David Horner: Australia and the 'New World Order'

Australia’s fifth official war historian

Peter Edwards


Australia and the ‘New World Order’: From Peacekeeping to Peace Enforcement: 1988–1991
by David Horner
Cambridge University Press, $150 hb, 696 pp, 9780521765879


When the United States recently announced its commitment to enforce a ‘no-fly zone’ in Libya, the State Department spokesman was asked whether the United States was now at war. He could only manage a floundering non-answer. The unfortunate spokesman’s difficulty with this apparently simple question is a reminder of the vast changes in the nature of military conflict in recent decades. Major conflicts are seldom a matter of one state formally declaring war on another, with a largely agreed set of rules on the conduct of operations (sometimes flouted in horrific ways) and with some generally accepted markers of victory and defeat.

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Peter Edwards

Peter Edwards

Peter Edwards is an historian specialising in Australia’s national security policies and policy-making. He is the Official Historian of Australia’s involvement in conflicts in Malaya, Borneo, and Vietnam, for which he wrote Crises and Commitments (1992) and A Nation at War (1997). He is also the author of Arthur Tange: Last of the Mandarins (2006), Permanent Friends? Historical Reflections on the Australian–American Alliance (2005), and Prime Ministers and Diplomats (1983); the co-editor of Facing North (vol. 2, 2003); the editor of Defence Policy-Making (2008) and  Australia Through American Eyes (1977); and a founding editor of the series of Documents on Australian Foreign Policy.

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