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Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos
AMAZON BOOKS ^ | Early 2002 | Robert Kaplan

Posted on 01/07/2002 2:31:04 PM PST by dennisw

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com
Robert Kaplan's Warrior Politics is an extended, willfully provocative essay arguing that the bedrock of sound foreign policy should be "comprehensive pragmatism" rather than "utopian hopes." Kaplan calls for a reestablishment of American (primarily) realpolitik, one distanced from Judeo-Christian (or private) virtue and closer to a "pagan" (public) one. He aligns himself with America's Founding Fathers, who, he says, believed good government emerged only from a "sly understanding of men's passions." His book is a mix of aphoristic pronouncements, brief contemporary political analyses, rapid-fire parallels between conflicts ancient and current, and copious quotes from historians and thinkers through the ages (Livy, Thucydides, Sun-Tzu, Machiavelli, and Thomas Hobbes among them). Though its historical gleanings are often too summary and suspiciously convenient, Warrior Politics promises to generate controversy among students of global politics--just as it was designed to do. --H. O'Billovich

Employ Skeptical Pragmatism to Power Social Values, December 27, 2001

Top 10 Reviewer Reviewer: Donald Wayne Mitchell (see more about me) from a management consultant in Boston

Usually books are valuable because they explain an important point of view that everyone will agree with, as soon as the point is understood. The views expressed in Warrior Politics, however, will probably turn out to be different from your own views about what U.S. foreign policy should be. Warrior Politics is valuable to you in that it will provide a context for good discussions and thinking about what the role of power politics and U.S. idealism should be in pursuing our foreign policy.

Warrior Politics draws on the point of view that "ancient history . . . is the surest guide . . . in the early decades of the twenty-first century." Mr. Kaplan argues for following the "ancient tradition of skepticism and contentious realism."

Some of the lessons Mr. Kaplan cites are that even "moral" states vary in morality. The Athenians treated the Melians horribly, simply because they could.

Many of Mr. Kaplan's points will outrage at least some readers. For example, he goes to some lengths to argue that Tiberius (usually thought of as a cruel tyrant who did little good) strengthened the Roman state in such a way that it survived longer than it otherwise would have against the "barbarians." He also speaks positively about being very tough on disorder in poor countries which have little effective government. Mr. Kaplan also argues that Judeo-Christian beliefs in proper behavior are "personal virtues" that should not have a primary role in creating foreign policy. If the U.S. has power it can project and those beliefs can be effectively acted on, Mr. Kaplan then feels that the U.S. should move when it is in its self interest.

One of the most interesting questions in the book is what differentiated Neville Chamberlain from Winston Churchill in addressing Hitler. Mr. Kaplan argues that it was Churchill's "historical imagination" that made all of the difference. By this, Mr. Kaplan means that seeing a current situation in terms of historical analogies allows a leader to know when to dig in and when to fold. Which course worked best in similar situations? Think of this as the "best practice" approach to foreign policy. In making this point, Mr. Kaplan likens Osama bin Laden to the Mahdi whom the British moved against in the Sudan after "Chinese" Gordon and his men were wiped out.

On the other hand, Mr. Kaplan is more idealistic than this sounds, which will offend extreme pragmatists. He sees the U.S. military as a model for the sort of multi-ethnic forces that can operate under a "loose world governance" to root out the worst threats to safety and progress, such as weapons of mass destruction in the hands of high-tech terrorists.

Personally, I think that modern successes are more important than Mr. Kaplan gives credit for. Our experiences in conducting the Gulf War to liberate Kuwait, in keeping Iraq peaceful since then, and in pursuing al-Queda with broad cooperation from other nations provide important lessons and possible directions for the future. I agree that the handling of Yugoslavia's disintegration can be compared to many older examples of poorly designed policies that did not work.

Ultimately, it seems to me that U.S. foreign policy works best when it combines plenty of pragmatism, persistence, and idealism which others would agree with combined with strong leadership. "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

Does the world lack a consensus that health, happiness, peace, and prosperity are desirable for all? I don't think so. Reasonable people can and will disagree about how to get there. We don't know many of the answers. We often don't even know the right questions yet. But without the United States playing a role in building practical actions to make progress in that direction, much less will be accomplished.

Although Mr. Kaplan is willing to admit that ideas are important (and cites Jesus and the development of Christianity), he fails to explore the examples of what leadership did in South Africa and India to make more peaceful changes in political power occur. Some researchers report that radio broadcasts into Eastern Europe played a large role in developing public opinion in favor of political change towards democracy. In this book, such important examples are largely ignored in favor of the traditional definitions of power politics. Surely, we can increasingly grow the power of ideas by demonstrating what the ideas can do.

How can you address the challenges of today's world? How can our country play a more effective, constructive role?

A better future begins with our questions, ideas and acts of today.

 

 


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
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1 posted on 01/07/2002 2:31:04 PM PST by dennisw
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To: dennisw
 

Robert Kaplan also wrote this famous one!!
__________________________________

 

4. The Coming Anarchy : Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War (Vintage)
by Robert D. Kaplan (Paperback - February 2001)
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2 posted on 01/07/2002 2:32:54 PM PST by dennisw
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To: dennisw
He aligns himself with America's Founding Fathers, who, he says, believed good government emerged only from a "sly understanding of men's passions."

Where does one get an understanding of men's passions? It seems that the Judeo-Christian ethos correctly explains much of man's passions as having been wraught by the fall of man. True pagans seem to have an idealized (i.e., unrealistic) view of man. It was the concept that man is fallen, out for his own selfish gain, that prompted John Locke to theorize that men therefore entered into a "social compact" to assure that the most powerful didn't overwhelm the others. Plus, the Founders' understanding of man's tendency to use and abuse power (due to man's fallen nature) placed within our government checks and balances to protect against raw abuse of power.

The Judeo-Christian view of mankind -- potentially noble, but nevertheless fallen with a strong tendency toward outlaw behavior -- is the only realistic view of man.

3 posted on 01/07/2002 2:38:17 PM PST by My2Cents
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To: dennisw
He sees the U.S. military as a model for the sort of multi-ethnic forces that can operate under a "loose world governance"

Well, if this is true, I am not buying this book.

4 posted on 01/07/2002 2:44:03 PM PST by razorback-bert
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To: dennisw
He was just on Fox News with Brit Hume in the second half hour. Sorry I tuned in late. The VCR will be on for the repeat at midnight.
5 posted on 01/07/2002 2:46:10 PM PST by Mad-Margaret
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To: dennisw
Kaplan calls for a reestablishment of American (primarily) realpolitik, one distanced from Judeo-Christian (or private) virtue and closer to a "pagan" (public) one.

Huh? Since when was Christian virtue a private affair?

Mr. Kaplan also argues that Judeo-Christian beliefs in proper behavior are "personal virtues" that should not have a primary role in creating foreign policy.

Oh, yeah, since the secularists banned it from public policy discussion.

Both of the greatest pagan political theorists, Plato and Aristotle, were often read in medieval Christian circles. The latter was even called "the Philosopher." During the Renaissance, Christians became slavishly devoted to mimicking the ancients, which provoked a backlash called the Reformation. But to anybody who is a partisan of neither Reformation teaching nor of Classical learning, such a dualism is hardly helpful.

6 posted on 01/07/2002 2:46:31 PM PST by Dumb_Ox
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To: dennisw
"It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and to humbly implore His protection and favor."
-George Washington, 1789

"If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity."
-Daniel Webster, 1821

"We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that 'except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.' I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel."
-Benjamin Franklin, 1787
"God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever."
-Thomas Jefferson, 1781
"I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty; through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy; pray for me."
-Alexander Hamilton, last dying words, 1804
This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family. The religion of Christ will give them one which will make them rich indeed."
-Patrick Henry,
In his "Last Will and Testament", 1798
"It is fit and becoming in all people, at all times, to acknowledge and revere the Supreme Government of God; to bow in humble submission to His chastisement; to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom; and to pray, with all fervency and contrition, for the pardon of past offenses, and for a blessing upon their present and prospective action."
-Abraham Lincoln,
Declaring a National Day of Prayer and Fasting following the Battle of Bull Run.
Quotes courtesy of ACLJ, defenders of the faith.
7 posted on 01/07/2002 2:49:56 PM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: dennisw
Hog wash. i saw this guy on FOX, he essentially claiming that our nation should have no morality in pursuing wars.

What made America what it is because it is fair, and moral nation.

8 posted on 01/07/2002 2:52:12 PM PST by philosofy123
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To: Mad-Margaret
Yes this was an excellent FOXNEWS segment. Just saw it. Worth your while to catch it! I detest paganism and it was a mistake to put it in the title. It detracts from the real meaning of the book which is that some ruthlessness in foreign policy is good. Machiavellianism is called for. But our domestic policies must be gentler to our own and where the Christian-Judeo ethic is applied fully. 

Kaplan wrote the famous book "The Coming Anarchy" about the decent of the 3rd world into chaos
9 posted on 01/07/2002 2:57:51 PM PST by dennisw
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To: dennisw
Kaplan is the guy who has a lot of brilliant ideas, but no judgement to enable him to decide which are true and which are clever but wrong. He's an enthusiastic source of clever new ideas, but as likely to be wildly wrong as right in the end.

This story is ominously reminiscent of last year's satirical article "Neo-cons Convert en Masse to Roman Paganism."

10 posted on 01/07/2002 3:36:17 PM PST by x
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To: dennisw
Time to dust off those old copies of Machiavelli folks.
11 posted on 01/07/2002 3:42:16 PM PST by DoctorMichael
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To: x
And here I pegged you for the real-politik type. Guess not, eh?
12 posted on 01/07/2002 3:46:40 PM PST by dennisw
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To: dennisw
"Speak softly and carry a big stick," or "the iron hand in a velvet glove." We have to have the power and the big sword, but don't have to go around rattling it all the time. Indeed it's probably better if we don't.

"Know thyself." We have great power to get things done, to put all our energies into winning a war and winning it. But we aren't one of those aristocratic powers that can stoicly devote itself to maintaining a world empire. Neo-imperialists don't understand hat we aren't Romans or Victorian Britons. As a people we can achieve remarkable things when we have to, but we really aren't a nation of empire builders. Our would-be leaders should take a long look at who we are as a people and what our aspirations are, and not presume that we are other than we are or try to use us as fodder for their own dreams of world supremacy.

And in fact, part of our strength is that we are such a fun-loving, non-political, non-militaristic people. If we were what Kaplan wants us to be we would be hated more than we are or need to be.

13 posted on 01/07/2002 8:28:33 PM PST by x
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To: x
Lord, how ludicrous.

I'm hesitant even to take the bait, because this book is so manifestly an attempt to gin up controversy and capitalize on neoconservative and neoliberal war fever. Yet somehow, I can't resist...

One might start by asking how, if the "pagan ethos" is such an irresistable military force, the most powerful and enduring pagan hegemony in the history of the world (yes, even more powerful than today's US) was, in fact, overtaken by humble Christians without an army. Then one might ask how Christian Byzantium managed to endure for another 1000 years against repeated assaults by larger and often more powerful enemies to her East, only to be fatally weakened by the then decidedly non-pagan forces of Western Europe.

Then of course there is the entire history of the world post-Byzantium, which was a nearly uninterrupted triumphal march of Christian forces around the entire Globe. At one point in the early 20th Century, Christian or nominally Christian forces controlled some 75% of the world's territory. The rest simply wasn't worth having.

Of coure the post-Christian (and arguably neo-pagan) era in the West has been another story altogether. Empires collapsing. Influence waning. Retrenchment on all fronts. Internecine conflicts against neo-pagan fascists in the European heartland. An abyssmal--in the truest sense of the word-- 60 years.

It seems to me that we need not reach quite so far back as paganism to reclaim the mantle of world leadership for the West.

14 posted on 01/07/2002 8:44:46 PM PST by cicero's_son
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To: cicero's_son
"Then of course there is the entire history of the world post-Byzantium, which was a nearly uninterrupted triumphal march of Christian forces around the entire Globe..."

Except, of course, for that nasty spell with the Saracens menacing Venice and the Moors pushing all the way to the Paris suburbs.

But then again, even the Moors and Saracens weren't really pagans, per se. Heathens, yes. Pagans, no.

15 posted on 01/07/2002 8:59:39 PM PST by cicero's_son
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To: dennisw,prodigal daughter
This book takes on growing significance. It comes to mind this morning as we learn that Pearl is said to be dead. We have Pearl's kidnapper. The Pakis had his family in custody (but released them Monday, I believe.) Sheik, the perp, is supposedly cooperating to save his wife and children.

So Pearl's wife may learn on Valentine's Day that her husband was murdered.

My (vanity) thoughts this morning:

Sheik Whatshisname says that Pearl is dead. Just got up (earlier than usual) and heard it on Fox. I've said before that I don't think America has what it takes so survive this Muslim assault. We could do now what would assure there wouldn't be another Pearl kidnapping. We would do it by speaking to these people from the world-view that THEY have, NOT from the one that we (we civilized Godly people) have. IMHO, if we continue to view these people through the prism of Western civlization, they will win and win and win again. Mercy, justice, compassion, negoiation, compromise---these concepts do not exist in these people's minds. But we don't GET that.

If you remember, Khadafi was acting out at will in the late 70's and early 80's. Finally, RWR had enough and bombed the Libyan home of the man, killing his son. For the next decade the world didn't hear a peep from Khadafi.

It is so alien to us to think of adopting the very pagan tactics we despise, but it gets back to multi-culti communication: the ONLY thing these people get---it's not niceness and kindness and empathy and sympathy---it's brute, relentless, merciless, take-no-prisoners, scorched-earth, violence.

I'm certainly not the first person to recommend pagan tactics be used against the pagans. We know where the wife and kids of this "Sheik" are, for example. We must make these people fear us. Do the math.

16 posted on 02/14/2002 3:45:24 AM PST by gg188
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To: gg188
It is so alien to us to think of adopting the very pagan tactics we despise, but it gets back to multi-culti communication: the ONLY thing these people get---it's not niceness and kindness and empathy and sympathy---it's brute, relentless, merciless, take-no-prisoners, scorched-earth, violence.

I'm certainly not the first person to recommend pagan tactics be used against the pagans. We know where the wife and kids of this "Sheik" are, for example. We must make these people fear us. Do the math.

I know EXACTLY what you are saying. Wipe out his smug little turd Sheik what's his name and a few of his family members. This is what paganistic scum understand. We have been living charmed and indulgent lives where we have had the luxury of not burdening our consciences by doing terrible things. But we will have no choice in doing so because we will be dead if we don't.

Also keep your eye on the Jihad of higher birthrates. This Jihad is participated in by every Muslim.

alt
This is an undated photo of Sheik Omar Saeed, who is being hunted by police in Pakistan in connection with the kidnapping of US reporter Daniel Pearl, it was reported Wednesday Feb. 6, 2002, in The Times newspaper, London. Saeed, 27, a London-born former British public schoolboy was named by officials at the US State Department as a key figure in the kidnapping, according to the newspaper report. (AP Photo/PA) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES MAGAZINES OUT

17 posted on 02/14/2002 5:56:49 AM PST by dennisw
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To: gg188
Warrior-Pagan-Machiavelli-Turn-the-spooks-loose-on-these- little-bastards Re-Bump.
18 posted on 02/14/2002 6:09:35 AM PST by DoctorMichael
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To: DoctorMichael
Check THIS out........From the WASHINGTON TIMES (Inside Politics 2/14/02)







Who's to blame?

Many critics have blamed America's intelligence agencies for failing to detect or prevent the September 11 attacks. But David Horowitz notes that many Democrats in Congress repeatedly voted to cut funding for those agencies.

Every year for seven consecutive years, beginning in 1993, Rep. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent (COMMUNIST), who caucuses with the Democrats, "introduced an amendment that required a minimum reduction in financial authorization for each individual intelligence agency of at least 10 percent," Mr. Horowitz writes in a new pamphlet, "How the Left Undermined America's Security."

"Irresponsible? Incomprehensible? Not to ... the Democrats in the House who voted in favor of the Sanders amendment over the years. Ninety-seven Democrats in all voted for the Sanders cuts," Mr. Horowitz writes.

"As the terrorist attacks on America intensified year by year during the 1990s, Sanders steadfastly reintroduced his amendment. In 1995, 1996 and 1997 [Rep.] Barney Frank [Massachusetts Democrat] introduced a similar amendment that would cut the intelligence funds by less, but cut them still. In 1997, 158 Democrats voted for the Frank amendment. That same year, a majority [of Democrats] voted for a modified Sanders amendment to cut intelligence funds by 5 percent."

19 posted on 02/14/2002 6:20:22 AM PST by DoctorMichael
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To: cicero's_son
One might start by asking how, if the "pagan ethos" is such an irresistable military force, the most powerful and enduring pagan hegemony in the history of the world (yes, even more powerful than today's US) was, in fact, overtaken by humble Christians without an army. Then one might ask how Christian Byzantium managed to endure for another 1000 years against repeated assaults by larger and often more powerful enemies to her East, only to be fatally weakened by the then decidedly non-pagan forces of Western Europe.

The Roman Empire was replaced by the Holy Roman Empire. For nealy a thousand years the western world's greatest military and economic force was the Church of Rome. Perhaps the Church was holy, but it ruled not because it was holy, but because it was pragmatic.

20 posted on 02/14/2002 7:16:56 AM PST by powderhorn
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To: dennisw
I'm guessing that you are an Amazon Affiliate, yes?
21 posted on 02/14/2002 7:19:33 AM PST by powderhorn
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To: powderhorn
No...I just like the book!
22 posted on 02/14/2002 11:35:38 AM PST by dennisw
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