The Best Defense

The Best Defense

Why Tom is so damn wrong about the relevancy of political science

By Stephen Saideman

Best Defense guest respondent

Last night, my chain got pulled by Tom Ricks, who has written some fine books on the U.S. military including the well-named Fiasco about the Iraq war. He was frustrated with the content of International Security and then went on a tear about how irrelevant and "made up" political science is. Given my respect for his work and the importance of his blog within the policy community, I found this view profoundly frustrating. I promised to come up with a list of relevant poli-sci stuff, and here I shall do so. 

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The Best Defense

Donnelly: Sean Kay is wrong because, like so many realists, he overvalues realism

By Thomas Donnelly

Best Defense guest respondent

Sean Kay may be correct that I have misdiagnosed what ails the Obama Administration's foreign policy, though I would note that the level of elite anxiety about the Levant, Ukraine and maritime East Asia seems only to be rising: Marc Ambinder is no neocon, but he declares the world to be "en fuego" and that, while "Obama seems to be flailing in front of everyone," it's also true that "there is no GOP alternative."  If that's not a measure of Establishment melt-down, I don't know what is.

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The Best Defense

Sherman (XI): The Confederates I worry about most after the war will be the young men with guns and horses -- but no land

Best Defense is in summer re-runs. This item originally ran on April 25, 2014.

Let's finish off this week's celebration of the defeat of the Confederacy with a look at a lengthy letter written in September 1863, in which Gen. William T. Sherman laid out his concerns about postwar reconstruction.

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The Best Defense

One of the best military reading lists ever: Direct to you from the Australian army

Best Defense is in summer re-runs. This item originally ran on April 11, 2014.

It's been awhile since I've seen a reading list this good, and so comprehensive. An education itself. One thing I especially like about it is that it doesn't just list books, it tells you why you might want to read each one.

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