April 16, 2018

Clash of the Strategists

Featuring Robert D. Kaplan

Source: The National Interest

Journalist Dov Zakheim

At a time when President Trump’s National Security Strategy claims to be one of “principled realism that is guided by outcomes, not ideology,” three new books take different sides in the long-standing battle between realists and neoconservatives. Robert Kaplan’s collection of essays, The Return of Marco Polo’s World: War, Strategy and American Interests in the Twenty-First Century, presents a well-crafted case for a hard-headed approach to international security that nevertheless incorporates America’s idealistic impulse. Elliot Abrams, on the other hand, makes an impassioned plea for a return to the democracy agenda so beloved of the neocons. As the title of his book, Realism and Democracy: American Foreign Policy after the Arab Spring, makes clear, however, he attempts to cloak his interventionist views in realist terminology. Harlan Ullman charts a third course. His Anatomy of Failure: Why America Loses Every War It Starts asserts in effect that neither approach has been consistently underpinned by what he terms “sound strategic thinking,” with the result that U.S. policy has suffered setbacks both on and off the battlefield.

Read the full review at The National Interest

  • Robert D. Kaplan

    Senior Fellow

    Robert D. Kaplan is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, originally joining the Center in March 2008. He is the bestselling author of fifteen books on fo...