Between Threat and War: U.S. Discrete Military Operations in the Post-Cold War Period.

Author:O'Sullivan, Curtis H.
Position:Book review
 
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Between Threat and War: U.S. Discrete Military Operations in the Post-Cold War Period. By Micah Zenko. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2010. Maps. Illustrations. Notes. Appendices. Index. Pp.xii, 228. $14.00 paperback ISBN: 978-0-8047-7191-7

Despite the War Powers Resolution of 1973, the U.S. under the so-called Presidential authorization, has continued to engage in various levels of military operation without Congressional approval. When there are foreign threats that can't be resolved by economic or political measures, the country's leaders resort to military force. This book uses the term "discrete military operation" (DMO). The word "discrete" could be confused with "discreet," but is clearly used here in the sense of being distinct, separate, or apart.

Zenko has identified thirty-six DMOs between 1991 and 2009, and fourteen cases of non-use. Though he names only three of the latter, there were probably many more times when a military option was considered at the highest levels. Some were not adopted because a decision was reached of non-feasibility due to such things as the loss of surprise--often because of media leaks. All these overlap with another bucket of worms, covert operations by the CIA, which may never be reported.

The main part of the book is four case studies of DMOs that explore...

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