The American Way of Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy and the American Way of Life

Michael Lind, Author . Oxford Univ. $24 (294p) ISBN 978-0-19-530837-2

Since the first Gulf War, American foreign policy has undergone a dangerous shift against its tradition of preserving "the American way of life"—the civil liberties assured by a system of democratic republican liberalism—argues author and journalist Lind. The strategy has changed in style over time, from the "isolationism" of the first hundred years to 20th-century global alliances and "temporary alliance hegemony" against mounting empires. But keeping security costs down while "promoting a less dangerous international environment" has largely permitted the public to avoid trading liberty for security in moments of crisis, he argues. By contrast, the emergence of a post–Cold War bipartisan consensus around permanent U.S. global dominance (championed by neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney) is a perilous anomaly, says Lind (The Radical Center) . His lucid if sometimes reductive focus on international strategy and power politics as a primary engine of history can obscure as much as it clarifies. But Lind's advocacy of a "concert of power" or shared primacy among several nations gains a persuasive momentum, exposing the folly of the current imperial strategy while forcefully examining the neglected role of foreign policy in the shaping of American politics and society. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/07/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
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