Power Play analyzes the Bush presidency's efforts to expand executive power in these four domains and puts them into constitutional and historical perspective. Pfiffner explores the evolution of Anglo-American thinking about executive power and individual rights. He highlights the lessons the Constitution's framers drew from such philosophers as Locke and Montesquieu, as well as English constitutional history. He documents the ways in which the Bush administration's policies have undermined the separation of powers, and he shows how these practices have imperiled the rule of law.
Following 9/11, the Bush presidency engaged in a two-front offensive. In Afghanistan and Iraq, the administration aggressively prosecuted the "war on terror." At home, it targeted constraints on the power of the executive. Power Play lays bare the extent of this second campaign and explains why it will continue to threaten the future of republican government if the other two branches do not assert their own constitutional prerogatives.
Six years into the "war on terror," are the United States and its allies better off than we were before it started? Sadly, we are not, and the reason is that we have been fighting – and losing – the wrong war.
In this paradigm-shifting book, Philip H. Gordon presents a new way of thinking about the war on terror and a new strategy for winning it. He draws a provocative parallel between the world today and the world of the Cold War, showing how defense, development, diplomacy, and the determination to maintain our own values can again be deployed alongside military might to defeat a violent and insidious ideology. Drawing on the latest scholarly research, his own experience in the White House, and visits to more than forty countries, he provides fresh insights into the nature of the terrorist challenge and offers concrete and realistic proposals for confronting it.
Gordon also asks the question "What would victory look like?" – a topic sorely missing from the debate today. He offers a positive vision of the world after the war on terror, which will end not when we kill or capture all potential terrorists but when their hateful ideology collapses around them, when extremists become isolated in their own communities, and when Americans and their allies will again feel safe. His vision for promoting these goals is achievable and realistic, but only if the United States changes course before it is too late. As we look beyond the presidency of George W. Bush, we must seize the opportunity to chart a new course to security for America, the West, and the world at large. The stakes could not be higher.
Cosponsored with the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Kennedy School, Harvard University.
No pattern of actual attacks on U.S. territory has yet emerged that provides a clear basis for predicting how serious any given form of attack might be in the future, what means of attack might be used, or how lethal new forms of attack might be. As a result, there is a major ongoing debate over the seriousness of the threat and how the U.S. government should react. This work is an invaluable contribution to that debate.