The Future of War

George Friedman, Author, Friedman, Author, Meredith Friedman, Author St. Martin's Griffin $18.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-312-18100-0
The Friedmans are geostrategic optimists. The next century, they argue, will be the American century--not from any economic, diplomatic or moral achievements, but because of a revolution in warmaking. According to the Friedmans, who operate a business intelligence firm, technology--specifically that of precise-guided munitions (PGMs)--is creating a revolution as fundamental as that inaugurated by gunpowder. The authors establish their case by concentrating on the ""senility"" of major ""traditional"" weapons systems (tanks, aircraft carriers, manned aircraft) when confronted with weapons ""that can, in some sense, think."" The U.S. possesses the knowledge and the resource base to take advantage of a form of warfare that will eventually, they say, reduce costs not only in money, but also in the lives Americans are increasingly reluctant to sacrifice. The Friedmans advocate in particular the extension of weapons and control systems into outer space. Their book is more convincing as history than as prognostication, however. The authors make strong complementary cases for the technical vulnerability of high-cost, high-profile weapons and for the tendency of those weapons to exceed the physical and psychological capacities of their human operators. Their emphasis on technology takes too little account of the complex spectrum of nonmaterial factors that are increasingly recognized as critical to shaping ""revolutions in human affairs."" The concept of a paradigm shift in conducting wars based on PGMs is a useful tool, but one requiring careful examination and critical review that seems beyond the scope of the advocacy to be found here. Author tour. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/16/1998
Release date: 02/01/1998
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 978-0-609-80215-1
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