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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The tough decisions leaders must make, January 28, 2006
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This review is from: Ethics and Statecraft: The Moral Dimension of International Affairs (Humanistic Perspectives on International Relations) (Paperback)
First off I would suggest this book to anyone from the Baby boom generation or younger. The reason for this is because we have grown up with a relatively naive outlook on the world and the events that shaped our modern history. Prior to Johnson's handling of the Vietnam War, Nixon's collective scandals, and a media that is nearly instantaneous, leaders made decisions behind closed doors that would be scandalous today.

This book is a collection of well written essays by some of the leading thinkers in diplomacy. They examine a variety of leaders and the issues that changed the way people looked at the world around them.

The essays include:

"Bodyguard of Lies": Franklin D. Roosevelt and Defensible Deceit in World War II. Anyone that is aghast at what the Bush administration supposedly did to get us involved in Iraq should read this essay several times. FDR went beyond the bounds of any presidential powers he was granted through the constitution. He saw a threat that few other politicians saw and did what was necessary to get the U.S. involved. A case could be made that he manipulated events so much that he forced the Japanese to respond militarily. Also instead of going after Japan with the major thrust of U.S. forces he attacked Germany. No one at that time really questioned with much scrutiny why we were going after the Germans instead of the Japanese. Instead they trusted their elected leader to do what was in the best interest of the nation.

Political Leadership and "Dirty Hands": Winston Churchill and the City Bombing of Germany. Ok, W.Churchill's legacy will go down a notch by most people's standards after reading this. Tough times calls for drastic measures, this went a little overboard.

Power and Principle: The Statecraft of Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt, with his "big stick" diplomacy, led America to be a world power for the first time in history. This is a really well written chapter, perhaps the best of the book. It would be very easy to conclude the Teddy was America's foremost statesman when ranking American presidents on their diplomatic skills. He had the reputation from being a Rough Rider combined with a piercing intellect. Definitely a man to be studied.

Other chapters include:

No End of a Lesson: Vietnam and the Nature of Moral Choice

The Higher Realism of Woodrow Wilson (thanks for WWII and the Cold War by the way Woody)

The World Outlook of Dag Hammarskjold (2nd UN Secretary General)

Realism and Idealism in Historical Perspective: Otto Von Bismarck (another amazing statesman)

Konrad Adenauer, Arms, and the Redemption of Germany. (First Chancellor of West Germany)

Eduard Shevardnadze and the End of the Soviet System. (This guy and Reagan should have gotten the Nobel Peace Prize, not Gorbachev. Why is that after the collapse of the Soviet System the Russians and everyone from the former Soviet Satellites hates Gorbachev and praised Reagan? Well they gave the prize to the terrorist and murderer Arafat so I guess Ronnie was lucky not to get it.)

I am a little opinionated on a few points as you might well have guessed. This book however is not. It is very fact oriented and will let people decide for themselves how to interpret the events discussed. Read with pleasure, not at all boring or overly detailed.
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