In this long-awaited successor to his #1 national bestseller The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam describes in fascinating human detail how the shadow of the Cold War still hangs over American foreign policy and how domestic politics have determined our role as a world power.
More than twenty-five years ago Halberstam told the riveting story of the men who conceived and executed the Vietnam War. Today the Pulitzer Prize- winning author has written another unforgettable chronicle of Washington politics, this time exploring the complex dynamics of foreign policy in post-Cold War America.
Halberstam brilliantly evokes the internecine conflicts, the untrammeled egos, and the struggles for dominance among the key figures in the White House, the State Department, and the military. He shows how the decisions of men who served in the Vietnam War -- such as General Colin Powell and presidential advisers Richard Holbrooke and Anthony Lake -- and those who did not have shaped American politics and policy makers (perhaps most notably, President Clinton's placing, for the first time in fifty years, domestic issues over foreign policy).
With his uncanny ability to find the real story behind the headlines, Halberstam shows how current events in the Balkans, Somalia, and Haiti reflect American politics and foreign policy. He discusses the repercussions in Washington on policy makers from two different administrations; the wariness of the American military to become caught again in an inconclusive ground war; the frustrations of civilian advisers, most of whom have never served in the military; and the effects these conflicting forces have on the American commander in Kosovo, General Wes Clark.
Sweeping in its scope and impressive in its depth, War in a Time of Peace provides fascinating portraits of Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Kissinger, James Baker, Dick Cheney, Madeleine Albright, and others, to reveal a stunning view of modern political America.
For a brief, glorious, almost Olympian moment it appeared that the presidency itself could serve as the campaign. Rarely had an American president seemed so sure of reelection. In the summer and fall of 1991, George Bush appeared to be politically invincible. His personal approval ratings in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War had reached 90 percent, unheard of for any sitting president, and even more remarkable for someone like Bush, a competent political insider whose charisma and capacity to inspire had in the past escaped most of his fellow citizens. Of his essential decency and competence there had been little doubt, and the skill with which he had presided over the end of the Cold War had impressed not merely the inner club that monitored foreign policy decision-making, but much of the country as well. With exceptional sensitivity, he had juggled and balanced his own political needs with the greater political needs of his newest partner in this joint endeavor, ...
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