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Not sure what I expected but I was disappointed by this book. I was hoping to learn something new but I didn't, at all. The scenarios the author describes have become increasingly unlikely after the UK snap elections and the out come of the French elections.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
This set of "what ifs" pays considerable homage to Sir John Hackett's "The Third World War". It fairly observes that the world is more complicated than in the late '70s and delivers an informative description of some of the complex issues facing British and NATO governments today. Some reviewers criticise it for already becoming dated as the real world deviates from its narrative. I feel that is unfair; these are not predictions but explorations of possibilities and risks. In some ways, the fact that it projects only 30 months into the future from publication indicates how unpredictable they feel the world is.
As an analysis of some of the myriad possibilities in the world, I think this works better than Hackett's rather more focused work. That is not to denigrate a book I admire thoroughly. "The Third World War" was a clear and trenchant picture of what was required and why: greater defence spending and a more determined NATO alliance. Hackett also showed how that would be important, served up in a pacy narrative which easily matches the Tom Clancy's later "Red Storm Rising".
In this work, the authors are on song with authoritative, perceptive analysis which fairly and very clearly presents the key strategic challenges of today. Where I was a little frustrated was when the book wandered into "what we should do?" territory, and in that regard it is much weaker than Hackett. Here, Hackett's clarity is replaced with vague "policy-wonk speak" about the philosophy of strategic planning and a hushed reference to more money.
In some ways I found that helpful too: I sense they struggled to come up with practical recommendations as much as anyone else. Maybe that simply underlines not only the bewildering range and complexity of challenges in the world today, but also the jam that our governments (and we) are in.
All in all, a thoughtful, well-read and intelligent piece.