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This book examines the long, complex experience of American involvement in irregular warfare. It begins with the American Revolution in 1776 and chronicles big and small irregular wars for the next two and a half centuries. Examples taken from the American experience reveal that fighting - and, more so, winning - all types of wars is extraordinarily complex, frustrating, controversial and bloody. What is readily apparent in dirty wars is that failure is painfully tangible while success is often amorphous. Successfully fighting these wars often entails striking a critical balance between military victory and politics. America's status as a democracy only serves to make fighting - and, to a greater degree, winning - these irregular wars even harder. Rather than futilely insisting that Americans should not or cannot fight this kind of irregular war, Russell Crandall argues that we would be better served by considering how we can do so as cleanly and successfully as possible.
In this book, Crandall examines the policies of three post-Cold War presidential administrations through the prism of three critical areas: democracy, economics, and security. He argues that any lasting analysis must be viewed through a fresh framework that allows for the often unexpected episodes and outcomes in U.S.-Latin American relations.
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