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Exercise of Power: American Failures, Successes, and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War World Hardcover – June 16, 2020
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"Few Americans have the depth and breadth of hands-on national security experience that Gates has. . . He skillfully blends the knowledge and discipline of a scholar with the hard-earned experience of a practitioner to produce a well-organized and superbly written book to lead America forward into a very different and challenging new world, and it is here that Gates’s admonitions are most compelling."—Richard Moe, The Washington Post
"While the book certainly offers the former defense chief’s insights from being 'in the room,' I was most impressed by his thoughtfulness and clarity when it comes to the imperative for strengthening America’s civilian toolkit. It’s an impressive message for a former defense secretary of both Republican and Democratic administrations to make the first chapter of his book a clarion call on the failure to invest in our nation’s civilian national security tools."—Liz Schrayer, President & CEO, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition
"Accessible. . . This important work dives deep into the past three decades of American foreign policy to provide a realistic picture of how key policy decisions were crafted. Highly recommended for those wanting an examination of America’s role within the global community."—Jacob Sherman, Library Journal, starred review
"An incisive treatise. . . [Gates is] both a sharp critic of Washington D.C.'s policy-making bureaucracies and a shrewd analyst of the dilemmas they wrestle with. The result is a judicious yet bracingly contrarian take on military and foreign policy from the ultimate insider."—Publishers Weekly
"Recent political leaders, Gates holds, have failed to understand and project American power properly. . . It's refreshing to see a secretary of defense call for the use of the military as a choice of last resort."—Kirkus
"Powerful . . . timely. . . Everything [Gates has] consistently advocated – moderation of ambition; realistic expectations; recognition of the limitation of our military power; a desire for sensible long-term engagement – is on display in this volume as a cautionary tale. . . We are far from becoming a defeated or a declining power – but without the prescription that Secretary Gates lays out in Exerciser of Power, we might become one."—Admiral James Stavridis, author of Sailing True North
“In a time of global instability, perhaps our nation’s most distinguished public servant, Robert M. Gates, has given us a compelling, thought-provoking, and much-needed assessment of how we got here—and what must be done to restore and extend the best of American power.”—Jon Meacham, author of The Soul of America
"The mastery with which Robert Gates wrestles with the fundamental question of the purposes to which America’s global power should be used reveals an astonishing combination of strengths — a narrative gift that captivates the reader from start to finish, an insightful mind, and a profound wisdom that comes from his own experience and wide-ranging historical knowledge.”—Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Leadership
“Exercise of Power is a timely, essential guide for all those committed to sustaining America’s experiment in democracy. It should also be required reading for anyone engaged in crafting, influencing and (especially) executing American foreign policy. It is truly a page-turner.”—General Jim Mattis, coauthor, Call Sign Chaos
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.7 pounds
- Hardcover : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1524731889
- ISBN-13 : 978-1524731885
- Product Dimensions : 6.39 x 1.63 x 9.43 inches
- Publisher : Knopf (June 16, 2020)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #36,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Being a retired USN Chief Petty Officer, I am familiar with the military aspects of some of his book. But, in perfect honesty, I have never thought too much about all of the repercussions a single act of diplomacy may or may not have. And, Afghanistan...what to say about the US and its involvement there?
Some of the countries that the author covers are: Iran, Iraq, Haiti, Somalia, Yugoslavia, Columbia (a success), North Korea, China, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria...to name some of them. A plethora of information within each of these chapters. North Korea and the manner in which 4 different presidents have dealt with it was incredible to read. Their threat is powerful...I loved the solution he provided...
Power and its definition, diplomacy and economics are also delved into deeply. The question that is answered by the author ...or as he says 'will take a stab at' is in several parts of the power equation. Should the US change the manner in which it exerts its global presence? Should we rely so heavily on military power or can diplomacy be used more? Just a couple of the questions to which he provides his expertise.
One thing that I really liked was that the author puts blame where blame is due and praise when it is appropriate. I feel he has presented a non partisan and unbiased book which is not seen too often lately... At the conclusion, he has notes and references listed.
Most highly recommended. Lots to learn in this one from a man who has served our country for over 50 years and had a most distinguished career..
Gates is a cold war warrior whose world view has been shaped by that period. Gate’s believes the Cold War was an ideological war won by the good US who defeated the bad Soviet communists. Gates’ assumes the US won because of the good decisions made by the US leadership and then uses those examples to show how we can use similar methods, policies and decisions, in other regions and countries to achieve similar results. I think Gates’ interpretations of his experiences during the cold war may be the wrong ones.
For those born after the cold War, one might ask, was it decisions by the US leadership which led to the fall of the Soviet Union or was it the Soviet government itself which ended the cold war when the leadership changed? Similar to what happened to the Russians leaving the war against Germany in ww1. Once the russian czarist government fell, the new Russian government under Trotsky signed a peace treaty with Germany. How much did German leadership decisions cause the downfall of the Czarist government? Or was it more the bad decisions of the Czar and his government policies which alienated the people which made them turn on their own government? Could the US be similar to the Czarist government and not listen to the people? Or as Gates believes, it is only a matter of guiding the people to what our leadership wants? Or will our government listen to what the people want?
Gates gives his interpretation of events the US has, and is facing and then follows up with questions, both at the end of each chapter and in the last chapter “Lessons Learned”. Maybe instead of telling us his interpretation of events first he should ask the questions first and then attempt to solve them using his interpretation of events based on what he has experienced and learned.
Top reviews from other countries
Essential reading and study for future US Presidents.