In This Review

The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror
The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror
By George Soros
PublicAffairs, 2006, 259 pp

What is wrong with the United States? This is the question Soros sets out to answer in this short but fascinating book. Readers conversant with the Soros oeuvre will find much that is familiar (a significant amount of the book recapitulates and extends Soros' thoughts on the "open society"). Soros seeks to demonstrate the wrongheadedness of the "war-on-terror" metaphor and to analyze the flaws in American society that have made what was once the world's most open and democratic society so susceptible to what Soros believes to be dangerous political and religious snake oil. Soros' unique blend of philosophical engagement, financial experience, and political passion yields a harvest of insights and perceptive comments, but the American political situation may be less dire than Soros fears, even according to his own standards. Bush's narrow reelection was more a vote of no confidence in the Democratic alternative than a resounding endorsement of Bush's domestic and international agendas; the steady decline in Bush's approval ratings suggests that Americans are open to debate and aware that fallibility may be lurking somewhere near the White House. Perhaps Soros should be asking instead what is wrong with the Democrats.