Synopses & Reviews
From a leading scholar of our countrys foreign policy, the brilliant essay about America and the world that has caused a storm in international circles now expanded into book form.
European leaders, increasingly disturbed by U.S. policy and actions abroad, feel they are headed for what the New York Times (July 21, 2002) describes as a "moment of truth." After years of mutual resentment and tension, there is a sudden recognition that the real interests of America and its allies are diverging sharply and that the trans-atlantic relationship itself has changed, possibly irreversibly. Europe sees the United States as high-handed, unilateralist, and unnecessarily belligerent; the United States sees Europe as spent, unserious, and weak. The anger and mistrust on both sides are hardening into incomprehension.
This past summer, in Policy Review, Robert Kagan reached incisively into this impasse to force both sides to see themselves through the eyes of the other. Tracing the widely differing histories of Europe and America since the end of World War II, he makes clear how for one the need to escape a bloody past has led to a new set of transnational beliefs about power and threat, while the other has perforce evolved into the guarantor of that "postmodern paradise" by dint of its might and global reach.
This remarkable analysis is being discussed from Washington to Paris to Tokyo. It is esssential reading.
"Though hes capable of concocting a memorable sound bite, Kagan develops his nuanced argument with an appreciation for why Europeans are not now lining up alongside us to give Saddam a good thrashing. Good reading for policy wonks who missed the original article, of a piece with recent arguments for the virtues of American imperialism." Kirkus Reviews
"[Kagan's] prose is lucid and elegant, and his arguments are thoughtfully marshaled....Kagan demonstrates a confidence and authority that demand serious attention.... The true measure of Kagan's small book is that it is hard to imagine any future serious discussion of trans-Atlantic relations or America's role in the world without reference to it." New York Times Book Review
Controversial essay on America and Europe's competing interests in the future.
At a time when relations between the United States and Europe are at their lowest ebb since World War II, this brief but cogent book is essential reading. Robert Kagan, a leading scholar of American foreign policy, forces both sides to see themselves through the eyes of the other. Europe, he argues, has moved beyond power into a self-contained world of laws, rules, and negotiation, while America operates in a “Hobbesian” world where rules and laws are unreliable and military force is often necessary.
Tracing how this state of affairs came into being over the past fifty years and fearlessly exploring its ramifications for the future, Kagan reveals the shape of the new transatlantic relationship. The result is a book that promises to be as enduringly influential as Samuel Huntingtons The Clash of Civilizations.
About the Author
Robert Kagan is senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he is director of the U.S. Leadership Project. In addition to a monthly column in theWashington Post, he is the author of A Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977-1990 and coeditor, with William Kristol, of Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy. Kagan served in the State Department from 1984 to 1988.