The Praetorian Guard

The real civilian-military gap is between the U.S. military's excessive influence and common sense.

Issue: Winter 2000-2001

IN THEIR recent article in these pages on civil-military relations in the United States, Peter D. Feaver and Richard H. Kohn observed that "the lack of an urgent and immediate threat to the nation's existence, of the kind that during the Cold War forced military and civilian elites to reconcile their differences, may now foster a much higher level of civil-military conflict" than in the past, given that ours "is the first period in American history in which a large professional military has been maintained in peacetime."1 They do not, however, question the wisdom of maintaining a huge military establishment in a period when there is no threat to the United States that can be compared with the one that existed, or was not unreasonably assumed to exist, during the Cold War--indeed, that is maintained when there is virtually no threat at all to the nation of the kind for which military force provides a solution.

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