About the Book Club
The IRC Book Club gives participants the opportunity to discuss foreign affairs, global topics, authors' perspectives, historical events, and their current local relevance in a respectful, engaging setting. Convened by seasoned Great Decisions leader Jack McLaren, the group meets every six to eight weeks to dig into a different author's work.
Thursday, June 21, 2018 – 6:30-8 p.m.
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center (4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110)
Session Leader: Col. Bill Eckhardt (U.S. Army, ret.)
This is a free program that is open to the public, though reservations are requested to help with planning.
For those who would like to continue the discussion after 8:00, the group may move to some place like the Brooksider.
The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force
by Eliot A. Cohen – 304 pages
Available for purchase (hardback, paperback, or e-reader): Amazon »
We encourage you to visit local booksellers: Rainy Day Books »
Local libraries have copies of the book and audiobook available.
Description: "Speak softly and carry a big stick" Theodore Roosevelt famously said in 1901, when the United States was emerging as a great power. It was the right sentiment, perhaps, in an age of imperial rivalry but today many Americans doubt the utility of their global military presence, thinking it outdated, unnecessary or even dangerous. In The Big Stick, Eliot A. Cohen – a scholar and practitioner of international relations – disagrees. He argues that hard power remains essential for American foreign policy. While acknowledging that the US must be careful about why, when, and how it uses force, he insists that its international role is as critical as ever, and armed force is vital to that role.
Cohen explains that American leaders must learn to use hard power in new ways and for new circumstances. The rise of a well-armed China, Russia's conquest of Crimea and eastern Ukraine, nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran, and the spread of radical Islamist movements like ISIS are some of the key threats to global peace. If the United States relinquishes its position as a strong but prudent military power, and fails to accept its role as the guardian of a stable world order we run the risk of unleashing disorder, violence and tyranny on a scale not seen since the 1930s. The US is still, as Madeleine Albright once dubbed it, "the indispensable nation."