Written by one of the Soviet Union's best "Americanologists," this book is of substantial interest. Trofimenko, director of the foreign policy department of the Institute of the United States and Canada in Moscow, traces American national security policy all the way back to the Founding Fathers. The argument is that, though traditionally the U.S. preferred a foreign policy based on a balance of power, after World War II and dazzled by the illusion of American omnipotence it sought to establish a Pax Americana. Confrontation with the Soviet Union resulted, but during the 1970s, as the limitations on U.S. military power became evident, the two nations achieved strategic parity. This "sober" approach has been overtaken since 1980, it is argued, by another group of U.S. leaders who, relying on the military-industrial complex, seeks to restore a U.S. position of superiority, thereby starting a new round in the arms race. The author cites the budget deficit as evidence that Washington will exhaust itself before it succeeds. Although off the mark at times, there are many passages with which many Americans would agree. The author's detailed knowledge of the past 40 years is impressive even though the book remains a mixture of serious analysis and political rhetoric.