The Big Stick : The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force
Overview - "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in an age of imperial rivalry but today many Americans doubt the utility of their global military presence, thinking it outdated, unnecessary or even dangerous. Read more...
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More About The Big Stick by Eliot A. Cohen
"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in an age of imperial rivalry but today many Americans doubt the utility of their global military presence, thinking it outdated, unnecessary or even dangerous.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. He argues that hard power remains essential for American foreign policy. While acknowledging that the US must be careful about why, when, and how it uses force, he insists that its international role is as critical as ever, and armed force is vital to that role.
Cohen explains that American leaders must learn to use hard power in new ways and for new circumstances. The rise of a well-armed China, Russia's conquest of Crimea and eastern Ukraine, nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran, and the spread of radical Islamist movements like ISIS are some of the key threats to global peace. If the United States relinquishes its position as a strong but prudent military power, and fails to accept its role as the guardian of a stable world order we run the risk of unleashing disorder, violence and tyranny on a scale not seen since the 1930s. The US is still, as Madeleine Albright once dubbed it, "the indispensable nation."
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Cohen (Conquered into Liberty), a Johns Hopkins professor of strategic studies and a leading neo-conservative theorist, makes the case for hard power in American foreign policy, warning that shrinking U.S. interest in guaranteeing global order has already led to increased international instability, nuclear threats, and terrorism. Cohen begins with a calculus and defense of the U.S.s post-9/11 wars and their partial successes. The U.S. remains the worlds dominant military power, he asserts, but its antagonists, unlike during the Cold War, are dispersed around the world. Cohen points to Chinas growth, ambition, and militarization, musing on the possible triggers and consequences of a U.S.-China clash that could go nuclear. He also points to Russia, Iran, North Korea, and even putative ally Pakistan as potential threats. Cohen sees no future accommodation beyond a tactical truce between radical Islamists and the West, but, surprisingly, he sidesteps the role Israel plays as both a source of conflict and an American ally in the Middle East. Eager for the U.S. to remain assertive worldwide, Cohen makes clearheaded assessments that many strategists who dont share his views and policy advice will nonetheless find strongly thought out. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (Jan.)