In This Review

After the Crusade: American Foreign Policy for the Post-Superpower Age
After the Crusade: American Foreign Policy for the Post-Superpower Age
By Jonathan Clarke and James Clad
Madison Books, 1995, 228 pp

The declared enemy of these two former diplomats from Britain (Clarke) and New Zealand (Clad) is a U.S. foreign policy elite with an interventionist agenda worlds apart from a more skeptical public; their aspiration is "to empower our readers in a modest way to come to their own conclusions about foreign policy in accordance with their priorities rather than as imposed by an establishment that has got out of the habit of listening." Thus empowered, one wishes to observe that the "foreign policy elite" is not quite the uniform collection of rabid interventionists here portrayed; most of the authors' arguments, ironically, would fit rather snugly in the vital center of elite opinion (if such a vital center could still be said to exist). Clarke and Clad place great value on working with established allies, want to preserve the global trading system and to build a North American community, and do not foreclose military intervention when necessary to preserve access to oil or prevent other forms of "strategic denial." They have, it is true, some unconventional ideas about regional organizations, looking upon the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and a similar grouping they propose for Northeast Asia as "primary care networks" that can get along fine without adult supervision from the United States. But they worry, as elite and public do alike, over the "gap between resources and aspirations and the disconnectedness between rhetoric and reality." Though their warnings of the hazards of global crusading are persuasive, the style (featuring "wily old birds" like Clausewitz) is relentlessly jazzy -- rather like an aging dowager who thinks she must don miniskirts to keep up the flagging interest of her inattentive hosts. This detracts from the otherwise considerable appeal of the book.