam

AUD$51.95

  • Date Published: November 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521008778

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  • In this 2003 book, Gil Merom argues that modern democracies fail in insurgency wars because they are unable to find a winning balance between expedient and moral tolerance to the costs of war. Small wars, he argues, are lost at home when a critical minority mass shifts the center of gravity from the battlefield to the market place of ideas. Merom analyzes the role of brutality in counterinsurgency, the historical foundations of moral and expedient opposition to war, and the actions states traditionally took in order to preserve foreign policy autonomy. He then discusses the elements of the process that led to the failure of France in Algeria and Israel in Lebanon. In the conclusion, Merom considers the Vietnam War and the influence failed small wars had on Western war-making and military intervention.

    • A critical analysis of the impact of domestic criticism about the war
    • An explanation of the paradox of ineffective military superiority
    • A unique historical, theoretical, and comparative account of the foundations of Western military intervention
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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521008778
    • length: 310 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 16 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Military superiority and victory in small wars: historical observations
    3. The structural original of defiance: the middle-class, the marketplace of ideas, and the normative gap
    4. The structural origins of tenacity: national alignment and compartmentalization
    5. The French war in Algeria: a strategic, political, and economic overview
    6. French instrumental dependence and its consequences
    7. The development of a normative difference in France and its consequences
    8. The French struggle to contain the growth of the normative gap and the rise of the 'democratic agenda'
    9. Political relevance and its consequences in France
    10. The Israeli war in Lebanon: a strategic, political, and economic overview
    11. Israeli instrumental dependence and its consequences
    12. The development of a normative difference in Israel and its consequences
    13. The Israeli struggle to contain the growth of the normative gap and the rise of the 'democratic agenda'
    14. Political relevance and its consequences in Israel.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Modern American Military History
  • Author

    Gil Merom, Tel-Aviv University

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