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In Search of Pericles -- Beyond the Golden Age of Deterrence

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Clausewitz once said that Nothing is more important in life than finding the right standpoint for seeing and judging events. In the days of Greece and Rome, this is the service that Pericles provided Athens in guiding its strategic thinking to defend it from the warrior-state Sparta. It is what Clausewitz did in recognizing the implications of Napoleonic warfare to the 18th century world order. It is what Bernard Brodie did in the 20th century when he saw and judged the meaning of atomic weapons. Finally, it is what George Kennan did when he set forth the strategy of containment for the Cold War. In the aftermath of sweeping changes in Eastern Europe and an unresolved crisis in the Middle East, the United States finds itself confronted by a similar task of seeing and judging the events that have not only transformed the strategic landscape, but have also clouded its path into this new and unfamiliar terrain. In a larger sense, finding its way through this national security strategy terrain is an exercise in managing the apparently contradictory forces of continuity and change. What should be preserved What should be eliminated When How And Where The author submits that many of the answers lie in the United States own history and experience, in the rich flow of ideas developed by its statesmen and theorists, and in its judgment of the world. From this should emerge the basic national security strategy map for finding the nations way through the badlands that may lie ahead. Unfortunately, a quick review of 20th century history, especially the Cold War era, shows a disregard for history in various presidential administrations, precisely when it comes to national security strategy. This paper reviews the national security strategy used by various Presidential administrations throughout the Cold War.

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  • Government and Political Science

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