The exploitation of superior US systems for the collection, analysis and distribution of information currently undermines US leadership in the context of transatlantic crisis management. The USA's clear lead in information technology creates political liabilities with respect to both allies and adversaries, while political-technical tradeoffs warrant a more open approach to information systems, information production, and information sharing among allies. Clearly distinguishing the role of information in winning wars versus managing crises, this book extends existing models for how breakdowns occur in international bargaining. Allies, who share preferences but not the resolve of a coalition leader, are brought into the explanation for war as a rational outcome of incomplete information. Case studies ranging from Cold War Berlin to the War in Iraq illustrate how national classified systems that underwrite large margins of victory in conventional combat fail to inspire trust among allies during the crucial, preceding stage of crisis bargaining. The volume offers powerful arguments for a new direction in defence transformation.
'Dividing the transatlantic coalition has proven to be an effective strategy of weaker actors from Saddam Hussein to the Taliban. Damon Coletta shows convincingly how a common crisis information infrastructure operated jointly with our partners can encourage trust, reduce friction, strengthen resolve and bring allies together without compromising wartime operations. A refreshing contribution to the debate on how the U.S. can increase its legitimacy, reduce overstretch and stave off decline.' Emily Goldman, University of California, Davis, USA and US Department of State
Contents: The Atlantic alliance and global crisis management; Crisis, information, war; Testing information effects on crisis performance; Changing technology, enduring dilemmas: comparing the Berlin and Yugoslavia crises; Common assessment and Transatlantic cooperation: crisis management before the war in Iraq; Kantian union in the information age; Bibliography; Index.