Monday, January 21, 2019

We should pay more attention to McKinley.....

Few episodes in McKinley's career reflected more distinctly the man's political and managerial style that his leadership of the war effort.  Never inclined toward bombast or over take-charge exhibitions, he displayed his normal indirect methods of management—listening more than talking, soliciting opinions and advice from many sources while keeping his own counsel until it came time for decision making.  Nor did he allow himself to get waylaid by the minutiae of the war enterprise.
     Yet no one in Washington maintained a more detailed understanding of the big issues emanating from the war, and on one deflected him from his chosen path. . . . Perceiving clearly the political and military dangers in a protracted war, he moved aggressively to pummel the enemy and thus end the conflict as quickly and decisively as possible.
     . . . A British commentator named Henry Norman, writing in the London Chronicle, foresaw a new fate for George Washington's famous admonition to his nation, "Avoid foreign entanglements."  This warning, said Norman, now "ceases to be the compass of the statesman and becomes the curio of the historian.

-Robert W. Merry,  President McKinley:  Architect of the American Century, as Merry writes about the end to the Spanish-American War.

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