Right Backed by Might: History Without Clarity.Roger Beaumont's latest book, "Right Backed by Might: The International Air Force Concept," provides an in-depth military and political history of the Western world as it relates to the concepts of "international police force (IPF (Itanium Processor Family) See Itanium. ) and "international air force" (IAF (Internet Application Framework) A suite of software development technologies from Ross Systems, Inc., Atlanta, GA (www.rossinc.com) that is the backbone of its iRenaissance Suite. Meta-data driven, IAF comprises a . ).
As an Air Force officer candidate and a student of Western European politics and history, I found it a disappointing reading experience.
The idea of having standing multi-national military and policy forces has been studied for decades, and it would have been interesting to hear from Beaumont--who is a credible expert--about why these forces have not materialized as many had hoped. But Beaumont fails to offer his opinions on the matter.
Academics will find this book elementary, and those with only a mild interest won't get past the first few pages. But I would strongly recommend it for someone writing a research paper--the sources listed are numerous and mostly primary.
The true history buff, however, will be frustrated frus·trate
tr.v. frus·trat·ed, frus·trat·ing, frus·trates
a. To prevent from accomplishing a purpose or fulfilling a desire; thwart: by the lack of new insight or information. The novice will learn the chronological order of events in modern military and political history, but not much else. Beaumont presupposes the reader has a vast knowledge of history and consequently glosses over the events that comprise it. The result is that there is no real target audience for this book.
"Right Backed By Might" attempts to provide an outline of the history of the modern world as a backdrop to the story of an international air force; the concept of an IAF comes up frequently, but most often in the context of the League of Nations and the United Nations. He mentions many failed attempts and designs for various IAFs, but given the nature of air power--and its propensity to change quickly--these precedents may or may not be useful. He also fails to give sufficient attention to the way these concepts have evolved in recent years.
The book moves very quickly, and does not go into any significant depth, up until the events of the 1940s. The '40s, '50s, and '60s are all carefully detailed. But after that, when his thesis should be picking up speed, given the huge advances in air power since the 1970s and the increase in global cooperation, he slows down, merely glossing over the events of the 80s and 90s. He makes no significant mention of any current plans for an international air force, although several entities out there today seem suspiciously akin to one.
The insufficient coverage of modern times stems from a lack of appropriate organization. For instance, chapter three covers the years 1919-1939. But the last chapter is subtitled sub·ti·tle
1. A secondary, usually explanatory title, as of a literary work.
2. A printed translation of the dialogue of a foreign-language film shown at the bottom of the screen.
tr.v. "collective security since World War II." To devote the first four chapters of the book to the time before World War II--and only one chapter to the nearly 60 years since--is a vast oversight. Most of the developments that have taken place in the realm of air power have happened very recently. I would venture to say 95 percent have occurred since World War II. To lump all that change together into one final chapter seems at best inappropriate and at worst inane.
Another problem that I see is the implication that the IAF concept has reached its heyday and since declined. He titles his chapter on World War II, "In Fullest Bloom." What is "in bloom," of course, are the concepts of an IAF and an IPE IPE - Integrated Programming Environment . This seems suspect. While the idea of such entities were popular at the time, the Western world certainly did not have the technology, capabilities, or let alone the willingness to ever make it a reality. Given the trend toward globalization globalization
Process by which the experience of everyday life, marked by the diffusion of commodities and ideas, is becoming standardized around the world. Factors that have contributed to globalization include increasingly sophisticated communications and transportation , the actual possibility of practical application and implementation is much nearer--and, in some ways, has become a reality.
There are, nevertheless, some redeeming qualities in Beaumont's work. Among them is his peculiar turn of phrase, which makes this book much more bearable bear·a·ble
That can be endured: bearable pain; a bearable schedule.
bear for the reader. For instance, at various points in the book, we are bringing home "the very large slab of diplomatic bacon," seeing folks "chained to the doghouse of the Maginot Line Maginot Line (măzh`ĭnō, Fr. mäzhēnō`), system of fortifications along the eastern frontier of France, extending from the Swiss border to the Belgian. ," drawing the "dull, stubby stub·by
adj. stub·bi·er, stub·bi·est
a. Having the nature of or suggesting a stub, as in shortness, broadness, or thickness: stubby fingers and toes.
b. weapon forged at Paris" and falling off of the "proverbial wagon." We see concepts likened to "keys on the faery ring of fanciful nostrums ... which won't fit 'into the lock of peace." When Hitler occupied Czechoslovakia, the European democracies "did not pick up the gauntlet Verb 1. pick up the gauntlet - be dared to do something and attempt it
take a dare
attempt, essay, try, assay, seek - make an effort or attempt; "He tried to shake off his fears"; "The infant had essayed a few wobbly steps"; "The police attempted to stop the hurled into their faces," and certain bombing raids were "increasingly bigger beads on the lengthening lengthening (lengkˑ·the·ning),
n the use of various massage or muscle energy techniques to relax and stretch muscle and connective tissue. string of the failure of large-scale bombing operations."
Again bearing the casual reader in mind, Beaumont uses his knowledge of popular culture to his (and ultimately the reader's) advantage. He backs up each segment of history with various movie, book, or song titles that reflect popular sentiment of the times, also citing various opinion polls and surveys. This brings the point home that not everything happened in a military or political bubble. The average citizen was reacting to it and formed opinions--although whether or not those opinions were heeded by the politicians and diplomats of the day is another story.
On the same note, there are many useful and interesting quotes throughout this book. This goes back to Beaumont's extensive use of primary sources. He keeps the quotes relatively short (there was an appreciated lack of block quotes in this book) and always relevant.
It's also worth noting that the chapters carry a flower motif throughout (with names such as "Blossoms on the Wind" and "Blossoms Scattered and Faded"). Strange for a book about politicians, the military, and airpower air·pow·er or air power
1. The organized, integrated use of aircraft and missiles for purposes of foreign policy, strategy, operations, and tactics.
2. The tactical and strategic strength of a country's air force. .
This book is a textbook in the strictest sense. At no point does he draw any conclusions. Well--okay, 10 years of research and he comes up with these: We need to look at precedent when we talk about an IAF today, and the likening lik·en
tr.v. lik·ened, lik·en·ing, lik·ens
To see, mention, or show as similar; compare.
[Middle English liknen, from like, similar; see like2 of the IFA Immunofluorescent assay (IFA)
A blood test sometimes used to confirm ELISA results instead of using the Western blotting. In an IFA test, HIV antigen is mixed with a fluorescent compound and then with a sample of the patient's blood. concept to a civilian police force is incorrect. The analogy actually should be to a fire-prevention league or an emergency response team. This causes the reader (at least this reader), upon finishing the book, to say incredulously, "I rehashed every history class I've ever taken to learn that the analogy is to the wrong civil service?" The answer to that is a categorical That which is unqualified or unconditional.
A categorical imperative is a rule, command, or moral obligation that is absolutely and universally binding.
Categorical is also used to describe programs limited to or designed for certain classes of people. yes.
The only other glimmer of a conclusion is in the last sentence of the book. Many authors choose to end with a succinct suc·cinct
adj. suc·cinct·er, suc·cinct·est
1. Characterized by clear, precise expression in few words; concise and terse: a succinct reply; a succinct style.
2. and powerful closing remark, whereas Beaumont clearly avoided that route. "What is clear is that, like crime and disease, there is no prospect of the problem going away nor will the hazards of persisting in our heedlessness and leaving our fate to the fall of metaphorical dice in the form of ad hoc For this purpose. Meaning "to this" in Latin, it refers to dealing with special situations as they occur rather than functions that are repeated on a regular basis. See ad hoc query and ad hoc mode. responses." Where was his editor on that one?
There is no doubt that Beaumont has incredible command of the knowledge he confers on the reader. But he is no Stephen Ambrose Stephen Edward Ambrose (January 10, 1936 – October 13, 2002) was an American historian and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon. He received his Ph.D. in 1960 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. ; this will not become a best-seller. As evidenced by the plain, academic cover and the publisher's write-up, it was not intended to be. However, it will be checked out of the library With a comprehensive index nearly half the length of the book and a footnote virtually every other sentence, it will be a great directory to further resources and a wonderful place to begin research on related topics.
"Right Backed By Might: The International Air Force Concept," 216 pages, published in February 2001 by Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport, Conn. Price: $64.
Bethany Stott is a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy.