In This Review

Unilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy: International Perspectives
Unilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy: International Perspectives
Edited by David M. Malone and Yuen Foong Khong
Lynne Rienner, 2003, 460 pp

This book explores how American unilateralism is perceived abroad and the likely consequences for international order. Focusing on the policies pursued by the Clinton and current Bush administrations, these foreign observers see an unwelcome trend toward a go-it-alone approach. Chapters focus on the full diversity of policy areas: treaties and international law, alliance cooperation, economics and development, and regional partnerships. In each instance, America's ambivalence toward multilateral commitment is on display. For example, German legal scholar Nico Krisch sees a growing cleavage between the American role in making international law and the United States' willingness to abide by it. The book also makes the important point that unilateralism did not begin with the Bush administration. Most of the authors criticize American unilateralism as short-sighted and argue that a systematic turn to unilateralism will have grave consequences for international order and the long-term American position.