Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 05:01 | SYDNEY
Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 05:01 | SYDNEY

Cliffsnotes for foreign policy


Andrew Carr


2 May 2011 09:02

Daniel W. Drezner of issues a challenge: a Senator a copy of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War and assuming they'll get really hooked on the story is faintly absurd... [Yet] neither Kenneth Waltz nor Bruce Bueno de Mesquita would last as long in a politicians' hands as Thucydides. Aspiring leaders of America can and should do better than Friedman, however. I therefore call upon the readers of this blog to proffer up their suggestions -- if you had to pick three books for an ambitious U.S. politician to read in order to bone up on foreign affairs, what would they be?

After the success of Graeme's call for books on China for the PM, I thought I'd once again tap the reading tastes of the Interpreter's audience, to see what easy-to-dive-into books they think aspiring Australian/US politicians should read. Personally I'd offer:

  1. Monsoon by Robert D. Kaplan — To learn about the most important strategic region for the 21st century, the Indian Ocean.
  2. The accidental guerrilla by David Kilcullen — To understand the enemy the West is fighting (and creating) in the war on terror.
  3. Asia Alone by Simon Tay — Why Asia wants the US to remain in the region (along with Francis Pike's very readable Empires at War if they need the history).

Readers are invited to send in their top three books for an ambitious politician to read to get a feel for international relations in the 21st century. To help you choose, federal MP Andrew Leigh did a survey of the reading habits of Australian politicians last year that's worth peaking at, and Drezner's readers have their own suggestions