On April four, 1864, Abraham Lincoln made a surprising admission approximately his presidency in the course of the Civil warfare. "I declare to not have managed events," he wrote in a letter, "but confess evidently that occasions have managed me." Lincoln's phrases hold a useful lesson for wartime presidents, writes Andrew J. Polsky during this seminal publication. As Polsky exhibits, whilst commanders-in-chief do try and regulate wartime occasions, in most cases they fail completely.
In Elusive Victories, Polsky offers a desirable examine of six wartime presidents, drawing greater classes concerning the limits of the facility of the White condo in the course of armed clash. He examines, in flip, Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, displaying how each one gravely overvalued his energy as commander-in-chief. In every one case, those presidents' assets didn't fit the main demanding situations that recur from warfare to battle. either Lincoln and Johnson intervened in army operations, giving orders to precise devices; but either struggled with the emerging unpopularity in their conflicts. either Wilson and Bush entered hostilities with idealistic agendas for the aftermath, but came upon themselves helpless to enact them. With perception and readability, Polsky identifies overarching concerns that would tell present and destiny policymakers. the one most vital dynamic, he writes, is the erosion of a president's freedom of motion. every one determination propels him down a course from which he can't flip again. whilst George W. Bush rejected the assumption of invading Iraq with 400,000 troops, he couldn't ship this sort of strength years later because the insurgency unfold. within the ultimate bankruptcy, Polsky examines Barack Obama's ideas in gentle of those conclusions, and considers how the reviews of the earlier could tell the area we are facing now.
Elusive Victories is the 1st e-book to supply a accomplished account of presidential management in the course of wartime, highlighting the most important risks that presidents have missed at their peril.