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Containment: Rebuilding a Strategy Against Global Terrorby Ian Shapiro
Synopses & Reviews
In this powerfully argued book, Ian Shapiro shows that the idea of containment offers the best hope for protecting Americans and their democracy into the future. His bold vision for American security in the post-September 11 world is reminiscent of George Kennan's historic "Long Telegram," in which the containment strategy that won the Cold War was first developed.
The Bush Doctrine of preemptive war and unilateral action has been marked by incompetence — missed opportunities to capture Osama bin Laden, failures of postwar planning for Iraq, and lack of an exit strategy. But Shapiro contends that the problems run deeper. He explains how the Bush Doctrine departs from the best traditions of American national-security policy and accepted international norms, and renders Americans and democratic values less safe. He debunks the belief that containment is obsolete. Terror networks might be elusive, but the enabling states that make them dangerous can be contained. Shapiro defends containment against charges of appeasement, arguing that force against a direct threat will be needed. He outlines new approaches to intelligence, finance, allies, diplomacy, and international institutions. He explains why containment is the best alternative to a misguided agenda that naively assumes democratic regime change is possible from the barrel of an American gun.
President Bush has defined the War on Terror as the decisive ideological struggle of our time. Shapiro shows what a self-defeating mistake that is. He sets out a viable alternative that offers real security to Americans, reclaims America's international stature, and promotes democracy around the world.
"It's short, painless, and actually quite interesting, even for one without any knowledge of politics." Joshua J. Kearney, Harvard Crimson
"This book succeeds in showing that there are sound alternatives to the dominant unilateralist approach for dealing with the national security and foreign policy challenges confronted by the United States. Bravo for Professor Shapiro!" Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico, Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization
"At a time and on an issue that cry out for fresh, critical, and constructive thinking, Ian Shapiro has performed a great service by laying out a bold yet pragmatic idea for dealing with the threats America faces in the post-September 11 world. He has adapted an old idea that worked — the containment of communist expansion during the Cold War — to the task of replacing a policy that has, to a spectacular and tragic degree, not worked: military preemption and the attempt to impose democracy in the name of waging 'the War on Terror.' His critique of both the Bush administration and many of its Democratic opponents is hard-hitting and well substantiated; his recommendations are compelling; and his presentation is concise and forceful. The result is a major contribution to the debate over the single most vexing and important political challenge facing the U.S. and the world." Strobe Talbott, President of the Brookings Institution, former Deputy Secretary of State
"Ian Shapiro follows up his masterful analysis of the politics of taxation (Death by a Thousand Cuts) with a wonderfully clinical dissection of U.S. foreign policy. Shapiro recognizes that the policy of the present administration is not just a bad idea stumbled across by accident, but a bad idea that was carefully husbanded and nurtured for years by people who were deadly serious aboutpower and unafraid to use it. It is time, he believes, for Democrats who are serious about making the best use of power to stop triangulating these bad ideas, and to start trying to nurture some good ideas of their own. This crystal-clear account of the merits of a policy of containment represents an excellent place for them to begin." David Runciman, author of The Politics of Good Intentions
"This is by far the best critique of the Bush administration's national-security doctrine that I have read. Its prose is lively and engaging. It focuses on the essentials and makes a clear argument that is effectively supported by his judicious reflections on the history of the Cold War and on contemporary issues including the war on terror and the conflicts in the Middle East." Michael W. Doyle, Columbia University
"Shapiro's new book is a rich and nuanced critique of the Bush administration's doctrine of preemption and democracy promotion and its related foreign-policy agendas. He traces the rise of the administration's preoccupation with Iraq and terrorism, and the fallout in domestic and regional terms. He manages to cut to the heart of the matter without compromising the detail. His analysis also provides the all-important historical backdrop that has often been absent in other studies." Anoush Ehteshami, Durham University
"Shapiro is at his most persuasive when he argues against lumping Islamic radical threats together."Samantha Power, The New York Times Book Review
"Containment, Shapiro contends is our fallback, and obviously a wiser choice." James Rubin, The New Republic
About the Author
Ian Shapiro is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor and Chairman of the Department of Political Science at Yale University.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Idea Vacuum 1
Chapter 2: End of the Criminal Justice Consensus 10
Chapter 3: Filling the Vacuum 15
Chapter 4: Containment for Democracy 32
Chapter 5: Containment's Realism 54
Chapter 6: Democracy for Containment 102
Chapter 7: Our Present Peril 119
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