Reading List (pdf)
ANDREW BACEVICH, The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced By War, Oxford University Press, 2005
In this provocative new book, Andrew Bacevich warns of a dangerous dual obsession that has taken hold of Americans, conservatives and liberals alike. It is a marriage of militarism and utopian ideology of unprecedented military might wed to a blind faith in the universality of American values. This perilous union, Bacevich argues, commits Americans to a futile enterprise, turning the US into a crusader state with a self-proclaimed mission of driving history to its final destination: the world-wide embrace of the American way of life. This mindset invites endless war and the ever-deepening militarization of US policy. It promises not to perfect but to pervert American ideals and to accelerate the hollowing out of American democracy. As it alienates others, it will leave the United States increasingly isolated. It will end in bankruptcy, moral as well as economic, and in abject failure. The New American Militarism examines the origins and implications of this misguided enterprise. The author shows how American militarism emerged as a reaction to the Vietnam War. Various groups in American society soldiers, politicians on the make, intellectuals, strategists, Christian evangelicals, even purveyors of pop culture came to see the revival of military power and the celebration of military values as the antidote to all the ills besetting the country as a consequence of Vietnam and the 1960s. The upshot, acutely evident in the aftermath of 9/11, has been a revival of vast ambitions and certainty, this time married to a pronounced affinity for the sword. Bacevich urges us to restore a sense of realism and a sense of proportion to US policy. He proposes, in short, to bring American purposes and American methods especially with regard to the role of the military back into harmony with the nation's founding ideals.
ALAN BOROVOY, When Freedoms Collide: The Case for Our Civil Liberties, Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1998.
A wide-ranging book on civil liberties in Canada, by a general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
ANDREW COHEN, While Canada Slept, McClelland and Stewart, 2003.
With 9/11 and the international war on terrorism, the time has come to ask some hard questions. Should we continue to starve our military, reduce our humanitarian assistance, dilute our diplomacy, and absent ourselves from global intelligence-gathering? Can we expect to sit at the global table by virtue of our economic power without pursuing a foreign policy worthy of our history, geography, and diversity?
ROBERT COOPER, The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the 21st Century, McClelland and Stewart, 2005.
Robert Cooper sets out his radical interpretation of our new international order. He argues that there are now three types of state: lawless pre-modern states; modern states that are fiercely protective of their sovereignty; and post-modern states such as those that operate on the basis of openness, law, and mutual security. The United States has yet to decide whether to embrace the post-modern world of interdependence, or pursue unilateralism and power politics. Cooper shows that the greatest question facing our post-modern nations is how to deal with a world in which missiles and terrorists ignore borders and where Cold War alliances no longer guarantee security. When dealing with a hostile outside enemy, should civilized countries revert to tougher methods from an earlier era force, preemptive attack, deception in order to safeguard peaceful coexistence throughout the civilized world?
ROMEO DALLAIRE, Shake Hands with the Devil, Random House of Canada, 2004.
Digging deep into shattering memories, General Dallaire has written a powerful story of betrayal, naïveté, racism and international politics. His message is simple and undeniable: Never again.
When Lt-Gen. Roméo Dallaire received the call to serve as force commander of the UN intervention in Rwanda in 1993, he thought he was heading off on a modest and straightforward peacekeeping mission. Thirteen months later he flew home from Africa, broken, disillusioned and suicidal, having witnessed the slaughter of 800,000 Rwandans in only a hundred days. In Shake Hands with the Devil, he takes the reader with him on a return voyage into the hell of Rwanda, vividly recreating the events the international community turned its back on. Woven through the story of this disastrous mission is Dallaires own journey from confident Cold Warrior, to devastated UN commander, to retired general engaged in a painful struggle to find a measure of peace, reconciliation and hope. This book is General Dallaires personal account of his conversion from a man certain of his worth and secure in his assumptions to a man conscious of his own weaknesses and failures and critical of the institutions hed relied on. It might not sit easily with standard ideas of military leadership, but understanding what happened to General Dallaire and his mission to Rwanda is crucial to understanding the moral minefields our peacekeepers are forced to negotiate when we ask them to step into the worlds dirty wars.
GWYNNE DYER, War, Random House of Canada, 2004.
A new and revised edition of Dyers classic book, widely regarded as one of the most compelling analyses of the history of armed conflict. Gwynne Dyer traces the growth of organized warfare through history, showing conclusively that the basic tenet has remained unchanged war is an act of mass violence applied against an enemy so that he will do what you want him to do. The only real change has been technological, permitting us to make war on a mass scale.
At the height of the Cold War, just such a global conflagration seemed almost inevitable. But the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the ensuing political changes have forced a re-examination of the accepted fundamentals of history. Will open access to the channels of mass communication create enough shared values that we can move beyond mass warfare? Is the threat of terrorism a red herring designed to preserve the military status quo? Are our traditional military and administrative hierarchical structures still relevant?
PETER EDWARDS, One Dead Indian: The Premier, the Police and the Ipperwash Crisis, Stoddart, 2001.
On September 4, 1995, several Stoney Point Natives entered Ipperwash Provincial Park, near Sarnia, Ontario, and began a peaceful protest aimed at reclaiming a traditional burial ground. Within 72 hours, one of those protestors, Anthony (Dudley) George, was dead, shot by an OPP officer wielding a submachine gun. Now, after six years of relentless research, investigative journalist Peter Edwards examines the circumstances surrounding Georges death and asks a number of tough questions bringing the case right up to the present.
NIALL FERGUSON, Colossus, Penguin, March 2005
Criticism of the U.S. government's imperialist tendencies has become nearly ubiquitous since the invasion of Iraq began nearly a year ago, but Ferguson would like America to embrace its imperial character. Just as in his previous book, Empire, he argued that the British Empire had done much good, he now suggests that many parts of the world would benefit from a period of American rule, as stability and a lack of corruption that could be brought by liberal imperial government would result in capital investment and growth. Similarly, he says, the British Empire acted as an engine for the integration of international capital markets. The problems nations like India faced after the British left, he continues, could have been ameliorated if the colonization had been more comprehensive, more securely establishing the types of institutions that foster long-term prosperity. The primary shortcoming of America's approach to empire, Ferguson believes, is that it prefers in-and-out military flourishes to staying in for the long haul. His criticism of Americans as a people who like social security more than they like national security and refuse to confront impending economic disaster are withering, but he also has sharp comments for those who imagine a unified Europe rising up to confront America and for the way France tried to block the Iraqi invasion. The erudite and often statistical argument has occasional flashes of wit and may compel liberals to rethink their opposition to intervention, even as it castigates conservatives for their lackluster commitment to nation building.
NIALL FERGUSON, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power, Zondervan Publishing House, March 2003.
Niall Ferguson's compelling tour de force, Empire, was published to coincide with a British TV series. Ferguson does not so much provide a synoptic survey of the British empire since the 17th century, as an arresting argument about why it arose, and how it fell. Ferguson's emphasis throughout is on the pursuit of economic profit and military might.
Piracy overseas and a taste for sugar and spice at home combined with an unerring ability to vanquish rival European powers, such as the Dutch and French, in the dash for stash and status across the globe. But Ferguson is also alive to the peculiarities of British dominion: the manly and Christian civil service, less than a thousand strong who ruled India; missionaries such as Livingstone, who explored and mapped as they preached; and the barons of empire Rhodes, Curzon, and Kitchener who found in empire an outlet for their homoeroticism.
CHRIS PAUL GIANNOU, Besieged: A Doctors Story of Life and Death in Beirut, Dimensions, 1991.
Giannou, a Canadian surgeon and self-described PLO member, garnered media attention in 1982 when he claimed to have witnessed atrocities by the Israeli Defence Forces (a claim that the IDF has refuted) during their military action in southern Lebanon while he was working at a PLO-run hospital. Now he offers an admittedly partisan and simplified account of his later years at a Palestine Red Crescent facility in Beirut's Shatila refugee camp, which was under siege between 1985 and 1988 by warring Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian factions. Giannou did not function as an outsider providing medical services: he also arranged secret gatherings among leaders of various PLO factions under hospital cover. In 1988 Giannou returned to Canada after realizing that he had gotten lost in his passion and had become inefficient as a doctor.
CHRIS HEDGES, War is a Force that Gives us Meaning, Anchor, 2003.
As a veteran war correspondent, Chris Hedges has survived ambushes in Central America, imprisonment in Sudan, and a beating by Saudi military police. He has seen children murdered for sport in Gaza and petty thugs elevated into war heroes in the Balkans. Hedges, who is also a former divinity student, has seen war at its worst and knows too well that to those who pass through it, war can be exhilarating and even addictive: It gives us purpose, meaning, a reason for living. Drawing on his own experience and on the literature of combat from Homer to Michael Herr, Hedges shows how war seduces not just those on the front lines but entire societies, corrupting politics, destroying culture, and perverting the most basic human desires.
MICHAEL IGNATIEFF, The Lesser Evil: Hard Choices in a War on Terror, Princeton University Press, 2004.
Michael Ignatieff argues that we must not shrink from the use of violence that far from undermining liberal democracy, force can be necessary for its survival. But its use must be measured, not a program of torture and revenge. And we must not fool ourselves that whatever we do in the name of freedom and democracy is good. We may need to kill to fight the greater evil of terrorism, but we must never pretend that doing so is anything better than a lesser evil.
In making this case, Ignatieff traces the modern history of terrorism and counter-terrorism, from the nihilists of Czarist Russia and the militias of Weimar Germany to the IRA and the unprecedented menace of Al Qaeda, with its suicidal agents bent on mass destruction. He shows how the most potent response to terror has been force, decisive and direct, but, just as important, restrained. The public scrutiny and political ethics that motivate restraint also give democracy its strongest weapon: the moral power to endure when the furies of vengeance and hatred are spent. The book is based on the Gifford Lectures delivered at the University of Edinburgh in 2003.
ROBERT KAPLAN, Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History, Picador 2005
From the assassination that triggered World War I to the ethnic warfare in Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia, the Balkans have been the crucible of the twentieth century, the place where terrorism and genocide first became tools of policy. The book was chosen as one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times, and greeted with critical acclaim as the most insightful and timely work on the Balkans to date (The Boston Globe). This new edition includes six opinion pieces written by Robert Kaplan about the Balkans between l996 and 2000 beginning just after the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords and ending after the conclusion of the Kosovo war, with the removal of Slobodan Milosevic from power
JOHN KEEGAN, Intelligence in War: Knowledge of the Enemy from Napoleon to Al-Quaeda, Key Porter, 2003.
Keegans book is a new history of war through the prism of intelligence. He brings to life the split-second decisions that went into waging war before the benefit of aerial surveillance and electronic communications. In the past century, espionage and decryption have changed the face of battle: the Japanese surprise attack at the Battle of Midway was thwarted by an early warning. Timely information, however, is only the beginning of the surprising and disturbing aspects of decisions that are made in war, where brute force is often more critical.
RICHARD KOENIGSBERG, Dying for Ones Country: The Logic of War and Genocide
Available at http://home.earthlink.net/~libraryofsocialscience/dying_for.htm.
LEWIS MacKENZIE, Peacekeeper: The Road to Sarajevo, Douglas & McIntyre, 1993.
Against the daily drama of shelling, sabotage, murder and shameless propaganda motivated by ethnic hatreds, Canadian Major-General Lewis MacKenzies adventures in Sarajevo read like a war novel except that it is all tragically true. In this memoir, MacKenzie describes how he created Sector Sarajevo, and with a 30-nation UN force set out to liberate the airport to receive desperately needed food and medical supplies. MacKenzies outstanding and unorthodox leadership catapulted him to the status of an international celebrity, as he used the media the only weapon I had to maximum advantage. MacKenzie also recounts the often bizarre highlights of eight previous peacekeeping tours in the Middle East, Cyprus and Vietnam. From bluffing his way through the Turkish-Cypriot lines to boisterous forays into Saigons netherworld; from basketball in the Gaza Strip to dodging sniper fire in Sarajevo; from daring diplomatic improvisations to bluntly outspoken criticisms of the UN bureaucracy: here is a veteran peacekeepers frank, funny and unforgettable story.
MARGARET McMILLAN, Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World, Random House, 2002.
Between January and July 1919, after the war to end all wars, men and women from around the world converged on Paris to shape the peace. Center stage, for the first time in history, was an American president, Woodrow Wilson, who with his Fourteen Points seemed to promise to so many people the fulfillment of their dreams. Stern, intransigent, impatient when it came to security concerns and wildly idealistic in his dream of a League of Nations that would resolve all future conflict peacefully, Wilson is only one of the larger-than-life characters who fill the pages of this extraordinary book. David Lloyd George, the gregarious and wily British prime minister, brought Winston Churchill and John Maynard Keynes. Lawrence of Arabia joined the Arab delegation. Ho Chi Minh, a kitchen assistant at the Ritz, submitted a petition for an independent Vietnam.
For six months, Paris was effectively the center of the world as the peacemakers carved up bankrupt empires and created new countries. This book brings to life the personalities, ideals, and prejudices of the men who shaped the settlement. They pushed Russia to the sidelines, alienated China, and dismissed the Arabs. They struggled with the problems of Kosovo, of the Kurds, and of a homeland for the Jews.
The peacemakers, so it has been said, failed dismally; above all they failed to prevent another war. Margaret MacMillan argues that they have unfairly been made the scapegoats for the mistakes of those who came later. She refutes received ideas about the path from Versailles to World War II and debunks the widely accepted notion that reparations imposed on the Germans were in large part responsible for the Second World War.
ACHILLE MBEMBE, On the Postcolony, University of California Press, 2001.
In On the Postcolony, Mbembe profoundly renews our understanding of power and subjectivity in Africa. In a series of provocative essays, Mbembe contests diehard Africanist and nativist perspectives as well as some of the key assumptions of postcolonial theory. This collection of essays develops and extends Mbembes notion of the banality of power in contemporary Africa. Mbembe reinterprets the meanings of death, utopia, and the divine libido as part of the new theoretical perspectives he offers on the constitution of power.
MICHAEL MOORE, Bowling for Columbine, Film (2002)
ERROL MORRIS, The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara, Film (2003).
NATIONAL FILM BOARD, The Origins of Human Aggression: The Other Story. Documentary (pdf)
JOSEPH NYE, Soft Power: The Key To Success in World Politics, Public Affairs, 2004
What must the United States do to remain the global superpower and stop alienating the rest of the world? The author of the bestselling The Paradox of American Power has one clear answer: soft power.
SAMANTHA POWERS, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, Perseus Books, 2003.
A character-driven study of some of the darkest moments in our national history, when America failed to prevent or stop 20th-century campaigns to exterminate Armenians, Jews, Cambodians, Iraqi Kurds, Bosnians, and Rwandans. Drawing upon declassified cables, private papers, exclusive interviews with Washington's top policy-makers, and her own reporting from the modern killing fields, Samantha Power tells the story of American indifference and American courage in the face of the worst massacres of the twentieth century.
In this masterful work of social history, Power examines how, in the five decades since the Holocaust, Americans have very rarely marshaled their might to stop genocide and mass terror. Indeed, she shows how the U.S. response to recent genocides bears striking resemblance to the American response to reports of Hitler's Final Solution. By paying particular attention to the last thirty years of world carnage, which coincided with the growth of Holocaust awareness in the United States, Power dissects how the historical memory of the Holocaust can co-exist with an American diplomatic and military policy of non-engagement that has resulted in the loss of millions of lives.
CLYDE PRESTOWITZ, Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions, Basic Books, 2003.
As the worldwide outpouring of post-9/11 sympathy for America has given way to worldwide anti-American protests, Americans are asking why the world hates them. This nuanced but unsparing book gives a bill of particulars. American high-handedness has exacerbated tensions in hot spots from the West Bank to the Korean peninsula. American unilateralism has sabotaged a host of international agreements on such issues as land mines, biological weapons and the International Criminal Court. America preaches free trade while protecting its steel, textiles and agriculture from foreign competition. America, Atkins argues, runs a wasteful, SUV-centered economy while it rejects treaties on the environment and global warming. America's self-proclaimed role as champion of democracy flies in the face of its history of installing and supporting dictators in countries from Indonesia to Iraq. Most of all, Atkins says, the world fears America's overwhelming military might, now ominously paired with a doctrine of preempting the emergence of rival powers. These problems have been much discussed of late, but Prestowitz, author of Trading Places, pulls them together into a comprehensive and historically informed survey of contemporary U.S. foreign relations. Although he forthrightly calls the United States an imperial power, Prestowitz, a former Reagan Administration trade official, is by no means anti-American. He insists that America's intentions are usually good, and that the world likes and admires Americans when they live up to their own ideals. Still, his is a damning portrait of the United States as seen through the angry, bewildered eyes of foreigners: selfish, erratic, hypocritical, muscle-bound and a bad citizen of the world.
DAVID RIEFF, Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West, Simon & Schuster, 1996.
In a shocking and deeply disturbing tour de force, David Rieff, reporting from the Bosnia war zone and from Western capitals and United Nations headquarters, indicts the West and the United Nations for standing by and doing nothing to stop the genocide of the Bosnian Muslims. Slaughterhouse is the definitive explanation of a war that will be remembered as the greatest failure of Western diplomacy since the 1930s.
Bosnia was more than a human tragedy. It was the emblem of the international community's failure and confusion in the post-Cold War era. In Bosnia, genocide and ethnic fascism reappeared in Europe for the first time in fifty years. But there was no will to confront them, either on the part of the United States, Western Europe, or the United Nations, for which the Bosnian experience was as catastrophic and demoralizing as Vietnam was for the United States. It is the failure and its implications that Rieff anatomizes in this unforgiving account of a war that might have been prevented and could have been stopped.
DAVID RIEFF, A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis, Simon & Schuster, 2003.
Named by the Los Angeles Times Book Review as one of the ten best nonfiction books of 2002, A Bed for the Night reveals how humanitarian organizations trying to bring relief are often betrayed and misused, and have increasingly lost sight of their purpose. Drawing on firsthand reporting from hot war zones around the world Bosnia, Rwanda, Congo, Kosovo, Sudan, and most recently Afghanistan David Rieff shows us what humanitarian aid workers do in the field and the growing gap between their noble ambitions and their actual capabilities to alleviate suffering. Tracing the origins of major humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and CARE, he describes how many of them have moved from their founding principle of neutrality, which gave them access to victims, to encouraging the international community to take action to stop civil wars and ethnic cleansing. Rieff demonstrates how this advocacy has come at a high price. By overreaching, the humanitarian movement has allowed itself to be hijacked by the major powers, sometimes to become a fig leaf for actions that those powers take in their own national interests, as in Afghanistan, sometimes for their inaction, as in Bosnia and Rwanda. With the exception of cases of genocide, where the moral imperative to act overrides all other considerations, Rieff contends that if humanitarian organizations are to continue doing what they do best alleviating suffering they must remain independent.
RICHARD TREMBLAY, The development of aggressive behavior during childhood: What have we learned in the past century? International Journal of Behavioral Development (2000), pgs 24(2), 129-141. Richard Tremblay (ed), Willard W. Hartup (ed), John Archer (ed), Developmental Origins of Aggression, Gullford Publications, 2005
While aggression is often conceived as a learned behavior that peaks during adolescence, this important volume shows that aggressive behaviors have their origins in early childhood and even infancy. Findings from major longitudinal research programs are used to illuminate the processes by which most children learn alternatives to physical aggression as they grow older, while a minority become increasingly violent. The developmental trajectories of proactive, reactive, and indirect aggression are reviewed, as are lessons learned from animal studies. Bringing together the best of current knowledge, the volume sheds new light on the interplay of biological factors, social and environmental influences, and sex differences in both adaptive and maladaptive aggression.
JENNIFER TURPIN and LESTER KURTZ, The Web of Violence from Interpersonal to Global, University of Illinois Press, 1996.
This book explores the interrelationship among personal, collective, national, and global levels of violence. This unique collection brings together a number of internationally known contributors to address the genesis and manifestations of violence in the search for a remedy for this confounding social problem.
MICHAEL WALZER, Arguing about War, Yale University Press, 2005.
Walzer collects previously published pieces from the last 15 years that dramatize and discuss the ethical dilemmas of military intervention in emergency situations, after terrorism and during foreign civil wars. Walzer's consideration of pros and cons can be so theoretically oriented that it is difficult to tell where he stands precisely, but it is clear that he believes officers must require risk-taking in battle and soldiers should undertake it. He does not have anything good to say about pacifists and works to refute arguments on the left claiming that the terrorism originating in the developing world should be thought of differently than that originating elsewhere. Rwanda's ethnic cleansing, the Gulf War and Kosovo's bloody move toward independence all serve as case studies, often as facts on the ground were developing or before they developed; writing before the Iraq War, Walzer weighs military occupation in Iraq against the possibility of a better political regime and follows that with a provocative, counterintuitive argument that France, in particular, but also Germany and Russia, bear a heavy responsibility for the United States' decision to preemptively attack. Events are outpacing some of Walzer's deliberations, but his case studies put the issues at stake in relief, regardless of whether one accepts his conclusions.
MICHAEL WALZER, Just and Unjust Wars, 1979 (reprinted by Harper Collins Canada)
A reprint with a new preface of Walzer's respected treatment of the morality of war.
THOMAS G. WEISS and DON HUBERT, The Responsibility to Protect
Available at http://web.idrc.ca/es/ev-9439-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html
The international community faces no more critical issue currently than how to protect people caught in new and large-scale humanitarian crises humanitarian intervention has been controversial both when it has happened, as in Kosovo, and when it has failed to happen, as in Rwanda. While there is general agreement internationally that we should not stand by in the face of massive violations of human rights, respect for the sovereign rights of states maintains a central place among the principles governing relations between states. In his Millennium Report to the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary-General Kofi Annan challenged the international community to address the real dilemmas posed by intervention and sovereignty. The independent International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) was established by the Canadian government in September 2000 to respond to that challenge.
After a year of intense worldwide consultations and debate, the Commission now presents its path-breaking report. With its central theme of the responsibility to protect, the report underlines the primary responsibility of sovereign states to protect their own citizens from avoidable catastrophe from mass murder, from large-scale loss of life and rape, from starvation. But when they are unwilling or unable to do so, that responsibility must be borne by the broader community of states there must be no more Rwandas or Srebrenicas. This volume, written by Thomas G. Weiss and Don Hubert with input from an outstanding group of international specialists, is a companion to the Commissions main report. It represents a comprehensive, balanced and up-to-date summary of the key political, ethical, legal, and operational issues and will be of particular interest to scholars. It also contains an exhaustive, thematic bibliography.