Bakich publishes book on ‘limited war’

| May 28, 2014

Sweet Briar associate professor of international affairs Spencer Bakich’s new book, “Success and Failure in Limited War: Information and Strategy in the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and Iraq Wars,” is now available through the University of Chicago Press.

Bakich presented on his research at a roundtable discussion at CIA headquarters last summer, when the escalating conflict in Syria prompted new debates on effective information management in war situations.

“The focus of my book is on the ability of countries to secure their military objectives while avoiding undesired escalation,” says Spencer Bakich, who teaches international affairs at Sweet Briar.

In his book, Bakich explains why the U.S. succeeded in the Persian Gulf War, but was unable to both defeat its opponent and avoid escalation in Korea; why Chinese intervention in Vietnam was avoided, but communist forces in South Vietnam weren’t defeated; and why the U.S. achieved a quick and decisive victory over Iraqi forces only to see it squandered with the eruption of the Sunni-based insurgency.

According to his publisher, “Bakich demonstrates how not only the availability and quality of information, but also the ways in which information is gathered, managed, analyzed, and used, shape a state’s ability to wield power effectively in dynamic and complex international systems.”

Jeffrey W. Legro from the University of Virginia calls it a “highly readable history of the limited wars that have consumed US foreign policy over the past sixty years,” adding that “[policy] makers, scholars and students alike will find this book invaluable.”

For more information and to order a copy, visit

Bakich specializes in international relations theory, international security studies and American foreign policy. His particular interests center on the relationship between political and military objectives in limited warfare. He is the co-author of “Storming to Partition: Croatia, the United States, and Krajina in the Yugoslav War” (Small Wars & Insurgencies, 2009), along with Sweet Briar associate professor of history John Ashbrook.

Bakich teaches courses on American foreign policy, military force in international relations, decision-making and conflict resolution. He earned a Ph.D. in politics and a master’s in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia, and a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University.

Janika Carey


Category: History, International Affairs