cover image Advice to War Presidents: A Remedial Course in Statecraft

Advice to War Presidents: A Remedial Course in Statecraft

Angelo M. Codevilla, . . Basic, $27 (316pp) ISBN 978-0-465-00483-6

Writing explicitly for an audience that is already familiar with international affairs, Codevilla (The Character of Nations ) draws on examples from ancient Greece through the Iraq War to provide a road map for future foreign policy in this accessible but didactic book. In a series of chapters arranged thematically around concepts that include the language of politics and the effectiveness of diplomacy, the author takes issue with the realist, liberal nationalist and neoconservative schools of thought and their “ruinous counsel” that dominates contemporary international politics, instead advocating a commonsense approach that emphasizes mastering the basic skills of diplomacy and statecraft. Codevilla appeals to the Monroe Doctrine and 19th-century American approaches to foreign affairs while condemning contemporary policy that he believes has failed to secure a lasting peace. Codevilla writes intelligently on topics as diverse as the affect of economic sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s and contemporary relations between Russia and Georgia, but his highly critical style can sometimes be abrasive. (Feb.)