Ep. 176: Susan Eisenhower - On Decision-Making, Russia-Ukraine and How Ike Led

I’ve been wanting to have an episode in which we take a ‘big picture’ look at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, there is so much analysis out there about the conflict that I wasn’t sure if I could bring on the right guest who could be highly credible and offer a unique perspective, preferably steeped in a wider historical context. This is why I am so delighted to bring to you my conversation with Susan Eisenhower.

Susan is the granddaughter of General and President Dwight Eisenhower. She wrote a critically-acclaimed book about her grandfather’s leadership principles entitled How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower’s Biggest Decisions. She is also an expert on Russia-US relations, international security, energy, and space policy. She has served on numerous government task forces, is the Chair of Public Policy Programs at the Eisenhower Institute, and the founder of the Eisenhower Group, a consulting firm. So, she knows of what she speaks.

This episode proceeds in two parts. In the first half, Susan covers General President Dwight Eisenhower’s leadership principles, particularly how he made decisions. We focus on D-Day and when, as President, Ike looked at options to contain Soviet expansionism. These leadership and decision-making principles are not only fascinating, but they are also highly transferable.

In the second half, we fast forward to the present and discuss Russia’s war with Ukraine. Susan shares how we got here, a number of concerns she has, as well as the longer-term implications of the conflict. She also discusses decision-making in the context of nuclear war more broadly.

Show notes:

Susan Eisenhower

How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower’s Biggest Decisions

The Eisenhower Foundation

The Great Man Theory of leadership


Project Solarium

Atoms for Peace

Gettysburg College

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Our free course module “How to Set Up Any Decision for Success” from our upcoming course How to Make Decisions With Calm and Confidence