Critical Review Essay
Joshua Goldstein: Winning the War on War
In Winning the War on War, Joseph Goldstein argues that warfare is on the decline and growing less intensely than in previous eras. He also focuses on the correlation between the rise of international institutions and organizations structured around peacekeeping to the decrease of huge interstate wars. Goldstein assesses how organizations such as the UN and other NGO’s that focus primarily on peacekeeping and peacebuilding have influenced wars both positively and negatively. He refutes the argument that the 20th century is the most violent century thus far and sets out to prove that the world is actually becoming more peaceful. He offers explanations on how this transformation has come about through an analysis of peacekeeping efforts and in his conclusion offers proposals to strengthen them. In this paper I will argue that Goldstein does an effective job of guiding the reader through his argument by analyzing the effectiveness of the UN and other international organizations in increasing peacekeeping efforts and essentially decreasing warfare. It is apparent that Goldstein however, lacks an objective perspective when critiquing the failures of the organizations in terms of structure and does not truly delve into the volatile and changing nature of violence and insecurity. Goldstein starts the book with an anecdote that takes place in Beirut in 1980. He observes how residents of the area were surrounded by civil conflict while living in relative stability. He does this in order to set the stage that war exists on a continuum of viciousness, primarily emphasizing the different effects of civil war and interstate war. Goldstein believes that armed conflict has seen a fundamental change since the Cold War, wars are no longer between superpowers and their armies, but are instead localized. He argues that interstate wars are more destructive when compared to civil wars because of the devastating...
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