war is an admixture of policy with other means
Strategic failure isn't unique to the United States. Saddam Hussein and the mullahs in Tehran haven't done well in this category either. Nor did the Soviet leadership.
One solution is antithetical to politics. Presidents desperately need a senior adviser well versed in strategic thinking and not dominated by domestic politics or the pressures of political expediency. Whether such individuals exist in nature or could survive that job is a test of presidential maturity.
Here Ricks' prescription can be translated from Army into civilian terms. Military leaders need to anticipate both the intended and unintended consequences of long-term policies and shorter-term directives. Before embarking on any action, commanders in chief would be well advised to follow this guidance by holding subordinates accountable for answering the vital question of "What next?" as a critical step in ensuring strategic success.