Synopses & Reviews
At the dawn of the twenty-first century, three ideas dominate the world: peace as the preferred basis for relations between and among different countries, democracy as the optimal way to organize political life, and free markets as the indispensable vehicle for the creation of wealth. While not practiced everywhere, these ideas have for the first time in history no serious rivals. And although the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were terrible and traumatic, they did not "change everything," as so many commentators have asserted. Instead, these events served to illuminate even more brightly the world that emerged from the end of the Cold War.
In The Ideas That Conquered the World, Michael Mandelbaum describes the uneven spread (over the past two centuries) of peace, democracy, and free markets from the wealthy and powerful countries of the world's core, where they originated, to the weaker and poorer countries of its periphery. And he assesses the prospects for these ideas in the years to come, giving particular attention to the United States, which bears the greatest responsibility for protecting and promoting them, and to Russia, China, and the Middle East, in which they are not well established and where their fate will affect the rest of the world.
"One of America's leading foreign policy thinkers provides an 'important and compelling' look at today's new power realities." Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times
"Almost ninety years ago, Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the political triad of peace, democracy, and free markets....the broad global trends of the past century show that humankind has been moving, often kicking and screaming, in this Wilsonian direction. Mandelbaum's achievement is to chart that course, and explain the interconnectedness of ideas, politics, and economics. He is not rash enough to assume that the path toward global peace and prosperity will be easier than that in the past. But this intelligent and interesting book gives today's civic society grounds for hope in our common future." Paul Kennedy, author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
"Michael Mandelbaum's new book, The Ideas That Conquered the World, is illuminating and thought-provoking." Henry Kissinger
"Michael Mandelbaum has stepped back from the crises of the moment to look at the big picture. What he sees is stability, prosperity, and international consensus. As Americans worry about the future, they should read this work of intelligent optimism." Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International
Drawing on history, politics, and economics, this incisive book provides a clear and original guide to the main trends of the twenty-first century, from globalization to terrorism, through the perspective of one of our era's most provocative thinkers.
About the Author
Michael Mandelbaum is the Christian A. Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy at the School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University, and is a senior fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a regular foreign affairs columnist for Newsday and the author or co-author of eight books on foreign policy.