Tag: H. R. McMaster

H.R. McMaster’s ‘Battlegrounds’ a Very Good Second Book

 

Retired Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster’s second book, Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World, while mostly well researched and clearly argued, will not have the institutional significance of his first book Dereliction of Duty, written as a young Army major. If you heard little of Battlegrounds after its publication, that is to McMaster’s credit and our media’s continuing shame. General McMaster kept his honor clean, refusing to put himself out on the same corner Bill Kristol and John Bolton have been working. This is a work well worth your consideration. At the very least, take a look at the brief video summary of his central claim: American long-term failure in foreign policy comes from “strategic narcissism” and a lack of “strategic empathy.”*

“Strategic empathy” refers to the conscious effort to understand the viewpoint, the motivations, of others, rather than projecting assumptions and motives the observer prefers, for whatever reason. “Strategic empathy” is presented as the alternative to wishful thinking across administrations. McMaster is using “strategic empathy” as a term of art, limited to understanding/ taking the other’s position and claimed motivations seriously, not sympathizing. McMaster advances his vision for a more successful foreign policy through country case studies, most importantly addressing Russia, China, Iran, Afghanistan, and North Korea. In each case, he names names and cites failures across multiple administrations of both parties.

McMaster points to foreign policy scholars on the left and right arguing for a deterrence policy with a nuclear Iran. He says it is foolish to suggest that deterrence might work with a set of leaders and at least a significant population that deeply believes in the Shia emphasis on supernatural victory through their own blood. Iran’s religious-political leaders believe in “victory of blood over the sword.” This linked text points to official propaganda seriously asserting that America was defeated by killing the Iranian top terror master. His blood, being spilled, supernaturally created victory for the Iranian revolution. Take them seriously, rather than dismissing it as spin, and you see that under no condition can they possibly be allowed a nuclear weapon.

Teddy Kupfer of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer President Trump’s selection of John Bolton as National Security Adviser and look forward to his tough stance on North Korean nukes and the Iran nuclear deal while liberals fear that Bolton will start bombing everyone.  They also unload on the bloated $1.3 trillion omnibus that the majority of Republican representatives and senators approved, much to the delight of Democrats and the fury of fiscal conservatives.  Teddy and Greg understand the desire of Republicans to rebuild the military but find the reckless spending in other areas unacceptable.  They scratch their heads trying to figure out why more than half of millennials actually enjoy doing their taxes.  And they offer a champagne toast to the late Democratic Georgia Gov. and Sen. Zell Miller and reflect upon his memorable keynote address at the Republican convention in 2004.

Victor Davis Hanson describes the Trump Administration’s challenges with Russia, North Korea, and China. He also weighs in on the recent debate between Rex Tillerson and John McCain over the proper balance between advancing America’s national security interests and advocating for human rights abroad.

Richard Epstein looks at the political and legal fallout from allegations that President Trump may have disclosed classified information to Russian diplomats, and that he may have had an improper conversation with then FBI Director Jim Comey.

Richard Epstein weighs the merits of President Trump’s decision to strike Syria after the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.

Member Post

 

Donald Trump announced his choice for National Security Advisor this afternoon.  Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster has a long and distinguished record of service, and wrote a detailed critique of the strategy employed by the US military during the war in Vietnam. The reaction to McMaster appears to be much more positive, with many notable Trump […]

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