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The late Rodman held high-level national security posts in every Republican administration since Nixon’s, and this posthumous work is his analysis of a president’s foreign-policy apparatus. Nominally, the CIA and the Departments of State and Defense are executive instruments, but in reality, they have institutional outlooks and agendas that can conflict with a president’s policies. Control of these bureaucracies, then, is Rodman’s topic, in which the statutory steering wheel—the National Security Council and its staff—looms large. Taking each president since Nixon in turn, Rodman appraises the personal interactions of foreign-policy chieftains with each other and with their chief executive, underlining whether comity or confusion reigned at the top. Rodman argues that a president’s fortunes in foreign policy depend on his clarity and decisiveness and on his inclination to work through the bureaucracies or to bypass them. Given the author’s judgment that a president’s national-security appointments presage whether he becomes their leader or their captive, observers of the new Obama administration and its inaugural moves in foreign affairs should find lessons in Rodman’s experienced outlook. --Gilbert Taylor
"Presidential Command should be on the short list of readings for members of the Barack Obama administration--as much for its pointing out the mistakes to avoid as for illustrating the procedures to emulate."
–Gary Hart, The New York Times Book Review
"A brilliant tutorial on the way presidents, regardless of party or ideology, have struggled to control the vast national security bureaucracy they inherit after taking the oath of office . . . Presidential Command should be required reading for President-elect Barack Obama's national-security team, and . . . for Mr. Obama himself."
–Jonathan Karl, Wall Street Journal
“Provocative . . . Highly insightful . . . Fascinating . . . Fair-minded.”
–Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Rodman’s rankings of presidential performance pack interest.”
–Harry Levins, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Insightful . . . [Rodman’s] grasp of the inherent conflict between State and National Security will probably make this book required reading in many parts of the Obama administration.”
–Sacramento Book Review
“Observers of the new Obama administration and its inaugural moves in foreign affairs should find lessons in Rodman’s experienced outlook.”
“Peter Rodman was incisive, wise, and fair and these qualities are reflected in his revealing, timely, and truly important account of how our recent presidents both succeeded and failed in exercising strategic ‘command’ over U.S. foreign policy.”
“This masterful series of studies, by one of America's most gifted and sensitive national security analysts, merges a scrupulous taste for clarity with a broad and humane vision of the American national interest. It is enlightening, penetrating and always fascinating.”
–Philip Bobbitt, author of Terror and Consent
“In an age of sensational leaks and headline-grabbing exposés that illuminate very little, it is bracing to read Peter Rodman’s calm and reasoned dissection of foreign policy over the course of several recent administrations, which illuminates very much. His is the quiet voice of wisdom.”
–Robert D. Kaplan, author of Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos
I would recommend this book to anyone. Read it in school and bought it for my dad as a bday gift.Published on April 10, 2013 by yo
Peter Rodman spent his formative years as an adoring assistant to Henry Kissinger, and apparently remained that way throughout his life. Read morePublished on February 9, 2009 by Slips01