Max Boot (born September 12, 1969) is a Russian-American author, consultant, editorialist, lecturer, and military historian. He worked as a writer and editor for Christian Science Monitor and then for The Wall Street Journal in the 1990s. He is now Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has written for numerous publications such as The Weekly Standard, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times, and he has also authored books of military history. Boot's most recent book, 2018's The Road Not Taken, is a biography of Edward Lansdale.
Boot in 2007
September 12, 1969 |
Moscow, Soviet Union
(modern-day Russian Federation)
Boot was born in Moscow. His parents, both Russian Jews, later emigrated from the Soviet Union to Los Angeles, where he was raised. Boot was educated at the University of California, Berkeley (BA, History, 1991) and Yale University (MA, Diplomatic History, 1992). He started his journalistic career writing columns for the Berkeley student newspaper The Daily Californian. He later stated that he believes he is the only conservative writer in that paper's history. Boot and his family currently live in the New York area.
Boot is the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and the Los Angeles Times, and a regular contributor to other publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The New York Times. He has blogged regularly for Commentary Magazine since 2007, and for several years on its blog page called Contentions. He has given lectures at U.S. military institutions such as the Army War College and the Command and General Staff College.
Boot worked as a writer and as an editor for The Christian Science Monitor from 1992 to 1994. He moved to The Wall Street Journal for the next eight years. He wrote an investigative column called 'Rule of Law' about legal issues. After a four-year career with the column, he rose to the position of editor of the Op-Ed page.
Boot left the Journal in 2002 to join the Council on Foreign Relations as a Senior Fellow in National Security Studies. His initial writings with the CFR appeared in several publications, including The New York Post, The Times, Financial Times, and International Herald Tribune.
Boot wrote Savage Wars of Peace, a study of small wars in American history, with Basic Books in 2002. The title came from Kipling's poem 'White Man's Burden'. James A. Russell in Journal of Cold War Studies criticized the book, saying that "Boot did none of the critical research, and thus the inferences he draws from his uncritical rendition of history are essentially meaningless." Benjamin Schwarz argued in The New York Times that Boot asked the U.S. military to do a "nearly impossible task", and he criticized the book as "unrevealing". Victor Davis Hanson in History News Network gave a positive review, saying that "Boot's well-written narrative is not only fascinating reading, but didactic as well". Robert M. Cassidy in Military Review labeled it "extraordinary". Boot's book also won the 2003 General Wallace M. Greene Jr. Award from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation as the best non-fiction book recently published pertaining to Marine Corps history.
Boot wrote numerous articles with the CFR in 2003 and 2004. The World Affairs Councils of America named Boot one of "the 500 most influential people in the United States in the field of foreign policy" in 2004. He also worked as member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in 2004.
He published the work War Made New, an analysis of revolutions in military technology since 1500, in 2006. The book's central thesis is that a military succeeds when it has the dynamic, forward-looking structures and administration in place to exploit new technologies. It concludes that the U.S. military may lose its edge if it does not become flatter, less bureaucratic, and more decentralized. The book received praise from Josiah Bunting III in The New York Times, who called it "unusual and magisterial", and criticism from Martin Sieffin in The American Conservative, who called it "remarkably superficial".
Boot wrote many more articles with the CFR in 2007, and he received the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism that year. In an April 2007 episode of Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg, Boot stated that he "used to be a journalist" and that he currently views himself purely as a military historian. Boot served as a foreign policy adviser to Senator John McCain in his 2008 United States presidential election bid. He stated in an editorial in World Affairs Journal that he saw strong parallels between Theodore Roosevelt and McCain. Boot continued to write for the CFR in several publications in 2008 and 2009.
Boot wrote for the CFR through 2010 and 2011 for various publications such as Newsweek, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and The Weekly Standard among others. He particularly argued that President Obama's health care plans made maintaining the U.S.' superpower status harder, that withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq occurred prematurely while making another war there more likely, and that the initial U.S. victory in Afghanistan had been undone by government complacency though forces could still pull off a victory. He also wrote op-eds criticizing planned budget austerity measures in both the U.S. and the U.K. as hurting their national security interests.
In September 2012, during a stint as a fellow with the New America Foundation, Boot co-wrote with Brookings Institution senior fellow Michael Doran a New York Times op-ed titled "5 Reasons to Intervene in Syria Now", advocating U.S military force to create a countrywide no-fly zone reminiscent of NATO's role in the Kosovo War. He stated first and second that "American intervention would diminish Iran's influence in the Arab world" and that "a more muscular American policy could keep the conflict from spreading" with "sectarian strife in Lebanon and Iraq". Third, Boot argued that "training and equipping reliable partners within Syria's internal opposition" could help "create a bulwark against extremist groups like Al Qaeda". He concluded that "American leadership on Syria could improve relations with key allies like Turkey and Qatar" as well as "end a terrible human-rights disaster".
Boot's book, titled Invisible Armies (2013), is about the history of guerrilla warfare, going through various cases of successful and unsuccessful insurgent efforts such as the fighting during the American war of independence, the Vietnam War, and the current Syrian Civil War. He states that traditional, conventional army tactics as employed by the American military under the administrations of President Bush and President Obama against guerrilla organizations have produced big strategic failures. Boot has discussed his book in various programs such as the Hoover Institution's Uncommon Knowledge series, appearing on it in January 2014.
In general, Boot considers himself to be a "natural contrarian". He identifies as a conservative, once joking that "I grew up in the 1980s, when conservatism was cool". He is in favor of limited government at home and American leadership abroad. He strongly opposed Trump's presidential candidacy in 2016 and has been highly critical of the Republican Party. Boot was critical of the nomination of Rex Tillerson to the position of Secretary of State, believing him to be problematically pro-Russian, and subsequently called on Tillerson to resign.
In an opinion piece for Foreign Policy in September 2017, Max Boot outlines his views thusly: "I am socially liberal: I am pro-LGBTQ rights, pro-abortion rights, pro-immigration. I am fiscally conservative: I think we need to reduce the deficit and get entitlement spending under control. I am pro-environment: I think that climate change is a major threat that we need to address. I am pro-free trade: I think we should be concluding new trade treaties rather than pulling out of old ones. I am strong on defense: I think we need to beef up our military to cope with multiple enemies. And I am very much in favor of America acting as a world leader: I believe it is in our own self-interest to promote and defend freedom and free markets as we have been doing in one form or another since at least 1898."
In December 2017, also in Foreign Policy, Boot wrote that recent events—particularly since the 2016 election of Donald Trump as president—had caused him to rethink some of his previous views concerning the existence of white privilege and male privilege. "In the last few years, in particular, it has become impossible for me to deny the reality of discrimination, harassment, even violence that people of color and women continue to experience in modern-day America from a power structure that remains for the most part in the hands of straight, white males. People like me, in other words. Whether I realize it or not, I have benefitted from my skin color and my gender—and those of a different gender or sexuality or skin color have suffered because of it."
- The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam (Liveright Publishing Corporation/W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2018), ISBN 0-871-40941-0
- Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present (Liveright, 2013), ISBN 0-87140-424-9
- War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today (Gotham Books, 2006), ISBN 1-59240-222-4
- The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power (Basic Books, 2002), ISBN 0-465-00721-X
- Out of Order: Arrogance, Corruption and Incompetence on the Bench (Basic Books, 1998), ISBN 0-465-05375-0
- "Max Boot". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 6, 2005. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- Max Boot. Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed March 1, 2009.
- "Max Boot". New York Times. Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- Barnes, Thomas; Kreisler, Harry (2003). "Conversation with Max Boot: Background". Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved January 22, 2008.
- "Author Archive: Max Boot". Commentary. commentarymagazine.com. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
- "Max Boot". Commentary. Archived from the original on February 7, 2011. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
- Velvel, Lawrence (May 24, 1998). "Sentencing the Judges". Washington Post. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
- Max Boot – Publications – 2002. Council of Foreign Relations. Accessed August 30, 2009.
- "The Post-Powell Doctrine". By Benjamin Schwarz. The New York Times. Published July 21, 2002. Retrieved August 22, 2009.
- Russell, James A. The Savage Wars of Peace: Review. Journal of Cold War Studies 6.3 (2004) pp. 124–126
- Books: Max Boot's The Savage Wars of Peace. By Victor Davis Hanson. History News Network. Published April 29, 2002.
- Cassidy, Robert M. The Savage Wars of Peace Archived December 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.. Military Review, Nov–Dec 2004. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
- "General Wallace M. Greene Jr. Award - Book awards - LibraryThing". www.librarything.com.
- Max Boot – Publications – 2003. Council of Foreign Relations. Accessed August 30, 2009.
- Max Boot – Publications – 2004. Council of Foreign Relations. Accessed August 30, 2009.
- "An Open Letter to the Heads of State and Government of the European Union and NATO". Project for the New American Century. September 28, 2004. Archived from the original on September 29, 2004. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
- War Made New Archived March 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.. Brookings Institution. Published October 26, 2006.
- Killing Machines. By Josiah Bunting. The New York Times. Published December 17, 2006. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
- Sieff, Martin. "On War It's Not" Archived March 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.. The American Conservative. Published March 12, 2007. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
- Max Boot – Publications – 2007. Council of Foreign Relations. Accessed August 30, 2009.
- America, Quo Vadis? Part 1. Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg. Originally broadcast April 12, 2007. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
- "The War Over the Wonks". The Washington Post. October 2, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- Max Boot – Publications – 2008. Council of Foreign Relations. Accessed August 30, 2009.
- Max Boot – Publications – 2009. Council of Foreign Relations. Accessed August 30, 2009.
- Max Boot – Publications – 2010. Council of Foreign Relations.
- Max Boot – Publications – 2011. Council of Foreign Relations.
- Doran, Michael; Boot, Max (September 26, 2012). "5 Reasons to Intervene in Syria Now". The New York Times.
- "Max Boot on guerilla warfare".
- "Conversation with Max Boot, p. 1 of 7". globetrotter.berkeley.edu.
- Boot, Max (December 30, 2002). "What the Heck Is a 'Neocon'?". OpinionJournal.com. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
- Boot, Max (2016-05-08), "The Republican Party is dead", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 2016-07-20
- Boot, Max (2016-08-01), "How the stupid party created Donald Trump", The New York Times, retrieved 2016-12-19
- Boot, Max (August 23, 2017). "Time Is Up on Rex Tillerson". Foreign Policy. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
Having proved a failure at every aspect of being secretary of state, he should do the country a favor and resign.
- "I Would Vote for (a Sane) Donald Trump".
- Boot, Max (December 27, 2017). "2017 Was the Year I Learned About My White Privilege". Foreign Policy. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Max Boot|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Max Boot.|
- Articles at Commentary
- Boot, Max. "Neocons May Get the Last Laugh" Los Angeles Times, March 3, 2005.
- Max Boot discusses War Made New at the World Affairs Council of Northern California, November 11, 2006 (video)
- Interview on War Made New at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library on December 7, 2006
- Interview on Invisible Armies at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library on March 13, 2013
- An excerpt from Out of Order at The Denver Post
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Paul Mulshine "Give Max the Boot: Neocon military 'expert' lacks any expertise, NJ.com November 30, 2014
- Curt Mills "Tucker Carlson Goes to War Against the Neocons", The National Interest July 14, 2017