Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions

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Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions

By Clyde Prestowitz
Basic Books, 2003
336 pp. $26.00

In the enormous outpouring of books lambasting the Bush administration for its unilateralism, insensitivity to the needs of allies, excessive support for Israel, contempt for international institutions, imperial pretensions, overvaluation of military power, and neglect for "soft power" in all its many forms, Rogue Nation stands out for its comprehensive scope and its author's willingness to broaden the indictment to at least some aspects of Clinton's foreign policy. Like most of the anti-unilateralist literature streaming off the presses, Rogue Nation revives classic Jeffersonian arguments against what Prestowitz sees as the hubris of a nation drunk on military power and cultural success. Fair enough, and recent events in Iraq are reminding many neoimperialists of the political and human costs that can follow even successful military ventures abroad. But Rogue Nation works a well-ploughed field, and it offers little help to anyone seriously trying to think through a more multilateral strategy for the United States in these dangerous times. It does serve, however, as perhaps the best guide available to the arguments of those who would be happier with a humbler and more cautious Bush administration.

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