Monday, January 12, 2009

To Lead the World or 9 11

To Lead the World: American Strategy after the Bush Doctrine

Author: Melvyn P Leffler

U.S. national security policy is at a critically important crossroads. The Bush Doctrine of unilateralism, pre-emptive war, and the imposition of democracy by force has proven disastrous. The United States now finds itself vilified abroad, weakened at home, and bogged down in a seemingly endless and unwinnable war.
In To Lead the World, Melvyn P. Leffler and Jeffrey W. Legro bring together eleven of America's most esteemed writers and thinkers to offer concrete, historically grounded suggestions for how America can regain its standing in the world and use its power more wisely than it has during the Bush years. Best-selling authors such as David Kennedy, Niall Ferguson, Robert Kagan, Francis Fukuyama, and Samantha Power address such issues as how the US can regain its respect in the world, respond to the biggest threats now facing the country, identify reasonable foreign policy goals, manage the growing debt burden, achieve greater national security, and successfully engage a host of other problems left unsolved and in many cases exacerbated by the Bush Doctrine. Representing a wide range of perspectives, the writers gathered here place the current foreign-policy predicament firmly in the larger context of American and world history and draw upon realistic appraisals of both the strengths and the limits of American power. They argue persuasively that the kind of leadership that made the United States a great--and greatly admired--nation in the past can be revitalized to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Written by prize-winning authors and filled with level-headed, far-sighted, and achievable recommendations, To Lead the World will serve as a primary source ofpolitical wisdom in the post-Bush era and will add immeasurably to the policy debates surrounding the 2008 presidential election.

Publishers Weekly

The 13 academic and public intellectuals convened in this collection of essays on geopolitics agree on some things: the importance of American leadership; the desirability of free trade; the threats posed by global warming, Islamist radicalism and nuclear proliferation; the ineptitude, if not criminality, of Bush's foreign policy. But there are significant points of contention. Should America assert its military power independently or work through global institutions and international concerts? Should it promote democracy abroad or back stable autocracies? Is the nation-state essential or irrelevant? The contributors run the gamut from hawks like James Kurth—who wants America to be a "Boss of Bosses" and "ruthlessly devastate" its opponents—to doves like Francis Fukuyama, who endorses "foreign policy as social work." In thought-provoking pieces, David Kennedy calls for a draft lottery to dispel an incipient "American Caesarism" facilitated by the professional military, and Niall Ferguson throws a contrarian curveball asserting the impossibility of fighting a pre-emptive war against terrorism. There's not much ideological coherence, but there is plenty of lively debate and rich food for thought. (July)

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Author: Noam Chomsky

Chomsky's international bestseller, analyzing terrorism, Osama bin Laden, U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, and the long-term implications of America's military response to September 11.

Library Journal

MIT-based Chomsky revolutionized linguistics in the late Fifties, but for nearly as long he has been better known as an energetic and constructive debunker of American establishment politics and behavior. However, the current Chomsky contributes nothing to the legacy he established decades ago. These two most recent productions do not reveal systematic efforts to sustain or develop any aspect of his prolifically expressed critique; indeed, they are not so much authored as collaged, with Chomsky's sanction, from talks, after-talk Q&As, and interviews with generally converted interlocutors. Understanding Power draws mainly on vintage utterances from the Nineties, and its most penetrating passage takes on, of all pressing matters, literary theory. Chomsky, who is relentless in condemning the media as incapable of any function other than converting the masses to elite desires, just as relentlessly samples mainstream reporting sources for instances of corporate and government ill doings. In trying to illustrate that he is not a crude conspiracy theorist, he conveys the opposite impression. The shorter 9-11 could not have been planned, of course, though it mostly consists of interviews conducted while the calendar still read September, suggesting both the urgency Chomsky felt to get his perspective on the record and his utter disinclination to reexamine any of his cemented opinions about world affairs. Chomsky condemns the attacks specifically and then suggests that the deaths are entirely the responsibility of capitalist globalization, which nonetheless he asserts is irrelevant to the September 11 actors. However, consistency is even less a priority for Chomsky than humility. Apparently, Chomsky believes that he has discovered the concept of blowback, not to mention imbalance in coverage of the perpetual Israeli-Palestinian murder-and-misery fetish. For him, a direct line runs from Reagan's mining of Nicaragua's harbors to the flying of commercial airliners into buildings. 9-11 is a worthwhile purchase for public libraries intent on demonstrating (or risking) balance; Understanding Power is not half as useful as Chomsky's earlier, authentic innovations in political literature, especially Manufacturing Consent (coauthored with Edward Herman). Libraries truly wishing to ensure representation of the most lucid nonconventional opinion should first check that their subscriptions to the Nation a proud carrier of Chomsky for 40 years are current. Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr Coll. Lib., PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Table of Contents:
Editor's Note9
1Not Since the War of 181211
2Is the War on Terrorism Winnable?23
3The Ideological Campaign27
4Crimes of State39
5Choice of Action59
6Civilizations East and West71
7Considerable Restraint?93
App. ADepartment of State Report on Foreign Terrorist Organizations (October 5, 2001)119
App. B: Recommended Reading125
About the Author127

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