Bridging the Gap: Theory and Practice in Foreign Policy

In This Review

Bridging the Gap: Theory and Practice in Foreign Policy

By Alexander L. George
United States Institute of Peace Press, 1993
162 pp. $24.95
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This gem of a book should be of compelling interest to the many in the foreign affairs community who have an interest in both policy and theory. Only a seasoned scholar who has also networked in the policy arena, as has Alexander George, could have written it. Bridging the Gap is a well-chosen title. George addresses the values and needs of the two cultures, academia and government, in their respective searches for knowledge and action. He suggests what might be different types of policy-relevant knowledge by examining six strategies that the United States pursued toward Iraq in 1988-91. All but one of these were ineffective, he argues, due to the weak knowledge base underlying the strategy. The trick for analysts is not only knowledge as such, but its presentation in a policy-relevant manner to the decision-maker, who often must act on the basis of many still unfolding and unknown factors.

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