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Tobin Harshaw

Can an Ancient Greek Win America's Wars?

A Q&A with Fred and Kimberly Kagan on the hottest book in the Trump inner circle: Thucydides' "History of the Peloponnesian War."
Where's Sparta when you need it?

Where's Sparta when you need it?

Source: Hulton Archive via Getty Images

It’s been a scorching week in Washington, what with daily revelations about Russian hacking, the Senate stumbling its way to an Obamacare substitute, and both parties giving way too much hype to a House special election in Georgia. So who would've thought that the most prominent man in the news cycle would be a foreign military strategist 2,400 years in the grave?

Thanks to an article by Politico's Michael Crowley, the Greek historian Thucydides, who chronicled the dismal Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta in the 5th century B.C., is the talk of the town. It turns out that Thucydides is a favorite read of some very different factions of Trump's idiosyncratic inner circle. One the one hand, you have the president's rumpled political adviser and all-around provocateur, Steve Bannon, and on the other, two of the straight-laced generals who play the role of the administration's Adults in the Room: Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. (Crowley also notes that McMaster's spokesman, Michael Anton, owns two copies of Thucydides' "History of the Peloponnesian War.")