Dr. Wesley Renfro
Review # 10
A Selection Bias
This review focuses on the contents of chapter three of Leaders At War by Elizabeth N. Saunders. Saunders dedicated this chapter to the explaining intervention through the president Dwight D. Eisenhower. Her main Argument is that Eisenhower’s is an externally focused leader and as such, his beliefs about the origins of threats shaped his decision to intervene. This review does not criticize the author’s argument about the former president but it does however criticize her methodology through the use of cost benefit calculations. I argue that Saunders, in trying to explain leadership choices in times of war, uses special cases that would only aid her argument and not go against it and for this reason, her argument becomes weak.
Eisenhower was presented with different opportunities for which he could have chosen to intervene. One of his hallmarks is that during his term, he cut the United States military by one third from 1.5 million people to 1 million people. No one could do this without some sort of explanation and his was that the power of America’s nukes would be sufficient to make up for the lost people. He also supported this decision to cut the size of the military by arguing that military overspending could put a hole in the economy and cutting down military spending could in essence help the economy. This cut in military spending had it been by any other president would have been seen as downfall but Eisenhower was an expert in convincing people particularly for this.
Being a military man, Eisenhower preferred to keep the world at peace through military alliances and the use of checks and balances. Because he views threats as external to a state, he was more interested in the domestic affairs of other states. In the Middle East for example he was interested in the oil there but his fear of misusing military might helped him make clearer judgments in times of...