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Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy
"One of the best ways to insult people in the foreign policy world is to call them 'immature.' Maturity, the idea goes, is what separates serious professionals from reckless amateurs, pragmatists from ideologues, those who fashion policy according to sober assessments of threats and capabilities from those who launch righteous crusades driven by myopia and wishful thinking. So it is telling that Stephen Walt writes in the opening pages of Taming American Power: The Global Response to US Primacy that his purpose is to lay out a 'more mature foreign policy.'" Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, Christian Science Monitor (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)
Synopses & Reviews
Book News Annotation:
Theoretically eclectic in his approach to the topic, Walt (international affairs, Harvard U.) explains the possible strategic reactions of the world to American "primacy." Himself rather sanguine about the fact of American power, Walt suggests that the way other countries react to that power affects the ability of the United States to achieve its foreign policy goals and that US foreign policy should therefore be formulated with on eye on the strategies that may be used to oppose or accommodate American power. In the case of opposition, these strategies include the formation of balancing coalitions, balking from US requests while seeking to avoid an overt clash, binding US action through the use of norms and institutions, blackmail, and delegitimation of US global leadership. In terms of accommodating US power, countries may seek to bandwagon with the US, bonding with US leaders in order to gain influence, or directly penetrating the American political process.
Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The United States currently wields unprecedented global power. Americans often assume that their global role is benevolent and their dominant position unchallenged, but other states are increasingly worried about U.S. dominance and are beginning to turn their concerns into action. In this elegant and provocative new book, Kennedy School professor and renowned scholar Stephen M. Walt analyzes the different strategies that states employ to counter U.S. power or to harness it for their own ends. These responses threaten America's ability to achieve its foreign policy goals and may eventually undermine its dominant position. To prevent this, Walt argues, the United States must adopt a foreign policy that other states welcome, rather than one that reinforces their fear of American power.
A Kennedy School professor analyzes the different strategies that countries employ to counter U.S. power or to harness it for their own ends. These responses threaten America's ability to achieve its foreign policy goals and may eventually undermine its dominant position.
How firm is America's grasp on global supremacy?
About the Author
Stephen M. Walt is the academic dean and the Robert and RenÃ©e Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.
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