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Restoring U.S. Strength

by Arthur Herman

The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force, by Eliot A. Cohen (Basic, 304 pp., $27.99)

Until Donald Trump was elected president, it was conservatives who knew Eliot Cohen as the brilliant and hard-working director of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins’s School of Advanced International Studies and the author of Supreme Command, a compelling study of how great wartime leaders used their political authority to exert control over their military brass. If liberals thought about Cohen at all, it was to revile him as a key “neocon” and early hawk regarding American intervention in Iraq.

Today it is liberals who revere Cohen, as the dean of Never Trumpers. He thrilled them and the media by publishing a Washington Post op-ed dismissing President-elect Trump and his circle of advisers as “triumphalist rabble-rousers and demagogues” who are “out of their depth and unfit for the jobs they hold.” (He had said, during the primaries, that Trump’s victory “would be an unmitigated disaster for American foreign policy.”)

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