Power and Persuasion

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

Frederick W. Kagan opens Power and Persuasion with this quote from diplomat-historian George F. Kennan:

You have no idea how much it contributes to the general politeness and pleasantness of diplomacy when you have a little quiet armed force in the background.

Kagan explains why Napolean failed and Bismarck succeeded:

Diplomacy is not simply the art of persuading others to accept a set of demands. It is the art of discerning objectives the world will accept — and the restraints on one’s own power that one must accept in turn. Peace can endure after conflict only if all the major players find it preferable to another war.

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