Search Results for "overconfidence-and-war"

OVERCONFIDENCE AND WAR

OVERCONFIDENCE AND WAR

  • Author: Dominic D. P. Johnson
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • ISBN: 0674039165
  • Category: Political Science
  • Page: 288
  • View: 6840
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Opponents rarely go to war without thinking they can win--and clearly, one side must be wrong. This conundrum lies at the heart of the so-called "war puzzle": rational states should agree on their differences in power and thus not fight. But as Dominic Johnson argues in "Overconfidence and War," states are no more rational than people, who are susceptible to exaggerated ideas of their own virtue, of their ability to control events, and of the future. By looking at this bias--called "positive illusions"--as it figures in evolutionary biology, psychology, and the politics of international conflict, this book offers compelling insights into why states wage war. Johnson traces the effects of positive illusions on four turning points in twentieth-century history: two that erupted into war (World War I and Vietnam); and two that did not (the Munich crisis and the Cuban missile crisis). Examining the two wars, he shows how positive illusions have filtered into politics, causing leaders to overestimate themselves and underestimate their adversaries--and to resort to violence to settle a conflict against unreasonable odds. In the Munich and Cuban missile crises, he shows how lessening positive illusions may allow leaders to pursue peaceful solutions. The human tendency toward overconfidence may have been favored by natural selection throughout our evolutionary history because of the advantages it conferred--heightening combat performance or improving one's ability to bluff an opponent. And yet, as this book suggests--and as the recent conflict in Iraq bears out--in the modern world the consequences of this evolutionary legacy are potentially deadly.

OVERCONFIDENCE AND WAR

OVERCONFIDENCE AND WAR

  • Author: Dominic D. P. Johnson
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • ISBN: 9780674015760
  • Category: History
  • Page: 280
  • View: 8389
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Opponents rarely go to war without thinking they can win--and clearly, one side must be wrong. This conundrum lies at the heart of the so-called "war puzzle": rational states should agree on their differences in power and thus not fight. But as Dominic Johnson argues in Overconfidence and War, states are no more rational than people, who are susceptible to exaggerated ideas of their own virtue, of their ability to control events, and of the future. By looking at this bias--called "positive illusions"--as it figures in evolutionary biology, psychology, and the politics of international conflict, this book offers compelling insights into why states wage war. Johnson traces the effects of positive illusions on four turning points in twentieth-century history: two that erupted into war (World War I and Vietnam); and two that did not (the Munich crisis and the Cuban missile crisis). Examining the two wars, he shows how positive illusions have filtered into politics, causing leaders to overestimate themselves and underestimate their adversaries--and to resort to violence to settle a conflict against unreasonable odds. In the Munich and Cuban missile crises, he shows how lessening positive illusions may allow leaders to pursue peaceful solutions. The human tendency toward overconfidence may have been favored by natural selection throughout our evolutionary history because of the advantages it conferred--heightening combat performance or improving one's ability to bluff an opponent. And yet, as this book suggests--and as the recent conflict in Iraq bears out--in the modern world the consequences of this evolutionary legacy are potentially deadly.

Revolution and War

Revolution and War

  • Author: Stephen M. Walt
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • ISBN: 0801470005
  • Category: Political Science
  • Page: 376
  • View: 7031
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Revolution within a state almost invariably leads to intense security competition between states, and often to war. In Revolution and War, Stephen M. Walt explains why this is so, and suggests how the risk of conflicts brought on by domestic upheaval might be reduced in the future. In doing so, he explores one of the basic questions of international relations: What are the connections between domestic politics and foreign policy? Walt begins by exposing the flaws in existing theories about the relationship between revolution and war. Drawing on the theoretical literature about revolution and the realist perspective on international politics, he argues that revolutions cause wars by altering the balance of threats between a revolutionary state and its rivals. Each state sees the other as both a looming danger and a vulnerable adversary, making war seem both necessary and attractive. Walt traces the dynamics of this argument through detailed studies of the French, Russian, and Iranian revolutions, and through briefer treatment of the American, Mexican, Turkish, and Chinese cases. He also considers the experience of the Soviet Union, whose revolutionary transformation led to conflict within the former Soviet empire but not with the outside world. An important refinement of realist approaches to international politics, this book unites the study of revolution with scholarship on the causes of war.

Blinders, Blunders, and Wars

Blinders, Blunders, and Wars

What America and China Can Learn

  • Author: David C. Gompert,Hans Binnendijk,Bonny Lin
  • Publisher: Rand Corporation
  • ISBN: 0833087789
  • Category: History
  • Page: 328
  • View: 7982
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The history of wars caused by misjudgments, from Napoleon’s invasion of Russia to America’s invasion of Iraq, reveals that leaders relied on cognitive models that were seriously at odds with objective reality. Blinders, Blunders, and Wars analyzes eight historical examples of strategic blunders regarding war and peace and four examples of decisions that turned out well, and then applies those lessons to the current Sino-American case.

American Tragedy

American Tragedy

Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War

  • Author: David E. Kaiser
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • ISBN: 9780674006720
  • Category: History
  • Page: 566
  • View: 5022
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Documents the origin of American involvement in the Vietnam War and how the policies in the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations led to war.

The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War

An Intimate History

  • Author: Geoffrey C. Ward
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • ISBN: 0307700259
  • Category: History
  • Page: 612
  • View: 6761
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"A comprehensive look at the Vietnam War"--

Gambling on War

Gambling on War

Confidence, Fear, and the Tragedy of the First World War

  • Author: Roger L. Ransom
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • ISBN: 1108608175
  • Category: Business & Economics
  • Page: N.A
  • View: 3500
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The First World War left a legacy of chaos that is still with us a century later. Why did European leaders resort to war and why did they not end it sooner? Roger L. Ransom sheds new light on this enduring puzzle by employing insights from prospect theory and notions of risk and uncertainty. He reveals how the interplay of confidence, fear, and a propensity to gamble encouraged aggressive behavior by leaders who pursued risky military strategies in hopes of winning the war. The result was a series of military disasters and a war of attrition which gradually exhausted the belligerents without producing any hope of ending the war. Ultimately, he shows that the outcome of the war rested as much on the ability of the Allied powers to muster their superior economic resources to continue the fight as it did on success on the battlefield.

Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War

Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War

Britain's Counterinsurgency Failure

  • Author: J. B. E. Hittle
  • Publisher: Potomac Books, Inc.
  • ISBN: 1612341284
  • Category: HISTORY
  • Page: 297
  • View: 4072
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How the British Secret Service failed to neutralize Sinn Fein and the IRA

Xenophon's Cyrus the Great

Xenophon's Cyrus the Great

The Arts of Leadership and War

  • Author: Xenophon
  • Publisher: Truman Talley Books
  • ISBN: 142990531X
  • Category: History
  • Page: 320
  • View: 8676
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In 1906, a stilted English translation of Xenophon of Athens' story about Cyrus the Great's military campaigns was published. Now, a century later, a much more accessible edition of one of history's most extraordinary and successful leaders is emerging. Among his many achievements, this great leader of wisdom and virtue founded and extended the Persian Empire; conquered Babylon; freed 40,000 Jews from captivity; wrote mankind's first human rights charter; and ruled over those he had conquered with respect and benevolence. According to historian Will Durant, Cyrus the Great's military enemies knew that he was lenient, and they did not fight him with that desperate courage which men show when their only choice is "to kill or die." As a result the Iranians regarded him as "The Father," the Babylonians as "The Liberator," the Greeks as the "Law-Giver," and the Jews as the "Anointed of the Lord." By freshening the voice, style and diction of Cyrus, Larry Hedrick has created a more contemporary Cyrus. A new generation of readers, including business executives and managers, military officers, and government officials, can now learn about and benefit from Cyrus the Great's extraordinary achievements, which exceeded all other leaders' throughout antiquity.

No Sure Victory

No Sure Victory

Measuring U.S. Army Effectiveness and Progress in the Vietnam War

  • Author: Gregory A. Daddis
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • ISBN: 0199830711
  • Category: Political Science
  • Page: 368
  • View: 5955
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Conventional wisdom holds that the US Army in Vietnam, thrust into an unconventional war where occupying terrain was a meaningless measure of success, depended on body counts as its sole measure of military progress. In No Sure Victory, Army officer and historian Gregory Daddis looks far deeper into the Army's techniques for measuring military success and presents a much more complicated-and disturbing-account of the American misadventure in Indochina. Daddis shows how the US Army, which confronted an unfamiliar enemy and an even more unfamiliar form of warfare, adopted a massive, and eventually unmanageable, system of measurements and formulas to track the progress of military operations that ranged from pacification efforts to search-and-destroy missions. The Army's monthly "Measurement of Progress" reports covered innumerable aspects of the fighting in Vietnam-force ratios, Vietcong/North Vietnamese Army incidents, tactical air sorties, weapons losses, security of base areas and roads, population control, area control, and hamlet defenses. Concentrating more on data collection and less on data analysis, these indiscriminate attempts to gauge success may actually have hindered the army's ability to evaluate the true outcome of the fight at hand--a roadblock that Daddis believes significantly contributed to the many failures that American forces suffered in Vietnam. Filled with incisive analysis and rich historical detail, No Sure Victory is not only a valuable case study in unconventional warfare, but a cautionary tale that offers important perspectives on how to measure performance in current and future armed conflict. Given America's ongoing counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, No Sure Victory provides valuable historical perspective on how to measure--and mismeasure--military success.

The War of the Revolution

The War of the Revolution

  • Author: Christopher Ward
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
  • ISBN: 1616080809
  • Category: History
  • Page: 1012
  • View: 8816
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“The War of the Revolution is a solid chunk of scholarship, likely toendure as a classical work on its subject.”—Time

God Is Watching You

God Is Watching You

How the Fear of God Makes Us Human

  • Author: Dominic Johnson
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • ISBN: 0199895635
  • Category: Fear of God
  • Page: 304
  • View: 5146
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The willingness to believe in some kind of payback or karma remains nearly universal. Retribution awaits those who commit bad deeds; rewards await those who do good. Johnson explores how this belief has developed over time, and how it has shaped the course of human evolution.

Alliance

Alliance

The Inside Story of How Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill Won One War and Began Another

  • Author: Jonathan Fenby
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster
  • ISBN: 1471142973
  • Category: History
  • Page: 480
  • View: 9287
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The history of the Second World War is usually told through its decisive battles and campaigns. But behind the front lines, behind even the command centres of Allied generals and military planners, a different level of strategic thinking was going on. Throughout the war the 'Big Three' -- Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin -- met in various permutations and locations to thrash out ways to defeat Nazi Germany -- and, just as importantly, to decide the way Europe would look after the war. This was the political rather than military struggle: a battle of wills and diplomacy between three men with vastly differing backgrounds, characters -- and agendas. Focusing on the riveting interplay between these three extraordinary personalities, Jonathan Fenby re-creates the major Allied conferences including Casablanca, Potsdam and Yalta to show exactly who bullied whom, who was really in control, and how the key decisions were taken. With his customary flair for narrative, character and telling detail, Fenby's account reveals what really went on in those smoke-filled rooms and shows how "jaw-jaw" as well as "war-war" led to Hitler's defeat and the shape of the post-war world.

Return of a King

Return of a King

The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42

  • Author: William Dalrymple
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • ISBN: 0307958299
  • Category: History
  • Page: 560
  • View: 9686
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From William Dalrymple—award-winning historian, journalist and travel writer—a masterly retelling of what was perhaps the West’s greatest imperial disaster in the East, and an important parable of neocolonial ambition, folly and hubris that has striking relevance to our own time. With access to newly discovered primary sources from archives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia and India—including a series of previously untranslated Afghan epic poems and biographies—the author gives us the most immediate and comprehensive account yet of the spectacular first battle for Afghanistan: the British invasion of the remote kingdom in 1839. Led by lancers in scarlet cloaks and plumed helmets, and facing little resistance, nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the mountain passes from India into Afghanistan in order to reestablish Shah Shuja ul-Mulk on the throne, and as their puppet. But after little more than two years, the Afghans rose in answer to the call for jihad and the country exploded into rebellion. This First Anglo-Afghan War ended with an entire army of what was then the most powerful military nation in the world ambushed and destroyed in snowbound mountain passes by simply equipped Afghan tribesmen. Only one British man made it through. But Dalrymple takes us beyond the bare outline of this infamous battle, and with penetrating, balanced insight illuminates the uncanny similarities between the West’s first disastrous entanglement with Afghanistan and the situation today. He delineates the straightforward facts: Shah Shuja and President Hamid Karzai share the same tribal heritage; the Shah’s principal opponents were the Ghilzai tribe, who today make up the bulk of the Taliban’s foot soldiers; the same cities garrisoned by the British are today garrisoned by foreign troops, attacked from the same rings of hills and high passes from which the British faced attack. Dalryrmple also makes clear the byzantine complexity of Afghanistan’s age-old tribal rivalries, the stranglehold they have on the politics of the nation and the ways in which they ensnared both the British in the nineteenth century and NATO forces in the twenty-first. Informed by the author’s decades-long firsthand knowledge of Afghanistan, and superbly shaped by his hallmark gifts as a narrative historian and his singular eye for the evocation of place and culture, The Return of a King is both the definitive analysis of the First Anglo-Afghan War and a work of stunning topicality.

Dictators at War and Peace

Dictators at War and Peace

  • Author: Jessica L. P. Weeks
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • ISBN: 0801455235
  • Category: Political Science
  • Page: 264
  • View: 4120
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Why do some autocratic leaders pursue aggressive or expansionist foreign policies, while others are much more cautious in their use of military force? The first book to focus systematically on the foreign policy of different types of authoritarian regimes, Dictators at War and Peace breaks new ground in our understanding of the international behavior of dictators. Jessica L. P. Weeks explains why certain kinds of regimes are less likely to resort to war than others, why some are more likely to win the wars they start, and why some authoritarian leaders face domestic punishment for foreign policy failures whereas others can weather all but the most serious military defeat. Using novel cross-national data, Weeks looks at various nondemocratic regimes, including those of Saddam Hussein and Joseph Stalin; the Argentine junta at the time of the Falklands War, the military government in Japan before and during World War II, and the North Vietnamese communist regime. She finds that the differences in the conflict behavior of distinct kinds of autocracies are as great as those between democracies and dictatorships. Indeed, some types of autocracies are no more belligerent or reckless than democracies, casting doubt on the common view that democracies are more selective about war than autocracies.

Lords of Finance

Lords of Finance

The Bankers Who Broke the World

  • Author: Liaquat Ahamed
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • ISBN: 1440697965
  • Category: Business & Economics
  • Page: 576
  • View: 3647
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Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize "A magisterial work...You can't help thinking about the economic crisis we're living through now." --The New York Times Book Review It is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a confluence of events beyond any one person's or government's control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions made by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of that economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades. As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, Lords of Finance is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, their fallibility, and the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong. From the Trade Paperback edition.

National Security Through a Cockeyed Lens

National Security Through a Cockeyed Lens

How Cognitive Bias Impacts U.S. Foreign Policy

  • Author: Steve A. Yetiv
  • Publisher: JHU Press
  • ISBN: 1421411253
  • Category: Political Science
  • Page: 155
  • View: 9177
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"What are key mental errors that can undermine good decision making? Drawing on four decades of psychological, historical, and political science research on cognitive biases, this book illuminates key pitfalls in how we and our leaders make decisions. It shows in five case studies of American foreign and energy policy that such errors--a dozen different cognitive biases--have been more important in shaping and impacting U.S. national interests than we currently understand. In so doing, it also sheds light on U.S. foreign policy toward and interests in the Middle East. That story prominently features non-psychological explanations, but cognitive biases exercised by American and foreign actors also represent a slice of the story that is worth revealing. As examples, the book shows how the distorted cognitive lens of Al-Qaeda leaders contributed to the September 11 attacks and the ongoing conflict with America and the West; how overconfidence impacted America's decision to invade Iraq in 2003; and how short term thinking--a prominent cognitive bias--hurts America's ability to develop a comprehensive energy policy, making the Middle East more important to the United States and enhancing its proclivity to be involved in the region. The book is aimed chiefly at students and the lay public, though academics may benefit from it"--

Waging War, Planning Peace

Waging War, Planning Peace

U.S. Noncombat Operations and Major Wars

  • Author: Aaron Rapport
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • ISBN: 0801455634
  • Category: Political Science
  • Page: 288
  • View: 2916
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As the U.S. experience in Iraq following the 2003 invasion made abundantly clear, failure to properly plan for risks associated with postconflict stabilization and reconstruction can have a devastating impact on the overall success of a military mission. In Waging War, Planning Peace, Aaron Rapport investigates how U.S. presidents and their senior advisers have managed vital noncombat activities while the nation is in the midst of fighting or preparing to fight major wars. He argues that research from psychology—specifically, construal level theory—can help explain how individuals reason about the costs of postconflict noncombat operations that they perceive as lying in the distant future. In addition to preparations for "Phase IV" in the lead-up to the Iraq War, Rapport looks at the occupation of Germany after World War II, the planned occupation of North Korea in 1950, and noncombat operations in Vietnam in 1964 and 1965. Applying his insights to these cases, he finds that civilian and military planners tend to think about near-term tasks in concrete terms, seriously assessing the feasibility of the means they plan to employ to secure valued ends. For tasks they perceive as further removed in time, they tend to focus more on the desirability of the overarching goals they are pursuing rather than the potential costs, risks, and challenges associated with the means necessary to achieve these goals. Construal level theory, Rapport contends, provides a coherent explanation of how a strategic disconnect can occur. It can also show postwar planners how to avoid such perilous missteps.

Chinese Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) Development

Chinese Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) Development

Drivers, Trajectories, and Strategic Implications

  • Author: Andrew S. Erickson
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • ISBN: 0985504587
  • Category: Political Science
  • Page: 160
  • View: 5147
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China’s anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM), the DF-21D, has reached the equivalent of Initial Operational Capability. Although it probably has been deployed in small numbers, additional challenges and tests remain. This study examines the ASBM’s capability and history, showing how the DF-21D meets multiple priorities in Chinese defense modernization and in the national security bureaucracy, as well its implications for the United States. The ASBM’s physical threat to U.S. Navy ships will be determined by the development of associated systems and organizations, which currently limit data fusion and coordination in the complex task of identifying a U.S. aircraft carrier in the open ocean. Still, the ASBM poses a direct threat to the foundations of U.S. power project in Asia and will undermine the U.S. position, unless efforts to counter its political-military effects are taken.

Balancing Risks

Balancing Risks

Great Power Intervention in the Periphery

  • Author: Jeffrey W. Taliaferro
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • ISBN: 9780801442216
  • Category: Business & Economics
  • Page: 304
  • View: 321
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Great powers often initiate risky military and diplomatic inventions in far-off, peripheral regions that pose no direct threat to them, risking direct confrontation with rivals in strategically inconsequential places. Why do powerful countries behave in a way that leads to entrapment in prolonged, expensive, and self-defeating conflicts?Jeffrey W. Taliaferro suggests that such interventions are driven by the refusal of senior officials to accept losses in their state's relative power, international status, or prestige. Instead of cutting their losses, leaders often continue to invest blood and money in failed excursions into the periphery. Their policies may seem to be driven by rational concerns about power and security, but Taliaferro deems them to be at odds with the master explanation of political realism.Taliaferro constructs a "balance-of-risk" theory of foreign policy that draws on defensive realism (in international relations) and prospect theory (in psychology). He illustrates the power of this new theory in several case narratives: Germany's initiation and escalation of the 1905 and 1911 Moroccan crises, the United States' involvement in the Korean War in 1950–52, and Japan's entanglement in the second Sino-Japanese war in 1937–40 and its decisions for war with the U.S. in 1940–41.