we hear critics of President Bush claimnthat he is spending too much time onnforeign policy, while neglecting domesticnaffairs.nAnother major problem was thatnDefense Secretary McNamara and hisncivilian planners had adopted a “counter-insurgency”nmodel that violated basicnstrategic principles. To Davidson,nstrategy implies that one “use one’snstrength against the enerhy’s weaknessesnwhile negating the reverse; seize andnhold the initiative.” In Vietnam, thenPentagon was told to accept thenenemy’s style of protracted, small-scalenwar even though “realities dictated thatnthe United States wage a short, savagenwar, using the maximum force necessary.”nThe result was that Hanoi won anwar fought on its terms.nBefore the Gulf war, the UnitednStates was headed down this same roadnagain under the rubric “low-intensitynconflict.” According to many thinktanks,nthe post-Cold War worid was tonBRIEF MENTIONSnbe characterized by guerrilla warfare,nterrorism, and other small-scale battles.nThe Pentagon was being urged tonabandon its tanks and high-tech weaponsnand to make draconian cuts innmanpower in favor of smaller, “light”nunits for fighting Third World foes.nSince the real reason for this theory’snpolitical popularity was fiscal, it cannotneven be considered an honest strategicnerror. The Gulf war demonstrated thenneed and the effectiveness of “heavy”ncombat units that could wage and winnwars on America’s terms. However, itnremains to be seen whether these militarynresults will change the budgetnplans of Defense Secretary Cheney, ornof Congress.nEven taking Davidson’s most pessimisticnestimate of one million troopsnand several years to win in Vietnamnaccording to his plan, “this price innAmerican casualties, in United Statesndollars, in time and above all, in internalndivisiveness would have been farnRONALD FIRBANK: THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIESnEdited by Steven MoorenElmwood Park, Illinois: The Dalkey Archive Press; 170 pp., $19.95nNot only is the English novelist Ronald Firbank (1886-1926) no longer much readneven by sophisticates, but the academic boomlet inspired by his work in the 1970’s andn80’s seems to have been deflated. There exist two biographies of Firbank, one bynMiriam J. Benkovitz (Knopf, 1973) and one by Brigid Brophy (Macmillan, 1973),nwhile New Directions has in print Five Novels. These novels — novellas really — arenof varying degrees of excellence, but all of them, truly, are excellent. “A personnwho dislikes Ronald Firbank,” said W.H. Auden, “may, for all I know, possessnsome admirable quality, but I do not wish ever to see him again.”nThe Complete Short Stories confirms Firbank as a master of what is called todayn”irreverence,” combined with the pithy moral judgment based on a system ofntraditional values. (In 1907, Ronald Firbank was received into the Roman CatholicnChurch.) These fifteen conies, as their author called them, were written betweenn1903 and 1908; but, although apprentice work, they are (most of them) clever andnoriginal. Brilliant with an artificiality that they at once reflect and condemn, theynare the product of an exquisitely aesthetic imagination that delights in revealing thenvanity of the aesthetic imagination. Nearly all of the protagonists are women, fromnwhich one may guess that for Firbank the opposition between narcissisticnaestheticism and spirituality is typically a feminine problem, although obviously itnis one with which the author himself had a personal familiarity. Evelyn Waugh,nborn the year when the earliest of these stories was written, owed much of hisnformative development to Firbank’s work, so much so that here, a bit uncannily,nwe find the seeds of two literary careers. (“A Study in Opal” reads like a clearnprophesy of Waugh’s greatest novel, A Handful of Dust.) Once Firbank hadnworked himself through what Steven Moore called his “effusions,” or fancifulnpieces, he was prepared for the rapier satire that, again like Waugh’s, challengednthe haute-bourgeoisie on its own terms, rather than from the greenery-yallery-nGrosvenor Gallery plane: ” ‘I am a work of art,’ [Lady Georgia Blueharnis] sighed,n’and this evening I feel nearly as wicked as Herodias.'”n”It was one of Lady Georgia’s habits to find equivalents for all her worsernfeelings in the Bible.” (“A Tragedy in Green.”)n— Chilton Williamson, Jr.n38/CHRONlCLESnnnless than the toll . . . exacted by thenfaulty strategy.” The strategy of gradualnescalation and “limited” war cyclednsome 2.5 million troops through Vietnamnduring a seven-year period at thencost of over fifty thousand Americannlives.nThere are two important lessons tonbe~learned from a comparison of thenVietnam War with the Gulf war: that itncosts less to win a war than it does tonlose one, and that it matters a great dealnwho sits in the White House as Commander-in-ChiefnWilliam R. Hawkins is president ofnthe Hamilton Center for NationalnStrategy in Knoxville, Tennessee.nWonders of thenWorldnby Paul HollandernCapturing the Culture: Film,nArt, and Politicsnby Richard GreniernWashington, D.C.: Ethics & PublicnPolicy Center; 392 pp., $24.95nWho would have predicted thatnwhile socialist-realist art formsndisappeared from most communist systemsn(even before the systems themselvesncollapsed), didactic and politicizednmovies and other products ofnmass culture would proliferate in thenUnited States through the 1970’s andn80’s? Similar ironies can be found innregard to Marxist scholarship, which innEastern Europe and the Soviet Union isnthoroughly discredited and outdatednwhile remaining in vogue in Americannuniversifies.nNot only was the politicization of thenentertainment industries unexpected, itnremains unremarked by the public atnlarge. Yet fashionable left-liberal films,nfilled with tendentious political messagesntailored to the specifications of anvariety of social critics, continue to pournfrom the movie and television studios.nMany of these films radiate aversion tonexisting American society, to capitalism,nand to Western culture, although theynsuggest reverence for an idealizednAmerica that has never existed.nLike all socialist-realist art, these filmsn