The Presidents and the McGenerals

obama mcchrystal

Kenneth Weisbode: Gen. McChrystal is far from the first general to scoff at the White House. His fate echoes that of Generals MacArthur and McClellan but the comparison ends there, says historian Kenneth Weisbrode, because today there’s a greater reliance on the military in foreign relations.

The Distant Horizon of a President

Kenneth Weisbrode: Whom does Obama admire? He speaks often of Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Reagan. Future historians of today’s zeitgeist will note that the best-selling presidential biographies are now of Polk and Wilson. These presidents had in common the setting of a few clear goals and great persistence in achieving them, sometimes against tremendous odds. The results only became evident years after they left office.

Obama, Diplomat-in-Chief

Kenneth Weisbrode: America now faces a situation to which neither benign neglect nor grandstanding will suffice to distract it from its central task of underwriting a peaceful international system. For all that the “new world order” took on a slanderous meaning in certain quarters during the 1990s, it still seems to be what much of the globe wants.

Secretary Clinton — Leader or Figurehead?

Hillary

To be a reliable vicar, even for a president as cautious and deliberative as Barack Obama, she must still prove just how strong her backbone really is. She shouldn’t wait for the next crisis to do so. Now is the time to forge strong constituencies of her own at home and abroad, and to take those risks. At stake is not only her own reputation, but also that of her president and her country.