Editor's note: Gordon M. Goldstein is the author of "Lessons In Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and The Path to War in Vietnam," a book read by White House officials who deliberated on the request for more troops in Afghanistan. He has served as an international security adviser to the United Nations secretary-general and as a Wayland Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.
New York (CNN) - As a candidate and president, Barack Obama has distinguished himself as one of the most dynamic and enthralling orators in decades of American politics.
On issues ranging from race to health care to engagement with the Muslim world, he has repeatedly applied his rare gifts to both galvanize supporters and engage his critics and the undecided. Yet it will take more than an eloquent speech before the cadets of West Point to reverse his declining 35 percent approval rating for management of the war in Afghanistan, as his advisers no doubt hope.
Like President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, who tried to balance the demands of his nascent Vietnam policy with a highly ambitious domestic agenda, President Obama confronts a tough series of tests, beginning with his Tuesday night address.