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 of political wisdom in the post-Bush era and will add immeasurably to the policy debates surrounding the 2008 presidential election.
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 Kurthwho wants America to be a "Boss of Bosses" and "ruthlessly devastate" its opponentsto 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)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.