In the throes of the U.S. Republican Primary to recognize John Huntsman’s exit today take a look at these suggestions from regular FP.com blogger Dan Drezner for informing your inner pol:
1) Walter Russell Mead, Special Providence. Comment: An excellent introduction to the myriad strains of thought that have permeated American foreign policy over the past two and a half centuries. International relations theorists might quibble with Mead’s different intellectual traditions, but I suspect politicians will immediately “get” them.
2) David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest (for Democrats); James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans (for Republicans). Comment: Each side should read about their greatest foreign policy mistake of the past century to appreciate that even the best and smartest advisors in the world will not necessarily translate into wise foreign policies.
3) Richard Neustadt and Earnest May, Thinking in Time. Comment: Politicians like to claim that they don’t cotton to abstract academic theories of the world, that they rely on things like “common sense” and “folk wisdom.” … Neustadt and May’s book does an excellent job of delineating the various ways that the history can be abused in presidential decision-making.
Watch for my year in review list of best books for thinking about diplomacy and international affairs. (I’m up to my neck in booklists, another great things about year end and the start of a new semester.)