Exercise of Power: American Failures, Successes, and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War World

Exercise of Power: American Failures, Successes, and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War World Review

From the former secretary of defense and author of the acclaimed #1 best-selling memoir, Duty, a candid, sweeping examination of power in all its manifestations, and how it has been exercised, for good and bad, by American presidents in the post-Cold War world.

Since the end of the Cold War, the global perception of the United States has progressively morphed from dominant international leader to disorganized entity, seemingly unwilling to accept the mantle of leadership or unable to govern itself effectively. Robert Gates argues that this transformation is the result of the failure of political leaders to understand the complexity of American power, its expansiveness, and its limitations. He makes clear that the successful exercise of power is not limited to the use of military might or the ability to coerce or demand submission, but must encompass as well diplomacy, economics, strategic communications, development assistance, intelligence, technology, ideology, and cyber. By analyzing specific challenges faced by the American government in the post-Cold War period--Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Russia, China and others--Gates deconstructs the ways in which leaders have used the instruments of power available to them. With forthright judgments of the performance of past presidents and their senior-most advisors, first-hand knowledge, and insider stories, Gates argues that U.S. national security in the future will require learning, and abiding by, the lessons of the past, and re-creating those capabilities that the misuse of power has cost the nation.

Title:Exercise of Power: American Failures, Successes, and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War World
Edition Language:English

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    Exercise of Power: American Failures, Successes, and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War World Reviews

  • Sid Sidner

    Let the men of wisdom speakA major theme of this book is that since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has not used the non-military forms of power well. This book is long on fact and short on opinion....

  • Matthew Trevithick

    3.5 stars. ...

  • Tyler Jared

    Recent history meets philosophy and foreign policy as Gates argues for an aggressive approach to non-military intervention abroad while at the same time acknowledging the very real limits of power, es...

  • Peter A

    This book starts with the basic questions about American power: “To what end do we use it? What are our purposes and goals in the world beyond protecting our won interests, in particular when it com...

  • Tim Bane

    This is the first book I read by Robert Gates and it is an eye-opening read. Gates’ main argument is that in the post-Cold War the American government has become too reliant on military force and ec...

  • Chad Manske

    Presidents Eisenhower, Reagan and Bush 41 were supremely adept at wielding the instruments of power during critical Cold War years, according to former CIA Director and SecDef Robert Gates in this new...

  • John Munro

    Bob Gates' latest book is about the different kinds of power that nations can exert in their international roles, focusing on the U.S. and how it has used these forms of power in the post-Cold War era...

  • Meepspeeps

    This was a good review of American foreign interventions from about 1991-2018. The country-by-country chapters were informative, especially as different Presidents tried the same failing approaches an...

  • Miguel

    The first two chapters are reminiscent of a lecture series one would hear at a military academy as they deal with power largely executed through military means. The bulk of the book revolves around di...

  • Beth

    I first learned of this book from an interview of the former US Secretary of Defense on CBS morning. I knew immediately that I wanted to read it because the period of time covered is also the length o...