The relationship between military leaders and political leaders has always been a complicated one, especially in times of war. When the chips are down, who should run the show, the politicians or the generals? In Supreme Command, Eliot Cohen examines four great democratic war statesmen - Abraham Lincoln, Georges Clemenceau, Winston Churchill, and David Ben-Gurion - to reveal the surprising answer - the politicians. The generals may think they know how to win, but the statesmen are the ones who see the big picture.
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"Speak softly and carry a big stick", Theodore Roosevelt famously said in 1901 when the United States was emerging as a great power. It was the right sentiment, perhaps, in an age of imperial rivalry. But today many Americans doubt the utility of their global military presence, thinking it outdated, unnecessary, or even dangerous. In The Big Stick, Eliot A. Cohen - a scholar and practitioner of international relations - disagrees.
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The nuclear deal that the United States and five other great powers signed with Iran in July 2015 is the final product of a decade-long effort at arms control. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ranks as one of the most deficient arms control agreements in history. But Barack Obama has pledged to spend the remainder of his tenure fending off congressional pressure to adjust its terms. An even larger issue is Washington’s lack of a comprehensive Iran policy.
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I am a national security Never-Trumper who, after the election, made the case that young conservatives should volunteer to serve in the new administration, warily, their undated letters of resignation ready. That advice, I have concluded, was wrong.
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