National security officials who want to know more about the formation of the American national security state or who are searching for a role model in conducting public service may be interested in this book. In his effort to pass on Goodpaster’s insights regarding national security affairs to subsequent generations of officials, Nelson strikes the tone of a how-to guide: how to become Goodpaster, or at least emulate this thoughtfulness and charisma.
As Congress marches toward major defense reforms in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, one area receiving increasing attention is the National Security Council (NSC). The narrative surrounding President Obama’s NSC has been shaped by biting criticisms of micromanagement in the operations of the Departments of Defense and State and indecision on major national security issues. As some have noted, the NSC has long been the preferred punching bag for foreign policy spectators over the last half century. However, the chorus of criticism has seemed to peak more recently, manifesting in proposed legislation.
We all knew this would happen. When the U.S. and Iran signed the nuclear deal in 2015, some thought it was just delaying the inevitable. I remember one of my professors at MIT comparing the deal to the Peace of Nicias during the Peloponnesian Wars. I guess he was right, just as with Athens and Sparta, the U.S.- Iran nuclear deal was a false peace.