Scholars and lay students of history and politics should not be deterred by the apparent vagueness of the topichow nations protect themselves within existing international systems of powerbecause Mandelbaum's book is brilliant and enjoyable. The author of The Nuclear Future et al., an international relations expert, charts how nations find ways of acting together in diplomatically organized groups for defensive purposes, and he analyzes certain countries' specific roles and histories. His knowledge of philosophy, politics, history and economics results in a stunning delineation of centuries of military actions, political maneuverings and cultural uprisings. Some of the cases he examines include: Britain's position in the 19th century European balance of power; China's weak international role following the Communist revolution; America's superiority after 1945; and Japan's current emergence as a world force in the free-trade system. Major matters addressed are how nations' domestic characters affect their foreign policies, and the issue of to what extent governments control their destinies in an international power structure. Mandelbaum's achievement here deserves attention, praise, argument and analysis. (October)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1988 Release date: 12/01/1988 Genre: Nonfiction
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