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Hard Power: The New Politics of National Security Hardcover – October 3, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; annotated edition edition (October 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465051669
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465051663
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,276,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kurt Campbell is Senior Vice President and Director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is a contributing writer to the New York Times and frequent on-air contributor to NPR's "All Things Considered," and a consultant to ABC News. He lives in Washington, D.C. Michael O'Hanlon is a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he has written books on defense strategy, arms control, and homeland security. He has contributed to numerous television programs and newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I know Michael O'Hanlon, whom I consider to be one of the most insightful and honest policy analysts in America--his one line in "A Half Penny on the Federal Dollar" pointing out that the single best investment in foreign assistance is in the education of women, is a benchmark for all that ails US foreign policy--we simply do not know how to wage peace. He's the best. I do not know Kurt Campbell, but I respect the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). I give this book five stars instead of four because of the caliber of the authors and the terribly difficult task they took on. The book is, however, *very* incomplete.

The authors are strongest on the politics of national security--there is nothing wrong with the substance where they address it, but I will end with my observation on how incomplete the book it.

The book can be summed up--and questioned--on the basis of its eight chapter headings--the book's focus is in capital letters, my alternative focus in lower case:

NATIONAL SECURITY AS PRIMARY ELECTORAL ISSUE--not so, electoral reform and the integrity and legitimacy of government is the primary issue

MYTH OF REPUBLICAN SUPERIORITY--quite so, but what about Peter Peterson's view in "Running on Empty," to wit, BOTH political parties are inept and two sides of the same coin--they represent corporations, not the people.

MANAGING THE MILITARY--is not enough. Must manage ways and means, must manage the inter-agency matrix (Cheney ignores the policy bureaucracy, and the only agency actually fighting in Iraq is the military--everyone else is going through the motions).

HOMELAND SECURITY--TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL--physical security is not enough, even if private sector is willing to cooperate.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MountainRunner on March 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Kurt M. Campbell and Michael E. O'Hanlon's book is written as a handbook for Democrats, as well as other soft power proponents, to discuss the importance and elements of national security. As the authors argue, Democrats need to stop fearing participation in national security debates and step up to form a dialogue and become a viable political party. National security is a wedge issue that is "often dominated by extremist ideology on one side and muted protest on the other" and Democrats and soft power advocates are ill-equipped to participate in the discussion is how Campbell and O'Hanlon frame it.

Examples of furthering the myth and not encouraging "original" thinking includes blind acceptance of L. Paul Bremer's version of events in Iraq (p116) and Tom Ridge's rosy image of port security, vaccines, etc (p125). A bare discussion of casualty sensitivity (p89), or did they really mean insensitivity, while assuming a role for it (without establishing if the "in-" belongs or not). A fanciful discussion on global projection requirements and suggesting the US Navy simply wait for UAVs instead of new fighters (p100). Ignorance of wear and tear on the Army's vehicle fleet (p102), conflicting views on counterinsurgency (p104).

Perhaps more importantly, the authors completely ignore institutional differences between DoS and DoD, which is odd considering the nature of the handbook and its efforts to instruct on the issues of national security. While arguing for Department of State Response Force / SysAdmin / Department of Peace / CRC / or whatever it is, they accept and promote 12 year old arguments that "combat units are best at [peace operations] as they inspire respect and fear in those who would challenge them" (p110).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Democrats have been losing elections for the past five years and if you want to understand just why, HARD POWER is the place to go. It shows how the Democrats have no viable strategy on the major issue of national security, and shows not only how foreign policy will decide elections of the future, but how Democrats have lost such credibility and how to get it back. With its chapters covering Middle East peace issues and processes, military management, and future problems with China's ascent, HARD POWER outlines all the major issues facing us in the future.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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By Retired Reader on November 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
President George W. Bush and his administration have worked hard to build the illusion that only conservative and neo-conservative Republicans can be trusted with security of the United States. This book is designed to offer Democrats and moderate Republicans alternative approaches to the issues of national security that have been monopolized by the Bush administration for the last six years. Campbell and O'Hanlon have succeeded in at least providing a series of relevant talking points that could be used by opponents of the present administration's national security policies.

Yet the book provides somewhat uneven advice to potential policy makers. In the area of defense policies it is quite good and it was especially gratifying that the authors recognized the courage and professionalism of the U.S. armed forces on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their suggestions on controlling Department of Defense spending and building force structures for the future appear to have a good deal of merit. In the same manner their ideas for establishing regional National Guard planning centers and a bureau of the State Department devoted to the activities related to nation building appear to be will worth examining. On the other hand, their treatments of Homeland Security and the so-called Global War on Terrorism (GWOT or the Long War) are both cursory and ill-informed. Their implication that the U.S. Intelligence System has reformed itself and is no longer what it was prior to the tragedy of 9/11 is complete nonsense. Their chapter on coping with China has the virtue of recognizing that the evolving relationship between the U.S. and China involves a convergence of military, economic, and regional geo-political issues that are dynamic, complex, and nuanced.
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