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Trump and His Generals (The Cost of Chaos)

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From one of America's preeminent national security journalists, an explosive, news-breaking account of the Trump Administration's reckless handling of American national security, foregrounding the generals--Jim Mattis, HR McMaster and John Kelly--who tried and failed to maintain adult supervision.

Halfway through the first year of the Trump administration, the "axis of adults" on the team had reason to feel fairly sanguine. Feral ideologue Mike Flynn had blown up on the launch pad as National Security Advisor, and by the end of the summer, Steve Bannon, the intellectual architect of a hardcore "America First" populist nationalism that called for a retreat into isolation, was out as well. Jim Mattis was secure at the helm of Defense, and his fellow generals HR McMaster and John Kelly were steadying presences too, who well knew the value of America's network of global defense alliances. Aiding and abetting them were two other strong "globalists"--a swear word to the Bannonite wing-- Gary Cohn and Rex Tillerson. Trump would always be Trump, but the grown-ups on board seemed willing and able to keep the crazy at bay.

By the middle of 2019, however, these dreams had been utterly dashed. McMaster, Kelly, Mattis, Cohn, and Tillerson were all gone, done in one after the other by the relentless storm of chaos, and taking with them in the minds of many any reasonable hope for a mature and considered national security policy, one that knew what a real emergency was when it saw it.

Commander in Chaos is New York Times-bestselling author Peter Bergen's jaw-dropping intimate account of life inside that storm, foregrounding the experiences of the four generals whose relationships with Trump have done so much to define his presidency--McMaster, Kelly, Mattis and Flynn. From Iraq and Afghanistan to Syria and Iran, from Russia and China to North Korea and Islamist terrorism, Commander in Chaos is a brilliant reckoning with an American ship of state navigating a roiling sea of acute threats without a well-functioning rudder. Bergen is both an intrepid and exquisitely well-sourced journalist and a very wise head himself on national security issues, and the combination of intense human drama and trenchant big-picture analysis results in a gripping read that offers tremendous clarity on the complex landscape of America's geopolitical place in the world. Clarity, unfortunately, is not the same thing as reassurance.

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  • Product Details

    Peter Bergen
    Penguin Publishing Group (December 10, 2019)
    6.39" x 9.54" x 1.3"
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