"War presidents" are hardly exceptional in modern American history. To a greater or lesser extent, every president since Wilson has been a War President. Each has committed our country to the pursuit of peace, yet involved us in a seemingly endless series of wars -- conflicts that the American foreign policy establishment has generally made worse. The chief reason, argues Angelo Codevilla in Advice to War Presidents, is that America's leaders have habitually imagined the world as they wished it to be rather than as it is: They acted under the assumptions that war is not a normal tool of statecraft but a curable disease, and that all the world's peoples wish to live as Americans do. As a result, our leaders have committed America to the grandest of ends while constantly subverting their own goals.
Employing many negative examples from the Bush II administration but also ranging widely over the last century, Advice to War Presidents offers a primer on the unchanging principles of foreign policy. Codevilla explains the essentials -- focusing on realities such as diplomacy, alliances, war, economic statecraft, intelligence, and prestige, rather than on meaningless phrases like "international community," "peacekeeping" and "collective security." Not a realist, neoconservative, or a liberal internationalist, Codevilla follows an older tradition: that of historians like Thucydides, Herodotus, and Winston Churchill -- writers who analyzed international affairs without imposing false categories.
Advice to War Presidents is an effort to talk our future presidents down from their rhetorical highs and get them to practice statecraft rather than wishful thinking, lest they give us further violence.
About the Author
Angelo M. Codevilla has taught political theory and international relations at Stanford, Princeton, and Georgetown University and is presently a professor of international relations at Boston University. He is the author of nine books, including The Character of Nations, The Arms Control Delusion, and a new translation of Machiavelli's The Prince. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
Publishers Weekly Accessible Codevilla writes intelligently on topics as diverse as the affect of economic sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s and contemporary relations between Russia and Georgia.”
Library Journal Veteran international relations author Codevilla questions basic assumptions that have guided U.S. foreign policy since Woodrow Wilson tried to make the world safe for democracy Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.”
American Spectator Machiavelli could not have written a better book to give advice to war presidents.'”
Claremont Review Compelling reading bracing and intelligent.”
FamilySecurityMatters.org [An] expansive and important work [Advice to War Presidents] should be required reading for Senators and their staff as an essential primer to the arcane world of arms control.”
First Principals A refreshingly unashamed conservative critique of twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy, especially with regard to war and the use of force.”