Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Conversations with History Blog

See a webcast of this interview:

See also the 2007 interview
with Dr. Luttwak, "The Logic of
Strategy and U.S. Foreign Policy"

Strategy: Conversation with Edward Luttwak, Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University; by Harry Kreisler, March 10, 1987

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a conversation on strategy. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Dr. Edward Luttwak, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Luttwak is the 1987 Nimitz Lecturer at UC Berkeley. He is a consultant to the Pentagon, he is on the editorial board of numerous foreign policy publications, and he is the author of numerous books, including The Grand Strategy of the Soviet Union, The Pentagon and the Art of War, History: Collected Essays, and On the Meaning of Victory. His forthcoming book is called The Logic of War and Peace, and it will be published by Harvard University Press in the fall. Dr. Luttwak, welcome to Berkeley.

  1. Strategy vs. Everyday Logic ... the implications of having an adversary ... logic formed in battle ... antithesis of common sense ... bureaucracy ... importance of decentralization
  2. The Mistake of Efficiency ... McNamara and air defense ... successful Soviet inefficiency ... effective vs. efficient ... unit cohesion ... naval supply ships ... the positive example of WW II
  3. War Strategy in a Democracy ... détente ... how institutions bridge the gap ... politicians and complexity ... nuanced responses ... cultural habits in a democracy ... Soviet power culture
  4. Iran-Gate ... blundering into strategy ... falling back on common sense ... NSC and Pentagon commandos switch roles ... failure of political clarity ... violence in US society ... fighting for democracy while compromising democratic values

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