Small Wars Journal

Announcing Peter J. Munson's "War, Welfare & Democracy"

Small Wars Journal is proud to announce that Editor Peter J. Munson has published his second book, War, Welfare & Democracy: Rethinking America's Quest for the End of History. It is available now for order from online booksellers including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM, and others and will be in stores by 28 January. If you don't see it on shelves, you can ask your bookseller to stock it for you. It is also available in Kindle and Nook formats.

The book's summary and some early kudos follow, as well as ways to follow the book for more information.


American foreign policy since World War II has actively sought to reshape both domestic and international orders, hoping to hasten the coming of the “end of history” in a peaceful democratic utopia. While the end of the Cold War heightened optimism that this goal was near, American foreign policymakers still face dramatic challenges. In War, Welfare & Democracy, Peter Munson argues that the problems we face today stem from common roots—the modern state system’s struggle to cope with the pressures of market development and sociopolitical modernization.

America’s policies seek to treat challenges as varied as insurgency, organized crime, fiscal crises, immigration pressures, authoritarianism, and violations of human rights with a schizophrenic mix of realpolitik and idealism. The ideologies that inform this policy outlook were born during the Great Depression and two world wars and honed during the early years of the Cold War. Although the world has long since changed, American policy has failed to adjust. The crisis of the world’s leading welfare states compounds this inflexibility.

By addressing the inequality of wealth, security, and stability brought on by dramatic economic change and modernization, Munson describes how America can lead in reforming the welfare state paradigm and adjust its antiquated policies to best manage the transformation we must face.



"In this savagely critical yet astonishingly insightful book, Peter Munson lays bare the folly of what passes for sophisticated thinking in Washington. Better still, he offers a sound, reasoned basis for an altogether different approach—one with fewer wars and greater attention to putting America’s own house in order."
-- ANDREW J. BACEVICH, author of Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War

"An outstanding indictment of the protracted and repeated political folly and grand strategic incompetence that has imperiled U.S. ability to function effectively as a prudent hegemonic power, Munson's powerfully persuasive study is an uncomfortable, but essential, read for Americans."
-- COLIN S. GRAY, author of National Security Dilemmas

"With experience as a military professional and the eye of a strategist, Peter Munson provides a wise, elegantly written assessment of the choices the United States faces today in its security policy. Advocating neither isolation nor appeasement, he makes a strong case for retrenchment from ‘micromanagement of world affairs’ and a return to an exemplary role. All Americans concerned with their nation’s future should read it."
-- STEVEN METZ, author of Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy

"U.S. Marine and scholar Peter Munson has written a superb book about the severe limitations of military force to achieve what he rightly characterizes as 'utopian' outcomes. This is not an easy, feel-good read. War, Welfare & Democracy is a hard-hitting, rigorously researched call-to-action by a man who has served on the front lines."
-- RYE BARCOTT, author of It Happened on the Way to War

"Peter Munson has a sharp mind and a keen eye for military affairs. His work develops a series of critical arguments designed to focus our limited resources in smart ways to cope with real security challenges today and in the future. His bottom line is straightforward: we should get our own house in order as the precondition for the emergence of any sound national security strategy."
-- Col. DOUGLAS MACGREGOR, USA (Ret.), author of Warrior’s Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting and executive vice president of Burke-Macgregor Group


For more information, follow @PeterJMunson and @WarWelfareBook on Twitter, as well as the book's Facebook page.


Peter J. Munson

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 8:50pm

In reply to by Move Forward

I'm not eligible for the 15-year retirement, as my MOS is not over and I've been selected for LtCol. I've resigned, leaving my retirement in the federal coffers.

Move Forward

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 7:26pm

Well, I thought it was a new link but note that GMartin has it multiple times. Why not once more. Battleland interviewing Peter Munson:

At least I note the Marines and other services are offering early 15+ year retirements making it better for those who have served so many tours like Munson and other Soldiers/Marines/Airmen/Sailors.

Madhu (not verified)

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 10:43am

In reply to by Madhu (not verified)

Oh wait, I don't think the book I linked above is a "tired" anything, I like its exploration of the mental space people inhabit as they move between cultures and absorb ideas. East versus West is a bit tricky (does it even exist, this East vs West business?) because it's been a globalized world for ages and ages now, with travelers to different countries influencing one another.

Madhu (not verified)

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 10:35am

Congratulations. I've been waiting to read this book.

I don't know where to post the following, so I might as well post it here:

<blockquote>But beneath even that layer of bourgeois pragmatism, Curzon anticipated the late-twentieth-century technician-bureaucrat who, skeptical about social forces, believes precision with the organizational blueprint-a better computer program, as it were- will fix any malfunction in the system.</blockquote>

<i>Father India: Westerners Under the Spell of an Ancient Culture </i>

But I'm not interested in another tired "Raj" take on current events, what interests me is the lack of general interest in the Cold War periphery countries (specifically South Asian countries) during the period when the US first began taking over "global duties" from the British, the period after WWII. Like the Korean War versus the Vietnam War, or the C-B-I theater, some areas of conflict just don't seem to interest Americans within the military and foreign policy community writ large. If I didn't have a personal connection with SA, would I, as an American, be interested at all?

I think about the topic whenever I see another book on COIN with its emphasis on the same few conflicts and practitioners, again and again. I don't know if I am wrong or right to be irritated. Maybe it's okay, but did it hurt us during the past ten years to not broaden the discussion in this way?

Hey, if you are going to be one of those consultant-management guys in the future, be a <i>good one</i>, don't be, like, THE MAN.

I've been talked AT by enough medical consultant-management types that my ears start to bleed if one starts in on LEAN or whatever....

The good ones are worth their weight in gold, but I tell you, there just isn't enough gold "out there in them hills."

Bill M.

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 2:45am

In reply to by G Martin

Grant, please send the link to the interview.

Peter, congrats for publishing another book, I look forward to reading it.

Kudos Peter and, once again, thanks so much for all you have done for SWJ - I am eternally grateful. - Dave D.