Betting on the Wrong Donkey

Recent proposals for beefing up Democratic national-security policy offer little in the way of fresh strategic thinking.

Issue: Nov-Dec 2007


Kurt M. Campbell and Michael E. O'Hanlon, Hard Power: The New Politics of National Security (New York: Basic Books, 2006), 224 pp., $26.00.

ONE ALMOST wonders if Kurt Campbell and Michael O'Hanlon wish that the Democrats had lost the congressional elections of 2006.

Before then, the Democratic Party had suffered a series of embarrassing electoral defeats and national security often proved its downfall. Bill Clinton explained the problem thusly: The electorate "would choose ‘strong and wrong' over ‘timid and right' every time."

But sensing that "Republican missteps [had] created a potential opening for intrepid Democrats and moderate Republicans", Campbell and O'Hanlon offered in the spring of 2006 Hard Power: The New Politics of National Security. The book, they explained, was a primer to help Democrats "think about the difficult decisions associated with military power and national security."

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