Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Strachan’s Direction of War: Tom’s own two cents to follow Jim Gourley’s review

The Best Defense mailboat recently steamed to the pier carrying a treat — Sir Hew Strachan’s new book. I know Jim G. is reviewing it, but since I read it I want to add a bit. This volume is essentially a collection of his essays since 9/11, revised a bit. As such, they make a ...

Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press

The Best Defense mailboat recently steamed to the pier carrying a treat -- Sir Hew Strachan's new book. I know Jim G. is reviewing it, but since I read it I want to add a bit.

This volume is essentially a collection of his essays since 9/11, revised a bit. As such, they make a great introduction to Strachan, in my view the most significant thinker on military affairs in Britain today. I've been a Strachan fan for awhile, so I'd already read a lot of these articles, when they first came out. But it was nice to revisit them, and reading them together underscored the consistency of his thoughts on strategy.

I had forgotten how tough he can be sometimes. He dismisses Samuel Huntington's Soldier and the State as "historically illiterate." He is, unfortunately, correct, I think.

The Best Defense mailboat recently steamed to the pier carrying a treat — Sir Hew Strachan’s new book. I know Jim G. is reviewing it, but since I read it I want to add a bit.

This volume is essentially a collection of his essays since 9/11, revised a bit. As such, they make a great introduction to Strachan, in my view the most significant thinker on military affairs in Britain today. I’ve been a Strachan fan for awhile, so I’d already read a lot of these articles, when they first came out. But it was nice to revisit them, and reading them together underscored the consistency of his thoughts on strategy.

I had forgotten how tough he can be sometimes. He dismisses Samuel Huntington’s Soldier and the State as “historically illiterate.” He is, unfortunately, correct, I think.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.