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Dangerous Nationby Robert Kagan
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the immensely influential and best-selling Of Paradise and Power—a major reevaluation of America’s place in the world from the colonial era to the turn of the twentieth century.
Robert Kagan strips away the myth of America’s isolationist tradition and reveals a more complicated reality: that Americans have been increasing their global power and influence steadily for the past four centuries. Even from the time of the Puritans, he reveals, America was no shining “city up on a hill” but an engine of commercial and territorial expansion that drove Native Americans, as well as French, Spanish, Russian, and ultimately even British power, from the North American continent. Even before the birth of the nation, Americans believed they were destined for global leadership. Underlying their ambitions, Kagan argues, was a set of ideas and ideals about the world and human nature. He focuses on the Declaration of Independence as the document that firmly established the American conviction that the inalienable rights of all mankind transcended territorial borders and blood ties. American nationalism, he shows, was always internationalist at its core. He also makes a startling discovery: that the Civil War and the abolition of slavery—the fulfillment of the ideals of the Declaration—were the decisive turning point in the history of American foreign policy as well. Kagan's brilliant and comprehensive reexamination of early American foreign policy makes clear why America, from its very beginning, has been viewed worldwide not only as a wellspring of political, cultural, and social revolution, but as an ambitious and, at times, dangerous nation.
Robert Kagan is senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and a columnist for The Washington Post. He is also the
The best-selling author of Of Paradise and Power reassesses the role and significance of America in the world, from the colonial period to the turn of the twentieth century, offering a revealing glimpse of America's increasing global power and influence over the course of the past four centuries. 75,000 first printing.
Brilliant and original. . . . A tour de force of historical writing that should change the way many people view the country's past. . . a landmark. -Foreign AffairsThe most important reassessment of early United States foreign policy to appear in over half a century. Compellingly written and provocatively argued, it goes far toward explaining — to the world but also to ourselves — who we Americans are today, and where we may be going. -John Lewis Gaddis, author of The Cold WarA first-rate work of history, based on prodigious reading and enlivened by a powerful prose style. . . . Helps bring long-dead diplomatic history to life.-The EconomistProvocative and deeply absorbing. . . . Kagan] shows how America was always a player, and often a ruthless one, in the great game of nations.-The New York Times Book Review
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
\Robert Kagan is senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and a columnist for The Washington Post. He is also the author of A Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977–1990, and editor, with William Kristol, of Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy. Kagan served in the U.S. State Department from 1984 to 1988. He lives in Brussels with his family.
Table of Contents
The first Imperialists — The foreign policy of revolution — Liberalism and expansion — To the farewell address and beyond — "Peaceful conquest" — A republic in the age of monarchy — The foreign policy of slavery — Manifest destinies — Beyond the national interest — War and progress — From power to ambition, from ambition to power — Morality and hegemony.
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