cover image Pledging Allegiance: The Last Campaign of the Cold War

Pledging Allegiance: The Last Campaign of the Cold War

Sidney Blumenthal. HarperCollins Publishers, $22.95 (386pp) ISBN 978-0-06-016189-7

Blumentahal, senior editor of the New Republic , has much to say about the U.S. in relation to global politics over the last five years. His wide-angled, trenchant analysis includes an account of Gorbachev's ``rescue'' of Ronald Reagan from the Iran- contra scandal, a withering reconstruction of the 1988 presidential campaign, and a convincing argument that the presidency of George Bush is based not on the Reagan model but on the Nixon presidency. Blumenthal's Bush is a sorry figure: a presidential candidate forced to hire a ``specialist in creating visions'' (speechwriter Peggy Noonan), a chief executive generally baffled by Gorbachev's insistence on fundamental reforms and public debate. The author contends that both Cold War liberalism and conservatism are outdated, and that a long-range policy with substance is needed. He points out that the end of the Cold War resembles its 1945 beginnings--with the resettlement of Europe and the triumph of democracy the twin themes--and maintains that U.S. leadership is now faced with the task of fulfilling Franklin Roosevelt's ``Grand Design'' of liberal internationalism, the formation of a great power consortium to guard global peace. (Oct.)