Obama As A Wartime President

Posted: January 21, 2011 in america, books, politics

NPR recently interviewed Tina Brown, editor of Newsweek, about some of her current “must-reads.” The first book she mentions is The Violence of Peace by Stephen L. Carter. In her brief review, Brown comments on the book’s examination of how President Obama has had to “accommodate himself…to the absolutely unknown pressure” of war:

How Obama has handled his transformation from a peace candidate to a war president figures prominently in The Violence of Peace. (The title is published by Beast Books, the imprint associated with Brown’s online journal.)

Obama, Brown notes, was a harsh critic of the Bush administration’s foreign policy and national-security efforts during the 2008 campaign. Since taking office, he has “actually followed the Bush maxim, and he’s increased the use of everything from missile strikes to secret military operations.”

But “rather than rushing to condemn him, Carter, who most of us would see as a liberal — he’s a law professor at Yale, knows Obama quite well — he regards this really as a signal that the vehement attacks on Bush, in fact, were overblown,” Brown says.

Those partisan attacks, which Brown cites in a passage from the book, distract from essential warfare strategies:

In so dangerous an age, we dare not treat arguments over warfare as opportunities to indulge our partisan side. There’s not a Bush way to fight, adopted by Obama; there’s an American way to fight, common to many of the nation’s wars, adopted by them both. Put most simply, we fight to win.

They’re core American interests, to put it another way, which any American president will be compelled to pursue with whatever means are available.

Read the article or listen to the full interview here.

  1. dansivert says:

    Interesting article. On the other end of the spectrum, I came across this quote a couple days ago:
    “[I]t is impossible to build up an army and give it a sense of worth if the object of its existence is not the preparation for battle. Armies for the preparation of peace do not exist; they exist for triumphant execution of war.” – A Hitler, June 1934.

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