cover image Winning the War on War: The Decline of Armed Conflict Worldwide

Winning the War on War: The Decline of Armed Conflict Worldwide

Joshua S. Goldstein. Dutton, $26.95 (400p) ISBN 9780525952534

American University professor and international relations expert Goldstein argues that military conflicts are on the retreat globally. Using analysis and statistics, he rebuts the claim that the 20th century was among the bloodiest in human history, that civilian casualties in warfare have been increasing as a proportion of total casualties, along with violence against women, and that the number of wars being fought has been increasing since World War II. Goldstein contends that peace is a worthwhile objective for its own sake, even without other causes, such as social justice or economic reform. Goldstein reviews the history and development of U.N. peace keeping operations from their inception under Ralph Bunche and Count Bernadotte in Palestine, and while surveying the world's ongoing armed struggles, he presents leading peace research institutes (such as the one in Uppsala, Sweden) and researchers (such as the late Randy Forsberg on nuclear weapons). In addition, he reveals the flawed nature of casualty estimates based on epidemiological models that were employed for the Congo and Iraq. The result is an optimistic, if controversial, assessment by a respected anti-war advocate. (Sept.)