Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions

Clyde V. Prestowitz, Author
Clyde V. Prestowitz, Author Basic Books $26 (336p) ISBN 978-0-465-06279-9
Reviewed on: 05/01/2003
Release date: 05/01/2003
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As the worldwide outpouring of post-9/11 sympathy for America has given way to worldwide anti-American protests, Americans are asking why the world hates us. This nuanced but unsparing book gives a bill of particulars. American high-handedness has exacerbated tensions in hot spots from the West Bank to the Korean peninsula. American unilateralism has sabotaged a host of international agreements on such issues as land mines, biological weapons and the International Criminal Court. America preaches free trade while protecting its steel, textiles and agriculture from foreign competition. America, Atkins argues, runs a wasteful, SUV-centered economy while it rejects treaties on the environment and global warming. America's self-proclaimed role as champion of democracy flies in the face of its history of installing and supporting dictators in countries from Indonesia to Iraq. Most of all, Atkins says, the world fears America's overwhelming military might, now ominously paired with a doctrine of""preempting"" the emergence of rival powers. These problems have been much discussed of late, but Prestowitz, author of Trading Places, pulls them together into a comprehensive and historically informed survey of contemporary U. S. foreign relations. Although he forthrightly calls the United States an imperial power, Prestowitz, a former Reagan Administration trade official, is by no means anti-American. He insists that America's intentions are usually good, and that the world likes and admires Americans when they live up to their own ideals. Still, his is a damning portrait of the United States as seen through the angry, bewildered eyes of foreigners: selfish, erratic, hypocritical, muscle-bound and a bad citizen of the world.
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