Maximalist: America in the World from Truman to Obama PDF
This book is a history of U.S foreign policy from the view of cockpit of the presidency It has two general categories of foreign policy out look from the Truman administration to Obama administration are maximalism and retrenchment Maximalists like Truman, Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush II are maximalists who pursue and activist foreign policy Retrenchers usually come in after maximalist president have left office with and overextended policy and clean up the mess Eisenhower, Nixon, and Obama a This book is a history of U.S foreign policy from the view of cockpit of the presidency It has two general categories of foreign policy out look from the Truman administration to Obama administration are maximalism and retrenchment Maximalists like Truman, Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush II are maximalists who pursue and activist foreign policy Retrenchers usually come in after maximalist president have left office with and overextended policy and clean up the mess Eisenhower, Nixon, and Obama are people who have to reign in activist policy due to the overextension in spending or foreign adventures and they retrench The problem with retrenchers according to the author is that they leave office and foreign policy looks like it is drifting and directionless and in need of a new maximalist solution A maximalist is anything worth doing is worth overdoing It is true that it seems that each new president tries to repute their predecessors policies and take the country in a new direction The author paints U.S foreign policy in broad brushstrokes and not in my opinion giving a detailed enough account There is also a problem that U.S foreign policy is viewed through an establishment lens It is a good outline of an official history and it does demonstrate the pressures that shape presidential decisions so there is value here but take it with a grain of salt The view from the cockpit gives one view of the chess game but we have to remember the point of view of the pawns as well From a writer with long and high level experience in the US government, a startling and provocative assessment of America s global dominance Maximalist puts the history of our foreign policy in an unexpected new light, while drawing fresh, compelling lessons for the present and future When the United States has succeeded in the world, Stephen Sestanovich argues, it has done so not by staying the course but by having to change it usually amid deep controversy and uncertainty For decades, the United States has been a power like no other Yet presidents and policy makers worry that they and, even , their predecessors haven t gotten things right Other nations, they say to themselves, contribute little to meeting common challenges International institutions work badly An effective foreign policy costs too much Public support is shaky Even the greatest successes often didn t feel that way at the time Sestanovich explores the dramatic results of American global primacy built on these anxious foundations, recounting cycles of overcommitment and underperformance, highs of achievement and confidence followed by lows of doubt We may think there was a time when America s international role reflected bipartisan unity, policy continuity, and a unique ability to work with others, but Maximalist tells a different story one of divided administrations and divisive decision making, of clashes with friends and allies, of regular attempts to set a new direction Doing too much has always been followed by doing too little, and vice versa Maximalist unearths the backroom stories and personalities that bring American foreign policy to life Who knew how hard Lyndon Johnson fought to stay out of the war in Vietnam or how often Henry Kissinger ridiculed the idea of visiting China Who remembers that George Bush Sr found Ronald Reagan s diplomacy too passive or that Bush Jr considered Bill Clinton s too active Leaders and scoundrels alike emerge from this retelling in sharper focus than ever before Sestanovich finds lessons in the past that anticipate and clarify our chaotic present Not super helpful review of US military history since WWII There is very little analysis of the decisions made The author does almost nothing to explain the influences and reasons behind why decision makers felt the way they did I also think this book perpetuates a common misunderstanding that US foreign policy is US defense policy The two must be separate or the militarization of America will subsume soft power. A thoughtful and sweeping look at American foreign policy in the post WWII era. This is a very readable book of recent history, but I was a little disappointed that, except for the Prologue and Epilogue, Maximalist isdry collection of historical recitations than an articulation with support from the facts of a new theory or way of thinking about the post WWII geopolitical landscape. This is simply a fabulous book It was well written and has a clear structure Anyone interested in learningabout American foreign relations since WWII must read this book Not much analysis though, so if you don t want to just read about history you might want to keep looking. A good overview of foreign policy since the end of WWII, with expansionist and retrenchment points of view, but I agree with another reviewer that the author could have gone further in examining the pros and cons of each and which for which style he advocated. This was a book about American s foreign policy under Presidents from Truman to Obama While parts of it was interesting, a lot of it was quite dry reading. A tour de force of American presidents and how they conduct foreign policy It really makes you think about how presidents eventually view the importance of foreign policy in their administrations.