Throughout the years, U.S. foreign policy has strayed from diplomacy and become—and stayed—militarized. The military, even if indispensable to national security as a deterrent, should not be the only—or even the main—branch of government required to prepare itself for future threats. The need for diplomatic and other non-hard-power tools of statecraft has not diminished; on the contrary, the steep rise in unconventional conflict has raised their importance.
America needs a strategy that effectively synchronizes all instruments of power. We can no longer afford to sit on the proverbial three-legged (“military, diplomacy, development”) national security stool, where one leg is a lot longer than either of the other two, almost forgetting altogether about a fourth leg—information, especially strategic communication and public diplomacy. We aren’t so much becoming militarized as decivilianized.
Sun Tzu believed that the acme of leadership consists in figuring out how to subdue the enemy with the least amount of fighting. This is possible if a people possess both the ability and willingness to use all available instruments of power in peace as much as in war. To that end, self-knowledge is as important as knowledge of one’s enemy: for “if you know neither yourself nor the enemy, you will succumb in every battle.” Alarmingly, we are deficient on both counts. And though we can stand to lose a few battles, the stakes of losing the war itself in this age of nuclear proliferation are too high to contemplate.
This is an important, well crafted, and compelling book. Juliana Geran Pilon explains disconnects between the instrumental use of violence and objectives in recent and ongoing conflicts. The neglect of the political and human nature of war has been a common cause of strategic failure as well as a common flaw in theories that oftentimes contribute to those failures. Indeed, recent wartime plans have exhibited a narcissistic approach, failing to account for interactions with determined enemies and other complicating political, cultural, historical and economic factors. Armed conflict is a competition and, as Dr. Pilon points out, winning the peace requires fighting across all contested spaces and considering the consolidation of military gains as an integral part of war. It is not enough to read The Art of Peace. We must also heed its lessons.
Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster
Juliana Pilon is to be commended for pressing the question of American competence in carrying out its global engagement. As she rightly points out in her book, we need to fully engage both our fundamental powers in American foreign policy: the power of inspiration and, when and where needed, the power of intimidation. What is more, we should be able to get the right balance and shape the arguments in such a manner that we can achieve a non-partisan approach to foreign policy and employment of the military.
Gen. (Ret.) James Mattis
Dr. Juliana Pilon is perfectly positioned to provide a clear and convincing way ahead. Bringing both formidable academic experience and a professional career spent in the field, she is that rare scholar-practioner who speaks with equal credibility to our national leaders and the Soldier guarding a lonely outpost in mountains of the Hindu Kush. In The Art of Peace, Juliana sheds light on the shortcomings in our thinking about strategy, at the same time demonstrating that things were not always this way. More importantly, they need not remain so in the future.
Col. Michael R. Eastman (from Preface)