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Kagan, the neoconservative co-founder of the Project for a New American Century and vocal advocate for "regime change" in Iraq, argues that the United States, from its beginnings, has been an expansionist and aggressive power, contrary to the national self-image of Americans as inward-looking and isolationist. Of course for Kagan this is not a bad thing because the expansionism was accompanied by an ideology of freedom and a championing of liberal, commercial economics, even if it has caused defenders of monarchy and absolutism to view the US as a "dangerous nation. " The only real problem is the lack of historical understanding by Americans of their own expansionist tendencies, which causes them to miscalculate the reactions of themselves and others to historical events. He reviews this history of American expansionism and misunderstandings from colonial times to the Spanish-American war, hinting at a second volume to come in the final pages. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
At a time when relations between the United States and Europe are at their lowest ebb since World War II, this brief but cogent book is essential reading. Robert Kagan, a leading scholar of American foreign policy, forces both sides to see themselves through the eyes of the other. Europe, he argues, has moved beyond power into a self-contained world of laws, rules, and negotiation, while America operates in a "Hobbesian" world where rules and laws are unreliable and military force is often necessary.Tracing how this state of affairs came into being over the past fifty years and fearlessly exploring its ramifications for the future, Kagan reveals the shape of the new transatlantic relationship. The result is a book that promises to be as enduringly influential as Samuel Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations. From the Trade Paperback edition.
'Robert Kagan is the reigning pundit of great power politics. ' Alex Danchev, TLSHopes for a new peaceful international order after the end of the Cold War have been dashed by sobering realities. Great powers are once again competing for geopolitical influence. International competition between the United States, Russia, China, Europe, Japan, India, and Iran raises new threats of regional conflict. The expectation that after the Cold War the world had entered an era of international convergence has proved wrong. We have entered an age of divergence. In The Return of History and the End of Dreams, Robert Kagan masterfully poses the questions facing the liberal democratic world today. For the past few years, the liberal world has been internally divided and distracted by issues both profound and petty. But now History has returned, and the peoples of the liberal world need to choose whether they want to shape it - or let others shape it for them. 'Kagan's book reflects the dawning realisation in Washington in the wake of the Iraq debacle that it now has to operate in a world where autocratic China, Russia and Iran are not going to play ball with what Kagan dubs the big benign American dog thrashing its tail around in the global room. ' Michael Burleigh, Literary Review'Important, timely, and superbly written . . . Today's global challenges pose a stern test for the world's democracies. This book is a wakeup-call and should be read by policymakers, politicians, pundits and all who want a guide to the dangerous waters of the 21st-century geopolitics. ' Senator John McCain
What would the world look like if America were to reduce its role as a global leader in order to focus all its energies on solving its problems at home? And is America really in decline? Robert Kagan, New York Times best-selling author and one of the country's most influential strategic thinkers, paints a vivid, alarming picture of what the world might look like if the United States were truly to let its influence wane. Although Kagan asserts that much of the current pessimism is misplaced, he warns that if America were indeed to commit "preemptive superpower suicide," the world would see the return of war among rising nations as they jostle for power; the retreat of democracy around the world as Vladimir Putin's Russia and authoritarian China acquire more clout; and the weakening of the global free-market economy, which the United States created and has supported for more than sixty years. We've seen this before--in the breakdown of the Roman Empire and the collapse of the European order in World War I. Potent, incisive, and engaging, The World America Made is a reminder that the American world order is worth preserving, and America dare not decline.
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