The Big Stick : The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force

We rated this book:


This is not a fast read, but it’s a worthwhile one that argues for the idea that America must maintain its position as the best-armed in order to serve as a deterrent to chaos on the planet. Pointing out that political spin and press coverage typically denigrate our military efforts, Professor Cohen repeatedly makes the point that without those efforts . . . things could possibly have been the-end-of-civilization worse! Even perceived defeats like Vietnam gave room for developing democracies to grow some resilience.

Delving into military, political, financial, and strategic history, this tome is meretricious if only for thoroughness.

It’s divided into three parts, the first addressing the question of whether or not all that blood and fortune has been worth it. The second section examines America’s contributions to international security. And, finally, the third section provides a more detailed assessment of perils.

There are new and, if not specific, at least identifiable waves that risk world peace: the Islamic extremist sects (quite diverse, but all similarly eschewing rational discourse); Chinese resurgence to ancestral empire, now extending to artificial lands in the South China Sea; and Russia’s skillful attempts to reconstruct the Soviet empire. And of course the insane aspirations of the North Koreans to directly threaten Japan and the U.S.

Cohen’s most pertinent encouragement is to develop a resilient officer corps to confront unpredictable threats to world peace and national security.

Reviewed By:

Author Eliot A. Cohen
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Basic Books
Publish Date 2017-Jan-03
ISBN 9780465044726 Buy this Book
Issue June 2017
Category Current Events & Politics


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