Finishing Business: Ten Steps to Defeat Global Terror
by Harlan Ullman
Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2004. 241 pp. $29.95.
Reviewed by Dale Eikmeier
U.S. Army War College
Middle East Quarterly
Ullman states in his introduction: "What can and must be done to defeat this grave and gathering danger [radical Islam] is the basis for this book." Sadly, he pulls a literary bait and switch. This work is not, as implied, a formula for defeating radical Islam. Those looking for a serious and scholarly work on combating what Ullman calls "jihadist extremism" will be disappointed by the lack of research and discussion on the ideological foundations and leaders of the movement.
However, political historians may find the first half interesting as it lays out the national security positions of the Democratic Party's 2004 presidential campaign. The chapter on Operation Iraqi Freedom even opens with the Bush-Kerry debate question: "Is America safer or securer as a result." The second half, where Ullman discusses transformation of the U.S. military, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the federal government, makes an original contribution. One of his more intriguing ideas is Sarbanes-Oxley-type reform legislation designed to improve congressional and executive branch accountability. Policymakers concerned with government and defense reform may find some gems here.
Poorly organized, Ullman built a mound of tangents (Gorbachev and perestroika), distortions (hoof and mouth disease and a strike in Britain set D-Day for Operation Iraqi Freedom), factual errors ("Pakistan is both Muslim and Arab"), and partisan political statements ("President Bush must subordinate his visceral dislike for Kim to the larger goal of denuclearizing the [Korean] peninsula permanently"). To find any buried gems, you must dig. In the end the effort isn't worth it. Once you have polished the obscuration away, you'll find that Ullman's formula to defeat radical Islam is the Cold War's containment strategy with "transformed" multinational security organizations, resolution of Kashmir and the Israeli-Palestinian disputes, and a series of what he admits are prohibitively expensive Marshall plans.
Related Topics: Terrorism | Dale Eikmeier | Summer 2006 MEQ
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