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Basic Books
  • Hardcover
  • $27.99 / $36.50 CAN
  • ISBN 13: 978-0-465-04472-6

Kirkus Reviews
"Provides some justification for the view that the U.S. truly must act as the world's law enforcement officer given the reluctance or inability of other powers to do so. An argument, likely to fall on sympathetic ears in Washington, that when it comes to power and armaments, more is better."

Publishers Weekly
"Cohen makes clearheaded assessments that many strategists who don't share his views and policy advice will nonetheless find strongly thought-out."

Professor Andrew Roberts, author of Masters and Commanders: How Roosevelt, Churchill, Marshall and Alanbrooke Won the War in the West
"Any number of commentators on grand strategy are intelligent and well-informed, but Eliot Cohen is also brave and wise. Brave in unapologetically taking on the new consensus that lauds soft power over hard and trumpets neo-isolationism for the United States; wise in his analysis of what America can and must do to stay as the Top Dog world power in the 21st century. Refreshingly iconoclastic in his opinions and impeccably scholarly in his overview of American military policy from Teddy Roosevelt through to Barack Obama, this is the most eloquent defense of the continued necessity of American hard power you're ever likely to need."

Eric Edelman, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, 2005-2009
"A century before Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Theodore Roosevelt for his role in ending the Russo-Japanese War. Roosevelt's watchword for diplomacy was ‘speak softly and carry a big stick.' Eliot Cohen has now presented the most compelling case yet for why the ‘big stick' remains as essential for managing the national security challenges of the 21st Century as it was one hundred years ago. This elegantly argued and persuasive book will be essential reading for the new President's foreign and security policy team as they tackle their new responsibilities."

The Big Stick

The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force

By Eliot A. Cohen, with Eliot A. Cohen

A renowned scholar of international relations argues that even in a changing world, American military power is as crucial as ever.

"Speak softly and carry a big stick" Theodore Roosevelt famously said in 1901, when the United States was emerging as a great power. It was the right sentiment, perhaps, in an age of imperial rivalry but today many Americans doubt the utility of their global military presence, thinking it outdated, unnecessary or even dangerous.

In The Big Stick, Eliot A. Cohen—a scholar and practitioner of international relations—disagrees. He argues that hard power remains essential for American foreign policy. While acknowledging that the US must be careful about why, when, and how it uses force, he insists that its international role is as critical as ever, and armed force is vital to that role.

Cohen explains that American leaders must learn to use hard power in new ways and for new circumstances. The rise of a well-armed China, Russia's conquest of Crimea and eastern Ukraine, nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran, and the spread of radical Islamist movements like ISIS are some of the key threats to global peace. If the United States relinquishes its position as a strong but prudent military power, and fails to accept its role as the guardian of a stable world order we run the risk of unleashing disorder, violence and tyranny on a scale not seen since the 1930s. The US is still, as Madeleine Albright once dubbed it, "the indispensable nation."

Eliot A. Cohen is the Robert E. Osgood Professor of Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). The prize-winning author of several books, including Conquered into Liberty, Cohen lives in the Washington, DC area.
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