Edward Nicolae Luttwak (born 4 November 1942) is a strategist and historian known for his works on grand strategy, geoeconomics, military history, and international relations. He is best known for being the author of ''Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook'''.''

Early life

Luttwak was born into a Jewish family in Arad, Romania, and raised in Italy and England.


Luttwak moved to London where he studied analytical economics at the London School of Economics. In 1968, when Luttwak was 26 and working in London as a consultant for the oil industry, he published the book ''Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook'', a pastiche of a military manual. The book explains in detail how to overthrow the government of a state, looking in particular at coups d'état on the African continent. The spy fiction author John le Carré praise the book and compared Luttwak to Machiavelli. In 1969 Luttwak graduated from the London School of Economics (LSE). Luttwak briefly worked for the Israeli army. In 1972 he moved to the United States for graduate studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS where he graduated with a PhD in International Relations in 1975. The title of his dissertation was ''Force and Diplomacy in Roman Strategies of Imperial Security''. Like his LSE roommate Richard Perle, Luttwak found employment at the Washington, D.C. thinktank ''Committee to Maintain a Prudent Defence Policy,'' assembled by Dean Acheson and Paul Nitze to lobby the Congress for anti-ballistic missile systems. In late 1974 and into 1975 a series of articles were published by neoconservative intellectuals, discussing whether the U.S. military should seize the Saudi Arabian oil fields. In March 1975 ''Harper's Magazine'' published an article Luttwak had written under the Pseudonym "Miles Ignotus" with the title "Seizing Arab Oil". Luttwak had published the gist of his argument on how to break Arab power previously under the title "Obsolescent Elites" using his real name in the London Times Literary Supplement. He suggested U.S. marines should storm the Saudi Arabian eastern beaches, assisted by 82nd Airborne Division parachute troops. The article and the author attracted considerable attention. But there is no evidence the Ford administration considered military intervention. In 2004 Luttwak told the ''Wall Street Journal'' he wrote the article "after discussion with several like-minded consultants and officials in the Pentagon". James Atkins, the then U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, publicly denounced the "invasion scenario" as a product of "sick minds". In 1976 he published ''The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire from the First Century AD to the Third'' which generated controversy among professional historians who saw Luttwak as an outsider and non-specialist in the field. However, the book is recognized as seminal because it raised basic questions about the Roman army and its defense of the Roman frontier. Since the 1980s, he has published articles on the Byzantine Empire. According to Harry Sidebottom, the majority of scholars were hostile to Luttwak's enthusiasm for fighting wars on client state territory and the book made uncomfortable reading in Western Europe because in the 1980s Luttwak became a security consultant to US president Ronald Reagan. In 1987 Luttwak published ''Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace'' According to Luttwak's publisher Harvard University Press the book has been widely acclaimed. Luttwak became known for his innovative policy ideas, suggesting for example that major powers' attempts to quell regional wars actually make conflicts more protracted. Luttwak went on to provide consulting services to multinational corporations and government agencies including various branches of the U.S. government and the U.S. military. He served on the editorial boards of ''Géopolitique'' (France), the ''Journal of Strategic Studies'', ''The European Journal of International Affairs'', and the ''Washington Quarterly''. He speaks English, French, Hebrew, Italian, and Spanish. In 1998 he moved to Bolivia, where he and a business associate purchased 19,000 hectares of land in Beni. Luttward set up a cattle ranch. Luttwak was a Lecturer in economics at the University of Bath. In 2004 Luttwak was awarded an honorary doctorate degree (LLD) from the University of Bath. He also received honorary degrees from the university of Arad and of Bucarest His book ''The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire'' was published in late 2009. Leon Wieseltier, who knew Edward Luttwak since the Reagan years wrote, "But Edward was this figure out of a Werner Herzog film. He was not some person who had read a bit of Tacitus and now worked at the Pentagon. He knew all the languages, the geographies, the cultures, the histories. He is the most bizarre humanist I have ever met."



In 2009 Richard Posner analyzed intellectuals with a public profile in the US. Posner claims that Luttwak and Robert D. Kaplan see many affinities between the United States and the declining Roman empire. This leads Luttwak and Kaplan to predict a looming Dark Age, one in which the US population will experience the decline into the Third World. Posner cites the 1992 article "Is America on the Way Down?" in which Luttwak predicted that by 2020 the US would be a impoverished Third World country and claimed that present trends would at best allow an optimistic estimate of debilitating economic poverty for the great majority of US citizens ten or fifteen years after 2020. According to Posner, Luttwak retained his economic pessimism when the economy of the United States stood at the turn of the century. In the 1999 book "Turbo-Capitalism: Winners and Losers in the Global Economy" Luttwak predicted that dynamic economic growth would increase ugly social phenomena, such as crime rates and job insecurity. Posner also examined Luttwak's wrong predictions shortly before the first Persian Gulf War. Luttwak predicted that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein would evacuate Kuwait "after a week or two of bombing (the bombing continued for six weeks without inducing him to do so) and warned that the use of ground forces 'could make Desert Storm a bloody, grinding combat with thousands of (U.S.) casualties.' The ground fighting lasted only four days, rather than the minimum of two weeks that Luttwak predicted, and U.S. casualties were minimal. Writing a month into the bombing, Luttwak was no longer predicting heavy casualties but he still opposed a ground campaign. He thought it would lead inevitably to a military occupation of Iraq from which we would be unable to disengage without disastrous foreign policy consequences." Luttwak has predicted that the Middle East will be embroiled in internecine war for the next thousand years, thanks to the 'brilliant stroke' of strategic genius, far exceeding even Bismarck's abilities, exemplified by George W. Bush when he ignited a religious war between Sunnis and Shiites which Luttwak envisaged enduring for a millennium. More recently Luttwak predicted in a 2016 op-ed in ''The Wall Street Journal'' that the Trump administration would pursue a foreign policy "unlikely to deviate from standard conservative norms", withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, avoiding involvement in Syria and Libya, eschewing trade wars, and modestly reducing spending — in short, "changes at the margin."

On grand strategy

thumb|right|Edward Luttwak at the Italian Parliament in 2011, with Secretary General of the Italy-USA_Foundation,_[[Corrado_Maria_Daclon_.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Corrado Maria Daclon">Italy-USA Foundation, Corrado_Maria_Daclon">Italy-USA_Foundation,_[[Corrado_Maria_Daclon_ The_idea_of_a_''grand_strategy''_in_[[geopolitics.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Corrado Maria Daclon ">Corrado Maria Daclon">Italy-USA Foundation, [[Corrado Maria Daclon The idea of a ''grand strategy'' in [[geopolitics">Corrado Maria Daclon ">Corrado Maria Daclon">Italy-USA Foundation, [[Corrado Maria Daclon The idea of a ''grand strategy'' in [[geopolitics and [[national security]] gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s. The 1969 book "The Politics of Grand Strategy: Britain and France Prepare for War, 1904-1914" by the US historian [[Samuel R. Williamson Jr.]] first applied the grand strategy concept to Anglo-French war planning prior to World War I. In the 1973 book "Grand strategy; principles and practices" John M Collins lectured the reader on how a military grand strategy is relevant to the US in the post-World War II time. In 1979 Luttwak followed with his book "The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire from the First Century AD to the Third". The controversy that followed Luttwak's book increased the wider interest in grand strategy. The academics Barry Posen and Paul Kennedy subsequently interpreted grand strategy for the time after the lost Vietnam War. The economic historian Alan Milward started to detect a ''strategic synthesis'' that could explain all factors that needed to be taken into account, that being political, military, social and psychological. While Luttwak has ever since insisted on the necessity of a grand strategy, he moved beyond the preoccupation with military intervention of his book on the Roman empire. Luttwak started to theorize diplomacy and military alliances. The next subject of his historic investigation was the Soviet Union. Luttwak concluded that the Soviet Union relied entirely on military instruments for its grand strategy. Luttwak argued that Carl von Clausewitz's warning against aggressor wars was no longer relevant in the post-World War II era. He reasoned that when confronted with weapons of mass destruction, statecraft needed a grand strategy, that is "the firm subordination of tactical priorities, material ideals, and warlike instincts to political goals". For Luttwak, grand strategy was no longer a military doctrine, instead grand strategy was a political utility were diplomacy and alliances needed to achieve the military security of the state. Writing in 2007 for the ''National Review'', former George W. Bush's speechwriter David Frum said of Luttwak: "His book on the grand strategy of the Roman Empire was terrific, and his ''Coup d'État'' is that astounding thing: a great work of political science that is also a hilarious satire.

Published works

Several books among those listed below have also been published in foreign language editions, in Arabic, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Indonesian (Bahasa), Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (and Brazilian Portuguese) Romanian, Russian, Spanish (Spain, also in Argentina and Venezuela), Swedish, and Turkish.


* ''Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook'' (London, Allen Lane, 1968; Revised Edition: Cambridge, MA, 1979; London, 1979; Sydney, 1979) * ''A Dictionary of Modern War'' (London, Allen Lane, 1971; revised edition in 1991 with Stuart L. Koehl; new edition in 1998) * ''The Strategic Balance, 1972'' (New York, Library Press, 1972) * ''The Political Uses of Sea Power'' (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974) * ''The US–USSR Nuclear Weapons Balance'' (Beverly Hills, Sage Publications, 1974) * ''The Israeli Army: 1948-1973'' (with Daniel Horowitz) (New York, HarperCollins and London, Allen Lane, 1975) * ''The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire from the First Century AD to the Third'' (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976) * ''Strategic Power: Military Capabilities and Political Utility'' (California, 1976) * ''Sea Power in the Mediterranean: Political Utility and Military Constraints'' (California, 1979) * ''Strategy and Politics: Collected Essays'' (New Brunswick, Transaction Publishers, 1980), * ''The Grand Strategy of the Soviet Union'' (New York, St. Martin's Press, 1983) * ''The Pentagon and the Art of War: The Question of Military Reform'' (New York, Simon & Schuster, 1985) * ''Strategy and History: Collected Essays, Volume Two'' (New Brunswick, Transaction Publishers, 1985) * ''On the Meaning of Victory: Essays on Strategy'' (New York, Simon & Schuster, 1986), * ''Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace'' (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1987) * ''The Endangered American Dream: How To Stop the United States from Being a Third World Country and How To Win the Geo-Economic Struggle for Industrial Supremacy'' (New York, Simon & Schuster, 1993) * ''Turbo-Capitalism: Winners and Losers in the Global Economy'' (London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998), * ''Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace, Revised and Enlarged Edition'' (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2002) * ''The Middle of Nowhere: Why the Middle East Is Not Important'' (London, Atlantic Books, 2008) * ''The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire'' (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2009) * ''The Virtual American Empire: War, Faith, And Power'' (New Brunswick and London, Transaction Publishers, 2009) * ''The Rise of China vs. the Logic of Strategy'' (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2012) In Japanese only: * "China 4.0" (Tokyo, 2016) * "Japan 4.0" (Tokyo, 2018) * "Japan 4.0" in Mongolian only (Cyrillic) (Ulaan Baatar, 2019) * Rejuvenating Japan: a national strategy (Tokyo: Asuka Shinsha, 2019) n Japanese only, with Dr. Okuyama, Masashi In Italian only: * (What really is democracy) with Susanna Creperio Verratti (Milan, Arnoldo Mondadori, 1995) * (The ghost of poverty: a new policy to defend the wellbeing of citizens) with Carlo Pelanda and Giulio Tremonti (Milan, Arnoldo Mondadori, 1995) * (Where is Italy going? Interview with Edward Luttwak) with Gianni Perrelli (Newton Compton, 1997) * (The book of liberties. The citizen and the state: rules, rights and duties in a democracy) with Susanna Creperio Verratti (Arnoldo Mondadori, 2000) * (The new leaders. Winning in the 21st century) with Arduino Paniccia (Padua, Marsilio, 2000) As contributor: * ''Vietnam: Four American Perspectives'' edited by Patrick J. Hearden with ''The Impact of Vietnam on Strategic Thinking in the United States'' (Purdue University Press, 1990) * ''The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, 1991'' edited by Grethe B. Peterson with ''Strategy: A New Era?'' (University of Utah, 1991) * ''Feeding Mars: Logistics in Western Warfare from the Middle Ages to the Present'' edited by John A. Lynn with ''Logistics and the Aristocratic Idea of War'' (Boulder, Westview Press, 1994) * ''Voluntary Simplicity: Responding to Consumer Culture'' edited by Daniel Doherty and Amitai Etzioni with ''Consuming For Love'' (Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003) Preface, foreword: * ''The Parameters Of War: Military History from the Journal of the U.S. Army War College'' edited by Lloyd J. Matthews and Dale E. Brown (Washington, Pergamon-Brassey's, 1987) * ''Strategic Air Power in Desert Storm'' by John Andreas Olsen (London, Routledge, 2003) * ''Free Trade Doesn't Work'' by Ian Fletcher (U.S. Business & Industry Council, 2010; revised edition in 2011) * ''La Repubblica dei mandarini. Viaggio nell'Italia della burocrazia, delle tasse e delle leggi inutili'' (The Republic of mandarins. Travel in the Italy of bureaucracy, taxes and unnecessary laws) by Paolo Bracalini (Padua, Marsilio, 2014)

Selected book reviews

Luttwak has written book reviews for publications such as ''The American Spectator'', ''Commentary Magazine'', ''London Review of Books'', ''The New Republic'', and ''The New York Times''. * * * * *

Selected articles

* * * *
"Why China Will Not Become the Next Global Power… But It Could”
''Infinity Journal'', Fall 2011


Further reading

"The Inveterate Strategist: An Interview with Edward Luttwak"
by Richard Yarrow & Max Kuhelj Bugaric, ''Harvard International Review'', Fall 2019.
"What the Byzantines Can Teach Us about Our National Security"
by Ishmael Jones, ''American Thinker'', March 6, 2010.
"The Defense Intellectual: Edward N. Luttwak"
by Andrew Cockburn, a profile in ''Grand Street'', Spring 1987.

External links

Interview about Libya
from th
Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives
October 10, 1981.
Interview about Soviet Union
from th
Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives
December 15, 1983. * , originally published in Lingua Franca (magazine), an analysis containing several pages on Luttwak's life and thought, January 23, 2001. * Interviews ''Conversations with History'' with Harry Kreisler: *
The Role of Strategy in International Politics
March 9, 1987. *

November 4, 2007. *
The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire
December 7, 2009. *
The Rise of China Versus the Logic of Strategy
January 2, 2013. *
Luttwak's articles
for the ''London Review of Books''. {{DEFAULTSORT:Luttwak, Edward Category:1942 births Category:Living people Category:Academics of the University of Bath Category:Alumni of the London School of Economics Category:American essayists Category:American people of Romanian-Jewish descent Category:American military writers Category:Johns Hopkins University alumni Category:American military historians Category:American male writers Category:People from Arad, Romania Category:Military strategists Category:Jewish American writers Category:American male essayists Category:The Washington Institute for Near East Policy Category:Romanian emigrants to the United States Category:Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs