The Savior Generals

How Five Great Commanders Saved Wars That Were Lost - From Ancient Greece to Iraq

Author: Victor Davis Hanson

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1608193632

Category: History

Page: 256

View: 6342

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Stirring portraits of five commanders whose dynamic leadership changed the course of war and history by prominent military historian Victor Davis Hanson. "Victor Davis Hanson has written another outstanding and eye-opening book"--The Washington Examiner Prominent military historian Victor Davis Hanson explores the nature of leadership with his usual depth and vivid prose in The Savior Generals, a set of brilliantly executed pocket biographies of five generals (Themistocles, Belisarius, William Tecumseh Sherman, Matthew Ridgway, and David Petraeus) who single-handedly saved their nations from defeat in war. War is rarely a predictable enterprise-it is a mess of luck, chance, and incalculable variables. Today's sure winner can easily become tomorrow's doomed loser. Sudden, sharp changes in fortune can reverse the course of war. These intractable circumstances are sometimes mastered by leaders of genius-asked at the eleventh hour to save a hopeless conflict, one created by others and frequently unpopular politically and with the public. The savior generals often come from outside the established power structure, employ radical strategies, and flame out quickly. Their careers regularly end in controversy. But their dramatic feats of leadership are vital slices of history-not merely as stirring military narrative, but as lessons on the dynamic nature of consensus, leadership, and destiny.
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Anatomy of Victory

Why the United States Triumphed in World War II, Fought to a Stalemate in Korea, Lost in Vietnam, and Failed in Iraq

Author: John D. Caldwell

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 153811478X

Category: History

Page: 568

View: 8330

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This groundbreaking book provides the first systematic comparison of America’s modern wars and why they were won or lost. John D. Caldwell uses the World War II victory as the historical benchmark for evaluating the success and failure of later conflicts. Unlike WWII, the Korean, Vietnam, and Iraqi Wars were limited, but they required enormous national commitments, produced no lasting victories, and generated bitter political controversies. Caldwell comprehensively examines these four wars through the lens of a strategic architecture to explain how and why their outcomes were so dramatically different. He defines a strategic architecture as an interlinked set of continually evolving policies, strategies, and operations by which combatant states work toward a desired end. Policy defines the high-level goals a nation seeks to achieve once it initiates a conflict or finds itself drawn into one. Policy makers direct a broad course of action and strive to control the initiative. When they make decisions, they have to respond to unforeseen conditions to guide and determine future decisions. Effective leaders are skilled at organizing constituencies they need to succeed and communicating to them convincingly. Strategy means employing whatever resources are available to achieve policy goals in situations that are dynamic as conflicts change quickly over time. Operations are the actions that occur when politicians, soldiers, and diplomats execute plans. A strategic architecture, Caldwell argues, is thus not a static blueprint but a dynamic vision of how a state can succeed or fail in a conflict.
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Dangerous Doctrine

How Obama's Grand Strategy Weakened America

Author: Robert G. Kaufman

Publisher: University Press of Kentucky

ISBN: 0813167221

Category: Political Science

Page: 304

View: 9981

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Much like Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, President Barack Obama came to office as a politician who emphasized conviction rather than consensus. During his 2008 presidential campaign, he pledged to transform the role of the United States abroad. His ambitious foreign policy goals included a global climate treaty, the peaceful withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, and a new relationship with Iran. Throughout Obama's tenure, pundits and scholars have offered competing interpretations of his "grand strategy," while others have maintained that his policies were incoherent or, at best, ad hoc. In Dangerous Doctrine, political scientist Robert G. Kaufman argues that the forty-fourth president has indeed articulated a clear, consistent national security policy and has pursued it with remarkable fidelity. Yet Kaufman contends that President Obama has imprudently abandoned the muscular internationalism that has marked US foreign policy since the end of World War II. Drawing on international relations theory and American diplomatic history, Kaufman presents a robust critique of the Obama doctrine as he situates the president's use of power within the traditions of American strategic practice. Focusing on the pivotal regions of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, this provocative study demonstrates how current executive branch leadership threatens America's role as a superpower, weakening its ability to spread democracy and counter threats to geopolitical order in increasingly unstable times. Kaufman proposes a return to the grand strategy of moral democratic realism, as practiced by presidents such as Harry S. Truman, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, with the hope of reestablishing the United States as the world's dominant power.
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