Defense Engagement since 1900
Global Lessons in Soft Power
Edited by Greg Kennedy
There is more to defense than military might and more to the military than a fighting force. At a moment of global upheaval, domestic turmoil, and political uncertainty, this timely volume seeks to define and reframe the terms of defense engagement—the use of military capabilities to exert soft power (influence) as opposed to hard power (military force). Defense Engagement since 1900 is a work of applied military history that brings lessons of the past to bear on current issues. In a number of case studies spanning the twentieth century and the globe, the authors explore various dimensions of defense engagement. Their work, which attempts to recast the role of a states military from wielder of force to employer of power, is squarely aimed at tackling the causes of designated security threats and not merely managing their consequences.
The chapters, by scholars and practitioners representing diverse points of view, focus primarily on the British experience—perhaps the most extensive example of the use of military power in a nonmartial fashion in pursuit of policy goals. However, the chapters also consider events in the United States, Canada, Japan, the Middle East, and Africa. Intelligence, diplomacy, deterrence, alliances, coalitions, and networks: all are within the authors’ scope as they address the need to use a wide range of attributes and capabilities associated with military power in various contemporary conflicts and national security strategies. The understanding their work provides will prove critically important to strategic thinkers of our day, as democratic states increasingly contend with hybrid, subthreshold, and Gray Zone warfare.
“Defense diplomacy is an understudied and underappreciated role of the armed forces. This volume highlights how defense diplomacy has worked over time and in a number of different historical contexts. As an introduction to the practical applications and issues involved, this book is both a useful and stimulating read.”
—Matthew C. Ford, senior lecturer, University of Sussex
There is much talk about ‘bridge books’ that scholars, practitioners, and interested general readers can all learn from and value. There is even more talk about ‘filling a gap in our knowledge.’ Some books achieve one of those objectives. Defense Engagement since 1900 is a rare and impressive example of a volume that does both.—