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Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos (2001)

by Robert D. Kaplan

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556644,236 (3.75)4
The author draws on the historical wisdom of Sun-Tzu, Thucydides, Hobbes, Machiavelli, and other great thinkers to provide advice for modern-day world leaders confronted with the complex challenges of modern life.
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Con este libro realmente aprendí la importancia de conocer la historia para afrontar el futuro, ya que a raíz de referencias historicas nos cuenta los procesos hacia una solución que se tenga en el presente ( )
  jpetersanchex | Jan 12, 2022 |
Kaplan believes U.S. foreign policy should take its cue from non-Judeo-Christian philosophy, concentrating on what's best for the group rather then the individual. I'm not sure I buy his argument, which I have explained poorly, but it is an interesting argument nonetheless. I don't have the background in Thucydides, Hobbes, Machiavelli, etc to determine if he is selectively quoting or if his is accurately portraying their philosophies. I would like to see an updated edition, events of the last decade seem to fit into his thesis pretty well. Not as good as his The Coming Anarchy but worth reading. ( )
  sgtbigg | May 27, 2011 |
This other military book by Kaplan was OK, but not great. I had read most of this book in segments in the Atlantic Monthly. ( )
  dickcraig | Aug 18, 2008 |
Kaplan's essay looks down the corridors of history to show how little the world has changed in spite of advances in technology and information science, and how instructive the past can be if only present political actors would heed its lessons. He makes a brief and superficial survey of the thought of Sun-Tzu, Thucydides, Livy, Machiavelli, and Cicero, inter alia, and compares their prescriptions on virtue and power to modern actors such as Churchill, Hitler, Yitzhak Rabin and others.

My complaints are many: above all, reading "Warrior Politics" was remarkably like reading horoscopes, in which vague descriptions can be interpreted to fit most any circumstances. Kaplan takes the most trite aphorisms of ancient philosophers and applies them to current politics, and then declares that if the outcome was good, the actor obviously had learned and applied historical lessons; if not, he [sic] was not making proper use of history. A paragraph at random may help illustrate Kaplan's technique:

"A commander in chief who 'plans and calculates like a hungry man' may avoid war, according to Sun-Tzu. Had president Bill Clinton, for example, concentrated on Kosovo with the same intensity in the months prior to the start of the spring 1999 NATO air war that he demonstrated during the war itself, he might have been able to avoid fighting in the first place. Had President George Bush concentrated more effectively on iraq in the months prior to Saddam Hussein's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, he too might not have needed to resort to war."

Simplistic, procrustean, and frankly, a ridiculous waste of time.

(JAF) ( )
1 vote nbmars | Jul 29, 2007 |
This book is on the cutting edge of illustrating how history doesn't repeat itself, but rhymes. There's something peculiar and unsettling when in viewing the annals of ancient history one can see current events. Robert Kaplan is the master of relating ancient principles to modern thought. A must read for those whose interests lie in politics and current events. ( )
  JamesT | Jun 14, 2006 |
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The author draws on the historical wisdom of Sun-Tzu, Thucydides, Hobbes, Machiavelli, and other great thinkers to provide advice for modern-day world leaders confronted with the complex challenges of modern life.

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