Synopses & Reviews
“The side that knows when to fight and when not will take the victory. There are roadways not to be traveled, armies not to be attacked, walled cities not to be assaulted.” —Sun-Tzu
We live in dangerous times, when a new kind of leadership is required. Visionary and ruthlessly strategic, Warrior Politics extracts the best of the wisdom of the ages for modern leaders who are faced with the complex life-and-death challenges of today’s world—and determined to win.
Sun-Tzu urges leaders to “plan and calculate like a hungry man.” Machiavelli defines a policy not by its excellence but by its outcome. Churchill derives his greatness from his imagination of history. Livy shows that the vigor to face down adversaries must ultimately come from pride in our own past achievements. “Never mind if they call your caution timidity, your wisdom sloth, your generosity weakness,” he writes. “It is better that a wise enemy should fear you than that foolish friends should praise.” “Men often oppose a thing merely because they have no agency in planning it,” Alexander Hamilton says, “or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.”
Replete with maxims, warnings, examples from history, and shrewd recommendations, Warrior Politics wrests from the past the lessons we need to arm ourselves for the present. It offers an invaluable template for any decision-maker—in foreign policy or in business—faced with high stakes and inadequate knowledge of a mine-filled terrain. As we gear ourselves up for a new kind of war, no book is more prescient, more shrewd, or more essential.
"One of the most thought-provoking and profound books that I have recently read. As readable as it is stimulating." Henry Kissinger
Warrior Politics is a masterpiece expressing the simple but elusive truth of the relevance of ancient lessons to modern circumstances in the most lucid and persuasive prose I've ever read. New presidents seldom reach the White House with deep convictions regarding how best to advance our foreign interests. Most are torn between sympathies for Wilsonian moralism and more focused concern with our physical safety and economic welfare. In this brilliant book Robert Kaplan draws from Thucidides, Hobbes, Machiavelli, Madison and Marshall to assert timeless and penetrating lessons. A must-read for all who aspire to govern effectively." Robert McFarlane
Bestselling author Robert D. Kaplan, whose counsel has been sought by both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, has written a bracing inquiry into what a successful leader must do to navigate the world's increasingly treacherous political waters.
In a book that challenges us to see the world as it is, Kaplan offers the lessons of the great thinkers of history -- from Thucydides to Winston Churchill -- for whom a clear-eyed pragmatism was the most important guiding principle. Kaplan argues that it is more imperative than ever to understand how the struggles of today are strikingly similar to those of the past, and to wrest from the past what we need to arm ourselves for the future.
About the Author
Robert D. Kaplan is a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and the bestselling author of seven previous books on travel and foreign affairs, translated into many languages, including Balkan Ghosts, The Arabists, The Ends of the Earth, and The Coming Anarchy. He is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. He lives with his wife and son in western Massachusetts.