In This Review

The Transformation Of War

The Transformation Of War
By Martin Van Creveld
254 pp, Free Press, 1991
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This distinguished Israeli military historian's subtitle-"the most radical reinterpretation of armed conflict since Clausewitz"-may overstate, but not by much. He can be faulted for leaving plenty of loose ends and running well ahead of the evidence but certainly not for failing to provoke: future war will not be between nation-states but between "groups whom we today call terrorists, guerrillas, bandits and robbers, but who will undoubtedly hit on more formal titles to describe themselves." An uncomfortably multiracial America will be an earlier victim of these wars than the more homogenous Japan or Europe. If he never says what these messy wars will be "for," that is because the whole idea of rational purpose, like most of traditional strategy, "will be largely inapplicable."