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In Warrior Politics, the esteemed journalist and analyst Robert D. Kaplan explores the wisdom of the ages for answers for today’s leaders. While the modern world may seem more complex and dangerous than ever before, Kaplan writes from a deeper historical perspective to reveal how little things actually change. Indeed, as Kaplan shows us, we can look to history’s most influ In Warrior Politics, the esteemed journalist and analyst Robert D. Kaplan explores the wisdom of the ages for answers for today’s leaders. While the modern world may seem more complex and dangerous than ever before, Kaplan writes from a deeper historical perspective to reveal how little things actually change. Indeed, as Kaplan shows us, we can look to history’s most influential thinkers, who would have understood and known how to navigate today’s dangerous political waters. Drawing on the timeless work of Sun Tzu, Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, among others, Kaplan argues that in a world of unstable states and an uncertain future, it is increasingly imperative to wrest from the past what we need to arm ourselves for the road ahead. Wide-ranging and accessible, Warrior Politics is a bracing book with an increasingly important message that challenges readers to see the world as it is, not as they would like it to be.


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In Warrior Politics, the esteemed journalist and analyst Robert D. Kaplan explores the wisdom of the ages for answers for today’s leaders. While the modern world may seem more complex and dangerous than ever before, Kaplan writes from a deeper historical perspective to reveal how little things actually change. Indeed, as Kaplan shows us, we can look to history’s most influ In Warrior Politics, the esteemed journalist and analyst Robert D. Kaplan explores the wisdom of the ages for answers for today’s leaders. While the modern world may seem more complex and dangerous than ever before, Kaplan writes from a deeper historical perspective to reveal how little things actually change. Indeed, as Kaplan shows us, we can look to history’s most influential thinkers, who would have understood and known how to navigate today’s dangerous political waters. Drawing on the timeless work of Sun Tzu, Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, among others, Kaplan argues that in a world of unstable states and an uncertain future, it is increasingly imperative to wrest from the past what we need to arm ourselves for the road ahead. Wide-ranging and accessible, Warrior Politics is a bracing book with an increasingly important message that challenges readers to see the world as it is, not as they would like it to be.

30 review for Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Requires a Pagan Ethos

  1. 4 out of 5

    James

    Kaplan is thoroughly versed in history and classic philosophy, and some of his message in this book is valid and valuable. However - I believe it is flawed in two ways: his emphasis on realpolitik outweighs morality too heavily; he's right that this is a balance that must be struck, but I find his fulcrum, so to speak, too far toward the amoral end of that continuum - he seems to value stability in a society so heavily that he loses sight of liberties, the things we enshrine in our Bill of Right Kaplan is thoroughly versed in history and classic philosophy, and some of his message in this book is valid and valuable. However - I believe it is flawed in two ways: his emphasis on realpolitik outweighs morality too heavily; he's right that this is a balance that must be struck, but I find his fulcrum, so to speak, too far toward the amoral end of that continuum - he seems to value stability in a society so heavily that he loses sight of liberties, the things we enshrine in our Bill of Rights. He appears to be too comfortable with situations in which some are oppressed and abused as long as the majority are relatively docile. His expressed admiration for Kissinger and Reagan sticks in my throat when I reflect on both the massive suffering they casually inflicted - it wasn't so much that they considered the impact on people in other places and decided that the price was worth paying (for whom?) but that they never even considered those people. Not only was that evil beyond justification, it caused blowback that hurt the U.S. in the long run much more than it helped us or anyone else. The other flaw I see is that he leaves out a big part of the picture in his analysis of the uses of power. He focuses on both military and economic power as tools of raw force. A lot of what he has to say about their utility is legitimate, but he neglects the strategic value of soft power - the best example I can think of is the Marshall Plan, which deliberately diffused and to some extent diminished America's potential for dominance after World War II for the sake of recreating both battered allies and former enemies as partners in Europe and the Far East. At the same time it reduced opportunities for totalitarianism to regrow (the far right type) or spread (communism), it won the U.S. huge amounts of goodwill and also led to strong economic benefits in the form of more prosperous markets down the road. It didn't eliminate the need for military and economic power that could be used to attack, but it augmented those kinds of power - unlike the USSR, which never seemed to get beyond exploiting any other nation it could, regardless of rhetoric about the brotherhood of world socialism. Today, we need military power, of course - as a retired Marine officer, I am very aware of that. In addition, though, we could probably do ourselves and the rest of the world huge amounts of good by channeling some of the drive and resources that are going into hard power into soft power initiatives - for instance, without weakening our defensive power in any real way, we could decide to forgo building another aircraft carrier and instead create projects to provide safe drinking water and childhood immunizations in many parts of the Third World that currently see us as nothing but bullies. I admire this author and his work, but of all his books that I've read, so far, this one is the disappointment.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Arminius

    Does history repeat itself? For those who do not think so, read this book. The author uses the advice of past intellectuals and shows how they predicted the future from the past. For example, he uses Thucydides description of Athens’s difficulty defeating the tiny island of Mytilea due to the arrogance it possessed. Does the French and U.S. involvement in Vietnam and the Soviet’s in Chechnya and Afghanistan ring a bell?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    I'm still figuring out my feelings for this book. Half the time while I was reading it, I was thinking to myself: "This man is brilliant!" The other half, I was thinking, "He has no idea what he's talking about!" Kaplan's slender work is, at its core, a tract about how America should direct its foreign policy in future endeavors. To that end, Kaplan analyzes historical writings on foreign policy and war, although only those that he feels embody characteristics that American politicians should emp I'm still figuring out my feelings for this book. Half the time while I was reading it, I was thinking to myself: "This man is brilliant!" The other half, I was thinking, "He has no idea what he's talking about!" Kaplan's slender work is, at its core, a tract about how America should direct its foreign policy in future endeavors. To that end, Kaplan analyzes historical writings on foreign policy and war, although only those that he feels embody characteristics that American politicians should employ. Some of the chapters are very weak. He can ramble a bit, his arguments are sometimes unsupported, and his point can be vague - the Machiavelli chapter in particular comes to mind as falling victim to this. But other chapters are very strong - the chapter on Livy comes to mind for this, as does his discussion of Thucydides. I don't remember which chapter it's in, but I also greatly enjoyed his discussion of the free media and the part it plays de-legitimizing government, which gave me a lot to think about. Ultimately, I was intrigued enough by the book that I'm planning on forwarding it to one of my brothers. Since I virtually never send people books I've read, that's saying something! This book has staying power.

  4. 4 out of 5

    L.J.

    Not Kaplan's best book, but has some very good and tough arguments to defend as with all philosophical threads. But Kaplan lays out his own experiences and his studied mind to bare and having an IA (International Affairs) degree I recall many of these topics in my undergrad life. Kaplan's original 'Coming Anarchy' reportage started in Time magazine if memory serves me and it was a watershed article on truth versus gloss. Kaplan sees the places that conflicts have turned into wastelands-either po Not Kaplan's best book, but has some very good and tough arguments to defend as with all philosophical threads. But Kaplan lays out his own experiences and his studied mind to bare and having an IA (International Affairs) degree I recall many of these topics in my undergrad life. Kaplan's original 'Coming Anarchy' reportage started in Time magazine if memory serves me and it was a watershed article on truth versus gloss. Kaplan sees the places that conflicts have turned into wastelands-either politically or economically (and sadly sometimes both) and bravely fights common consensus on what the future may hold. I agree with him on the lack of United Nations efficacy on most matters and how it truly has become a crony filled, self-important bureaucracy, much like the failed governments that are represented in his writing. People can fault him for his opinion but he does an incredibly effective job of relating international matters in a way that isn't populist editorializing and instead stating the hard truths involved in these conflicts and the harder solutions for future leaders. Good for IA interested readers.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Taka

    Good! This came highly recommended by John Gray (who calls it "brilliant" not just in his Straw Dogs but in Al Qaeda and What It Means to be Modern, so I had to read it. And no wonder John Gray likes it, because there is so much overlap between the two thinkers. Kaplan's got a fine historical/philosophical sensibility that will find company in thinkers such as Nassim Taleb (who has tremendous respect for John Gray). In this book, Kaplan distills wisdom from ancient sources and apply it to modern Good! This came highly recommended by John Gray (who calls it "brilliant" not just in his Straw Dogs but in Al Qaeda and What It Means to be Modern, so I had to read it. And no wonder John Gray likes it, because there is so much overlap between the two thinkers. Kaplan's got a fine historical/philosophical sensibility that will find company in thinkers such as Nassim Taleb (who has tremendous respect for John Gray). In this book, Kaplan distills wisdom from ancient sources and apply it to modern international relations. Pragmatic, realist, and Machiavellian in its best sense, Kaplan upholds the morality of consequences (over morality of good intentions) when it comes to international politics/policymaking. Which makes sense because what matters at that level are the results, not intentions. I haven't thought through the implications and how his views would interact with Gray's and Margalit's (whose On Compromise and Rotten Compromises I read in tandem with this book and found deliciously coincidental overlap). One difference between Gray and Kaplan is that the latter embraces an imperial role for the US, while the former rejects it, but that's just one difference among many. Made me want to read ancient history and Machiavelli, and I'll definitely check out more of Kaplan's books, too. Some morsels of wisdom include: -the link between technological acceleration and barbarism -Like all wise men, he [Churchill] thought tragically: for we create moral standards in order to measure our own inadequacies (18) -Livy: the importance of pride in our accomplishments and romanticizing our past; "Never mind if they call your caution timidity, your wisdom sloth, your generalship weakness; it is better that a wise enemy should fear you than that foolish friends should praise" (35, from Livy) -Sun-Tzu: the importance of pursuing national self-interest strategically to avoid war -Thucydides: human behavior is guided by fear, self-interest, and honor -Machiavellian virtue: "In an imperfect world, good men bent on doing good must know how to be bad" (53); manly vigor usually in the pursuit of the general good -Projecting power comes first, values second (61) -"Anxious foresight" and keeping a sense of fallibility/vulnerability = cornerstone of prudent policy -What can be foreseen is what changes slowly or not at all (66) -Reagan: "I do not believe in fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing" (71) -Hobbes: peace/order first, then freedom and morality -Realism: international relations are governed by different moral principles than domestic politics (103); morality lies in "fidelity to one's own sense of honor and decency." -Democracies have been as prone to war as other regimes. (106) -"War is subject to democratic control only when it is a condition distinctly separate from peace"(121) -The tunnel vision of the media: "nothing matters to them except the horrendous spectacle before their eyes—about which something must be done! -Warring States in China and Raison de système: "the belief that making the system work constituted the highest morality, because the alternative was chaos" (139) -"there is no greater attribute for a ruler than humility built on an accurate assessment of his own limits" (153)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tim O'Hearn

    I found this book left on a seat while departing an airplane. It would have been a great book to actually read on an airplane, ideally from Chicago to New York. But only if purchased at an airport book store. As a book read in my living room (and having been stolen), it was engaging but not spectacular. There was a lot of critical thinking, which I'm big on, and some really respectable interpretations of philosophy, which is something I haven't approached since high school. What surprised me the I found this book left on a seat while departing an airplane. It would have been a great book to actually read on an airplane, ideally from Chicago to New York. But only if purchased at an airport book store. As a book read in my living room (and having been stolen), it was engaging but not spectacular. There was a lot of critical thinking, which I'm big on, and some really respectable interpretations of philosophy, which is something I haven't approached since high school. What surprised me the most was how significant the United State's involvement in the Balkans under Bill Clinton was, as that now seems completely lost to history. I was mostly unaware of it aside from some really gritty photos I've seen on Wikipedia and, if I had to speculate, some Vice documentary with a compelling thumnail that I've watched at least five minutes of. I don't know who I would recommend this book to aside from the type of person to pay for Economy+ and leave a book on a plane.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jon Walsh

    This book is really an important read. It was more philosophical than political, which I appreciate, and Kaplan does a masterful job in describing, analyzing, and comparing the contexts of the wars and political structures of ancient Greece, China, the Roman Empire and contemporary Europe and then orienting how they fit into the modern/post cold war era. One of the central philosophical themes presented throughout deals with the difference between "morals," and "interests." Kaplan notes how we This book is really an important read. It was more philosophical than political, which I appreciate, and Kaplan does a masterful job in describing, analyzing, and comparing the contexts of the wars and political structures of ancient Greece, China, the Roman Empire and contemporary Europe and then orienting how they fit into the modern/post cold war era. One of the central philosophical themes presented throughout deals with the difference between "morals," and "interests." Kaplan notes how we should all strive for moral virtues within our private lives, however he espouses the realism and real world Politik elaborated on by scholars such as Hobbes and Nye as being rooted firmly within the notion that smart diplomacy rests in weighing the balance between self-interest and compromise. Essentially, he seems to intimate that conflating moral issues with self-interest removes an ability to workout compromised solutions that provide stability to world order- as any issue labeled as fundamentally "moral" means that there can be no compromise, simply because to do so would by definition lead to an immoral result. That is not to say that Kaplan champions or calls for simply allowing others to always continue amoral actions unabated, far from it. Kaplan does a fine job in elucidating the moral reasoning behind negotiated compromise, primarily by implying that there is no one cultural or universal set of morals, and that compromise itself often serves as the basis from which further progress develops, rather than engaging in the alternative of never compromising (on a "moral" stance) which potentially causes only more strife and leads to more suffering in both the short and long term. Anyone interested in geopolitical dynamics, philosophy of morality within alliance structures, and transnational organizations, should study this book as a guide that shows how past history can repeat itself in futures generations, regardless of how separated they may feel from ancient generations.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Holiday

    As someone who adores Greek's warrior epics and the strategy tomes of Machiavelli and Von Clauswitz, this book was disappointing and frustrating. Not only does Kaplan regularly incorrectly understand the people he's cribbing from, but he does so in a boring, uninspired fashion. For example, Machiavelli wrote of "virtu" NOT "virtue" as he wrongly titles Chapter V. Virtu is the spirit and skill of a leader - the cunning one must have to overcome fortune - and although the words are similar, it has As someone who adores Greek's warrior epics and the strategy tomes of Machiavelli and Von Clauswitz, this book was disappointing and frustrating. Not only does Kaplan regularly incorrectly understand the people he's cribbing from, but he does so in a boring, uninspired fashion. For example, Machiavelli wrote of "virtu" NOT "virtue" as he wrongly titles Chapter V. Virtu is the spirit and skill of a leader - the cunning one must have to overcome fortune - and although the words are similar, it has absolutely nothing to do with virtuousness. Or worse, there's a line in the same chapter where Kaplan lists thinkers who have been influenced heavily by Machiavelli. Heading that list most impossibly: Aristotle. It's difficult to ignore Kaplan's weak scholarship. Their are countless instances where the reader sees what source Kaplan should be reaching for, only to be disappointed when he is forced to settle on something else. Even an undergrad student could have matched him on his history. Even when one can, however, ignore this, they're left with one question: What does this book add to the discussion? Not only are the primary sources incredibly readable, but there have been dozens of better books that compile them and ultimately add value through their analysis. One would be much better off reading Robert Greene's The 33 Strategies of War (Joost Elffers Books) or The 48 Laws of Power.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mark Valentine

    Kaplan has proven himself a student of the ancients and he has done his damndest to secure that "the more cautious we are, the more effective we will be" (p. 154) in a Foreign Policy that uses its military force judiciously. I liked how he works to re-instate the Greco-Roman back into our cultural discourse; at one point he declares that the repeated use of Judeo-Christion reference about our heritage lacks exactly one half of the truth. His effort in this book is to restore the ancients into co Kaplan has proven himself a student of the ancients and he has done his damndest to secure that "the more cautious we are, the more effective we will be" (p. 154) in a Foreign Policy that uses its military force judiciously. I liked how he works to re-instate the Greco-Roman back into our cultural discourse; at one point he declares that the repeated use of Judeo-Christion reference about our heritage lacks exactly one half of the truth. His effort in this book is to restore the ancients into contemporary discussions of current events and for this, I applaud the book wholeheartedly. Where I fault the book--and here comes my bias--is in its nascent conservatism. Kaplan hums the melody of Conservatism without singing outright the words. I will support the notion, however, that a liberal democracy must have a disciplined militia at its service and not be afraid to use it. Unfortunately, since the book has been published, the U. S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan strikes more hegemonic chords for Empire than any soft-sell; the Bush administration's protection of corporate interests (oil, commerce) have more apparent rationale than the smokescreen of establishing democracy in the Middle East that we have been told from that White House. In this regard, Kaplan runs perilously too close to being a spokesperson for a flawed military invasion.

  10. 4 out of 5

    P.S. Carrillo

    I have read several of Mr. Kaplan' s books and admire his vast experience as an international journalist. To enjoy this particular book, the reader must accept two premises: 1.The future will present conflicts between nations that can only be successfully approached with the wisdom and philosophy of the greatest minds that the world has known, and 2. War is inevitable amongst men in any era. I accept and agree with the two aforementioned premises (I take exception however to the author's insiste I have read several of Mr. Kaplan' s books and admire his vast experience as an international journalist. To enjoy this particular book, the reader must accept two premises: 1.The future will present conflicts between nations that can only be successfully approached with the wisdom and philosophy of the greatest minds that the world has known, and 2. War is inevitable amongst men in any era. I accept and agree with the two aforementioned premises (I take exception however to the author's insistence that Ronald Reagan was a brilliant strategist or brilliant at anything other than being a mouthpiece for the emerging right wing party). Towards the end of the book Mr. Kaplan refers briefly to the new stratagems that we may face by fierce uncivilized opponents and that we will have to be grounded in our pagan warrior ethos to prevail. I agree with that as well but I think all the military aggression will be for naught as the consequences of global warming envelope us all and our great military industrial complex shrivels in the face of collapsing economic systems required to support it. Still a wonderful read that makes me long for the days when it was only the barbarians at the gates that we had to worry about.

  11. 4 out of 5

    A.K. Lee

    I've recently finished Warrior Politics by Robert D. Kaplan, in a bid to boost my understanding of foreign policy and statesmanship. Political thinking doesn't come easy for me, but Kaplan has written something that I can easily use as a reference in the future. At 155 pages, it is not a long read, but its contents require thoughtful consideration after you shut the covers. The central idea of the book is that statesmen and rulers should look to the past in order to govern the future, because pe I've recently finished Warrior Politics by Robert D. Kaplan, in a bid to boost my understanding of foreign policy and statesmanship. Political thinking doesn't come easy for me, but Kaplan has written something that I can easily use as a reference in the future. At 155 pages, it is not a long read, but its contents require thoughtful consideration after you shut the covers. The central idea of the book is that statesmen and rulers should look to the past in order to govern the future, because people remain consistently human in their urges and motivations; there is a pervasive pessimism in that we as a species have yet to outgrow our territorial and aggressive instincts. Of course, looking at the world as it is in 2017, it is hard to dispute that particular perspective. Kaplan writes from the perspective of an American, and hence the focus of the book's conclusion is on how America can become the next great empire, by using its overwhelming power (military, economic and cultural) to create an international government. However, from my point of view, that is an unwelcoming thought. For every conquering nation, there are many conquered states. The notion of an American-led Leviathan is as unpalatable as a resurgent Chinese empire or a Russian hegemony. On the whole, Warrior Politics was a fascinating read. Even though this was first published in 2002, much of it is relevant today. After all, as Kaplan states, there is no modern or postmodern world, "only a continuation of the ancient".

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Wilkins

    This was my least favorite Kaplan book, I think because there was no geography in it. He goes through the ancient classical political theorists with small comment on current (2002) affairs. He is supposedly making predictions for the 21st century. He did get it right in some respects. "Unfortunately the enemies we are likely to face will not be soldiers with the discipline and professionalism which that word implies in the West but "warriors"---erratic primitives of shifting allegiance, habituat This was my least favorite Kaplan book, I think because there was no geography in it. He goes through the ancient classical political theorists with small comment on current (2002) affairs. He is supposedly making predictions for the 21st century. He did get it right in some respects. "Unfortunately the enemies we are likely to face will not be soldiers with the discipline and professionalism which that word implies in the West but "warriors"---erratic primitives of shifting allegiance, habituated to violence with no stake in civil order." Also something to consider in "nationalism in our age is simply a secular form of fundamentalism." Yet he says we need to "encourage American patriotism--honoring the flag, July 4th celebrations, and so on--these must survive long enough to provide the military armature for an emerging global civilization that may eventually make such patriotism obsolete." He talked about the "populist rage fueled by social and economic tensions, aggravated often by population growth and resource scarcity in an increasingly urbanized planet" which would certainly come to the fore in the 2016 election. But his hope for the US as the global super power with the strongest military and altruistic bent to protect and lead the planet to some kind of global world seems less likely 15 years later especially since he states "the statesman of the future will need to control his emotions" as we have elected a man not able to control his emotions or words.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tony Selhorst

    In “Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Requires a Pagan Ethos”, Robert Kaplan describes just that: if your country pursues warrior politics, your leadership requires a Pagan Ethos, just like Winston Churchill did in World War II. According to Kaplan, Churchill learned how to shape politics for war from many theorists and historical cases. Kaplan argues that Churchill learned lessons from Hannibal, Sun Tzu, Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Malthus, Kant, Tiberius and Caligula, and takes us to the e In “Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Requires a Pagan Ethos”, Robert Kaplan describes just that: if your country pursues warrior politics, your leadership requires a Pagan Ethos, just like Winston Churchill did in World War II. According to Kaplan, Churchill learned how to shape politics for war from many theorists and historical cases. Kaplan argues that Churchill learned lessons from Hannibal, Sun Tzu, Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Malthus, Kant, Tiberius and Caligula, and takes us to the empires of Mesopotamia, China and Rome. Kaplan than makes his case that the United States should acknowledge that it nowadays is a world empire that influences the world with its warrior politics. His advice: “At the beginning of the twenty-first century the world media shows little sympathy for the challenges and awful ironies facing those who wields power; it upholds the safer virtue of sympathizing only with the powerless. Yet our greatest presidents knew that the wise employment of force was the surest guide to progress.” One can debate what wise employment of force is and whether a nation has the right to interfere in other nation’s becoming. For me, the book is written for those who believe that “evil prevails when the good do nothing”. And I leave it to that.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tom Darrow

    Dull and meandering. I was excited to read this book because I like works that incorporate the ideas of the classics, like Sun Tzu and Machiavelli, into modern situations, but this book was poorly executed. First off, the author never really clearly states what he is trying to accomplish. Second, his writing style comes off as very holier-than-thou, as if he's trying to show off how smart he is and how many classics he has read. Each chapter seems to be arguing to a point, but many are not that Dull and meandering. I was excited to read this book because I like works that incorporate the ideas of the classics, like Sun Tzu and Machiavelli, into modern situations, but this book was poorly executed. First off, the author never really clearly states what he is trying to accomplish. Second, his writing style comes off as very holier-than-thou, as if he's trying to show off how smart he is and how many classics he has read. Each chapter seems to be arguing to a point, but many are not that well proven. Additionally, this book was originally published in 2002, and very little attention is paid to Osama bin Laden. I'm sure that other, more modern, works deal with the post-9/11 world in a much more clear way.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Deeps George

    The past is important and one should never forget how history can change the future. Kaplan’s essays provide the reader an idea of how the writings of Churchill,Livy, Sun-Tzu, Thucydides, Machiavellian, Hobbes and Malthus have a direct impact on what is happening in our world today. History seems to be repeating itself and the question is will it be Christian morals, Political Ideologies, Monarchies or Global coverage that bring global peace. Through the Greeks, Romans, British, German, Arab, In The past is important and one should never forget how history can change the future. Kaplan’s essays provide the reader an idea of how the writings of Churchill,Livy, Sun-Tzu, Thucydides, Machiavellian, Hobbes and Malthus have a direct impact on what is happening in our world today. History seems to be repeating itself and the question is will it be Christian morals, Political Ideologies, Monarchies or Global coverage that bring global peace. Through the Greeks, Romans, British, German, Arab, Indian and Chinese histories we seem to be following a similar pattern of peace and war. The book is an exciting read enabling readers connect the dots between the past and future.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lillian I Smith

    A Marvelous Primer This is the kind of book I will reread several times over the next few years. A guide to judging the Trump Presidency..

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Dambro

    Kaplan has analtical powers of the first order. His vision of the future is informed by a thorough knowledge of the past. His prediction of the USA as a republican empire in absolutely correct.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sean Richards

    Interesting read that highlights what what was to come. I found the concepts of this book very interesting and applicable to the current international challenges that the US faces.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Beau Wallace

    Insightful This was good primer for those venturing into national security theory. Kaplan does a nice job synthesizing some classic war and political theorists.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Kaplan successfully described old patterns in new terms, but I don't believe he lived up to the title's promise to describe why leadership requires a pagan ethos.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Prosi

    It's quite interesting. A lot of nice references, a respectful approach to another points of view and quite accurate for the time it was written. Easy to read and entertainment.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ion Grosu

    Selection of random historical events and quotes from classic authors, based on some subjective criteria trying to convince the reader that sometimes world powers should bomb other countries and that's OK. Boring, repetitive, superficial.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Patrick McCoy

    obert D. Kaplan, author of such fascinating books like Eastward to Tartary and The Ends of the Earth, is one of my favorite writers on current affairs. He does a lot of reportage in the world’s trouble spots and he is an unusually well informed reporter who puts these conflicts into historical perspective. As a result he has become a sort of pundit on international politics and current affairs. It has been said that Clinton consulted his book Balkan Ghosts when he was trying to decide whether or obert D. Kaplan, author of such fascinating books like Eastward to Tartary and The Ends of the Earth, is one of my favorite writers on current affairs. He does a lot of reportage in the world’s trouble spots and he is an unusually well informed reporter who puts these conflicts into historical perspective. As a result he has become a sort of pundit on international politics and current affairs. It has been said that Clinton consulted his book Balkan Ghosts when he was trying to decide whether or not to intervene in the Kosovo War. Along the way Kaplan has also written a book about the dangers of the near future with The Coming Anarchy. In Warrior Politics he is trying to create a philosophy of leadership that the feels should inform foreign policy. He looks at the leadership style of historical figures like Churchill and Tiberius, historians like Livy and Thucydides, as well as thinkers like Machiavelli, Sun-Tzu, Hobbes, Malthus, and Kant. He makes some interesting observations and parallels in history, but it feels a little bit undeveloped to me. The chapters are short and easy to read and perhaps if you are as familiar with the works he refers to you could fill in the blanks throughout the book, however, I am unfortunately not as knowledgeable about the primary sources that he refers to thus I feel as though I was missing something when I read it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fred

    Pretty good book all things told. It's been a while since I have read another book that was thought provoking enough I couldn't do it with Sponge Bob on and kids playing in the background. I don't know why this book is classified as Current Events in some circles, it really is International Relations Theory/Strategic Military Theory. I am not sure that I agree with everything that the author put forward but it gave me much food for thought and inadvertently prepared me for the very next book that Pretty good book all things told. It's been a while since I have read another book that was thought provoking enough I couldn't do it with Sponge Bob on and kids playing in the background. I don't know why this book is classified as Current Events in some circles, it really is International Relations Theory/Strategic Military Theory. I am not sure that I agree with everything that the author put forward but it gave me much food for thought and inadvertently prepared me for the very next book that I picked up on Asymmetrical Warfare completely by coincidence. Don't read this book for fun, do read this book for professional and personal development and to have a better understanding of the relationships and dynamics that exist between man and the state.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ilia

    ‎"Idealistic diplomacy slips too often into fanaticism. Indeed, the acceptance of a world governed by a pagan notion of self-interest exemplified by Thucydides make statesmanship likelier to succeed: it curtails illusions, reducing the scope of miscalculation. Historically grounded liberalism recognizes that liberty did not arise from abstract reflection, moral or otherwise, but from political choices made by rulers acting in their own self-interest. As the Danish classicist and historia David G ‎"Idealistic diplomacy slips too often into fanaticism. Indeed, the acceptance of a world governed by a pagan notion of self-interest exemplified by Thucydides make statesmanship likelier to succeed: it curtails illusions, reducing the scope of miscalculation. Historically grounded liberalism recognizes that liberty did not arise from abstract reflection, moral or otherwise, but from political choices made by rulers acting in their own self-interest. As the Danish classicist and historia David Gress note, liberty grew in the West mainly because it served the interest of power." Interesting essay contextualising modern realpolitik in the classicist tradition. If nothing else, it will make you want to re-read classics in a different light.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    I read this years ago. This was my first book by Kaplan, and made me a fan. Kaplan interwove history, philosophy, military strategy and literature to explore the world. From the sub-title of the book one gets a sense of the importance of realistic strategic thinking. It was truly one of my first encounters with an author who synthesized wide ranging areas of study within their writing and thinking, in such an awaking manner. This was the best book I read that year (and I should read it again soo I read this years ago. This was my first book by Kaplan, and made me a fan. Kaplan interwove history, philosophy, military strategy and literature to explore the world. From the sub-title of the book one gets a sense of the importance of realistic strategic thinking. It was truly one of my first encounters with an author who synthesized wide ranging areas of study within their writing and thinking, in such an awaking manner. This was the best book I read that year (and I should read it again soon). If you interested in the modern or the historic world, and enlightened, strategic thinking, then this is the book for you.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Curtiss

    This is an outstanding consideration of the lessons of history as they apply to contemporary (as opposed to "modern") foreign policy issues. The historic lessons ar taken from sources as diverse as Sun Tzu & Thucydides, Machiavelli & Livy, Churchill & Kant, Hobbes & Malthus, and even include a tribute to the role model represented by the Emperor Tiberius. Robert Kaplan's conclusion is that effective leadership requires an understanding of the lessons of history, that clear thinking must not be ov This is an outstanding consideration of the lessons of history as they apply to contemporary (as opposed to "modern") foreign policy issues. The historic lessons ar taken from sources as diverse as Sun Tzu & Thucydides, Machiavelli & Livy, Churchill & Kant, Hobbes & Malthus, and even include a tribute to the role model represented by the Emperor Tiberius. Robert Kaplan's conclusion is that effective leadership requires an understanding of the lessons of history, that clear thinking must not be overridden by emotion, and that in the field of foreign relations, pragmatism is possibly the highest morality.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Kaplan believes U.S. foreign policy should take its cue from non-Judeo-Christian philosophy, concentrating on what's best for the group rather then the individual. I'm not sure I buy his argument, which I have explained poorly, but it is an interesting argument nonetheless. I don't have the background in Thucydides, Hobbes, Machiavelli, etc to determine if he is selectively quoting or if his is accurately portraying their philosophies. I would like to see an updated edition, events of the last d Kaplan believes U.S. foreign policy should take its cue from non-Judeo-Christian philosophy, concentrating on what's best for the group rather then the individual. I'm not sure I buy his argument, which I have explained poorly, but it is an interesting argument nonetheless. I don't have the background in Thucydides, Hobbes, Machiavelli, etc to determine if he is selectively quoting or if his is accurately portraying their philosophies. I would like to see an updated edition, events of the last decade seem to fit into his thesis pretty well. Not as good as his The Coming Anarchy but worth reading.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michael Preston

    What does it take for effective foreign policy? In "Warrior Politics" Robert D. Kaplan answers that question. He uses many quotes from great philosophers to prove his point, such as Sun Tzu. He also uses many historical events, such as the events leading up to WWII to help explain foreign policy. Often in the book he changes the time frame from modern day to ancient times. A good example is comparing WWII to the pelopensia war. This is a good book for those who know a little about history and ph What does it take for effective foreign policy? In "Warrior Politics" Robert D. Kaplan answers that question. He uses many quotes from great philosophers to prove his point, such as Sun Tzu. He also uses many historical events, such as the events leading up to WWII to help explain foreign policy. Often in the book he changes the time frame from modern day to ancient times. A good example is comparing WWII to the pelopensia war. This is a good book for those who know a little about history and philosophy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sjonni

    Kaplan's controversial essay on the problems that await the West in the 21st century and how to best deal with them. Tracing parallels with the Classical World, Kaplan's unrelenting suspicion of bons sentiments and his belief in America's democratic imperial destiny create a whole moral code of conduct for a hegemonic Western civilization facing the never-ending crisis of a disintegrating developing world . Flatly unsentimental and probably too accurate to please.

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