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Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions
Synopses & Reviews
The term "rogue nation," formerly reserved for outlaw countries, is increasingly being applied to the United States — not only by enemies but by people who have been steadfast friends. The litany is familiar to anyone who consults an op-ed page even occasionally. In the six months before 9/11, the United States walked away from a treaty to control the world traffic in small arms, the Kyoto accord, a treaty to eliminate land mines, the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention, and many other international agreements. After a brief flurry of coalition-building after the attack, the United States turned a cold shoulder to NATO's offers to assist with the invasion of Afghanistan, unilaterally terminated the Anti-Ballistic Missile Agreement with Russia, and actively opposed the creation of an International Criminal Court. Then came the war on Iraq, begun despite the clear refusal of the United Nations Security Council to authorize an invasion.
Unilateralism is as American as apple pie, and in Clyde Prestowitz's view, these actions do not signal a new U.S. hostility toward the rest of the world. We are not a rogue nation in the sense that, say, Iraq is or Libya was in the 1980s. On the contrary, our democratic ideals remain the hope of the world-but our allies increasingly see us as abandoning those ideals. Where we once defined our national self-interest in terms the whole world could embrace — favoring strong global institutions, due process, and the rule of law — we now seem to be thinking more narrowly in terms of our immediate military and economic security. Where we once supported international alliances such as NATO and the United Nations, we now deem those institutions irrelevant or even a hinderance. Where we once contained our foes, we now launch preventive attacks on potential threats. More and more, we act alone, with little regard for, or even awareness of, the needs and goals of other nations.
Rogue Nation is not an argument against American dominance or the exercise of American power. It's an argument against stupidity, arrogance and ignorance in the exercise of power. Prestowitz explores the historical roots of the unilateral impulse and shows how it now influences every important area of American foreign policy: trade and economic policy, arms control, energy, environment, agriculture. In every area, he argues, a multilateral approach, consistent with our humane and liberal core values, is also in our long-term best interests.
"A conservative's sober warning of the dangers of unilateralism and the temptations of empire." Joseph Nye, author of The Paradox of American Power
"Clyde Prestowitz, in Rogue Nation, not only dares to ask timely questions that most do not dare to ask, but, more daring still, he even answers them." Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser, author of The Grand Chessboard
"This is a most provocative, timely, and interesting book. It will undoubtedly promote a real and very necessary debate on America's relations with the world." Peter Sutherland, Chairman of Goldman Sachs International, former Director General, World Trade Organization
"Clyde Prestowitz lucidly addresses a crucial issue: Will the United States succumb to the temptation of changing roles from sole superpower working with partners to the world's imperial power in search of followers? Will the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers lead to the dismantling of the twin pillars of the post World War II transatlantic relationship, NATO and the indispensable partnership between the US and the EU, the new Europe? Prestowitz convincingly illustrates why such a course must be avoided at all cost." Gunther Burghardt, European Union Ambassador to the United States
"In Rogue Nation, Prestowitz says what Latin America has been feeling for so long: the United States needs to pay more attention to the global ramifications of its actions." Rubens Antonio Barbosa, Brazilian Ambassador to the United States
"Clyde Prestowitz has written a book that gets to the core reason for the angst that afflicts America's friends today: the increasing appearance of dissonance between her principled professions and her flawed practice. Prestowitz brilliantly makes clear the many ways in which American leadership has reduced her image worldwide into one of a 'Rogue Nation.' This is arguably the most important book on the most important issue before us today." Jagdish Bhagwati, Columbia University
"Clyde Prestowitz provides an insightful analysis of how America is disappointing the world by failing to fulfil its own values, by preaching rather than listening, and by acting against, rather than with, the rest of the world. At this critical time in America's relations with the Muslim world, Rogue Nation is essential reading, especially for Washington's leaders." Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia
"Rogue Nation provides a compelling analysis of the current geopolitical situation and America's role in the world. With insight gained from years of living and working abroad, Prestowitz explains how many across the globe feel disappointed and betrayed by an America that seems to be turning from the international standards it has done so much to help create over the past fifty years." George Soros
"Clyde Prestowitz makes an authoritative contribution to the debate about the United States' role in the international system, and a passionate defense of its legacy of fostering international institutions. Rogue Nation is an indispensable contribution to the present debate." Etienne Davignon, Vice-Chairman, Belgian General Society, former Vice-President of the European Commission
"Clyde Prestowitz's timely, interesting and provocative account cannot fail to stimulate a lively debate." Pascal Lamy, EU Trade Commissione
"Clyde Prestowitz's theme could not be more topical or more important: how does the world's only superpower see its role in the modern world? He throws a personal light on why so many of America's greatest admirers — among whom I count myself — have been concerned about the answer." Chris Patten, EU Commissioner for External Relation
"This is a fascinating big picture look at America and its place in the world. This should help provoke the kind of discussion that we have long needed." General Wesley Clark
"This is a brave book that should be read by all who care about America's success. A man of impeccable conservative credentials, Clyde Prestowitz directly challenges a new orthodoxy on the right-that the U.S. should aggressively pursue its own interests regardless of what others may think. No one writes with more authority and love of country." David Gergen, Director of the Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University, former White House advisor to presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton.
"This volume is a timely, bold, and penetrating account of American foreign policy under Bush. It presents powerful liberal alternatives to moral absolutism, hegemonic unlilateralism, and offensive realism with rich cross-cultural insights. This is the essential reading for Americans and non-Americans alike who are interested in the future fate of the U.S. and the world." Chung-in Moon, Dean of the Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University
"What Clyde Prestowitz has said so constructively needs saying and should be factored in to deliberations of our nation's top leaders." Admiral Joseph W. Prueher, former Ambassador to China
Book News Annotation:
Prestowitz, president of the Economic Strategy Institute of Washington, D.C., explores the historical roots of American unilateralism and shows how it influences important areas of American foreign policy, including trade and economic policy, arms control, energy, environment, and agriculture. He argues that in every area a multilateral approach consistent with humane and liberal core values is in our country's long-term best interest. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This work explores the unilateral impulse and shows how it helps to shape American foreign policy. Even when the need for multilateral action - and the danger of going it alone - has never been greater, the US continues to act contrary to international law, custom, and its own best interests.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 305-309) and index.
About the Author
Clyde Prestowitz is President of the Economic Strategy Institute in Washington, D.C. His previous book is Trading Places. He lives in Potomac, Maryland.
Table of Contents
At odds with the world — The right side of history — Driving the electronic herd — Our definition of insanity — Who lost Kyoto? — In arms we trust — Wagging the dog : two tales — Friends or enemies.
What Our Readers Are Saying
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