When thinking about America's role in world, what do Dwight Eisenhower, George H.W. Bush, and Barack Obama have in common? While divided by background, generation, and political party, they exemplify a distinct and underappreciated tradition of political leadership: The Middle Way. As the eminent foreign policy practitioner and scholar Derek Chollet shows, these presidents took a centrist-and effective-approach to foreign policy. In an era of extreme partisanship, they provide America with a model that can help serve as a guide. With so many challenges facing the US, the nation must reclaim this brand of leadership, learn from it, take pride in it, and champion it.
Looking behind the scenes of some of the most important moments in foreign policy since WWII, this timely book reveals how these presidents looked at the world and thought about leadership. By revisiting the history of Ike, Bush 41, and Obama, Chollet provides a fresh way of thinking about America. He makes a case for how we should measure the performance and define the success of a president-and the qualities it takes to be one. Through this compelling presidential history, he makes a bold, unapologetic call for our country to remember the value of centrism and change its current course.
All three presidents made mistakes, but their measured approach to foreign policymaking enhanced America's standing. They also demonstrated how the US can exercise prudent and powerful authority in the world, and they stand as exemplars of decency, humility, optimism, strength, ambition, and careful pragmatism. Together, they set the bar for the kind of global leadership we need-and they remind both Americans and the world that their proud legacy exists within us. Coming at a moment of deep crisis for America in the world, this book is a bold, unapologetic call for the foreign policy leadership our country urgently requires.