Book presentation: ''How Wars End: Why we always fight the last battle'' by Gideon Rose

  • 07 Jul. 2011 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 26 Jul. 2011 16:42

Gideon Rose, the editor of Foreign Affairs was at NATO on Thursday 7 July to talk about his book “How Wars End: Why We Always Fight The Last Battle”. H. E. Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder, US Permanent Representative to NATO chaired the discussion.

After the conference, Gideon Rose signed copies of his book at a reception hosted by the NATO Multimedia Library.


In 1991 the United States trounced the Iraqi army in battle only to stumble blindly into postwar turmoil. Then in 2003 the United States did it again. How could this happen? How could the strongest power in modern history fight two wars against the same opponent in just over a decade, win lightning victories both times, and yet still be woefully unprepared for the aftermath?

Because Americans always forget the political aspects of war. Time and again, argues Gideon Rose in this penetrating look at American wars over the last century, our leaders have focused more on beating up the enemy than on creating a stable postwar environment. What happened in Iraq was only the most prominent example of this phenomenon, not an exception to the rule.

“This is a brilliant book on an important subject. Americans are always disappointed with the outcomes of wars and the troubled peaces that follow. Gideon Rose explains that this is because of the way we think—or don't think—about war and peace. The book is a masterpiece of historical analysis with lessons for our strategy in Afghanistan and beyond.”
— Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post-American World and editor of Newsweek International

“In his trenchant study of how difficult it was to end wars in the past century, Gideon Rose draws fresh and persuasive lessons for how to define and achieve U.S. interests, both in Afghanistan and in the face of future challenges. A timely and important work.”
— Strobe Talbott, author of The Great Experiment and president of Brookings Institution