Global California: Rising to the Cosmopolitan Challenge

In This Review

Global California: Rising to the Cosmopolitan Challenge
By Abraham F. Lowenthal
Stanford University Press, 2009
240 pp. $21.95
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If the 50 U.S. states were independent, each would have its own foreign policy based on its unique interests and culture. In this stimulating book, Lowenthal looks at California's international interests and asks what Californians can do to advance them. No secessionist, he reiterates his support for the supremacy of the federal role in foreign policy. But he points out that California, with an economy large enough to in theory earn it a place in the G-8, has serious international concerns of its own. Lowenthal identifies a range of specific interests that Californians share and proposes methods of addressing them within the current constitutional structure. This is a useful and important exercise, one that researchers in every state should conduct. Yet as Lowenthal outlines the diversity of California's interests and the weakness of its governance structures, the reader comes to feel that the incoherence of California's approach to its international interests is less a unique problem than an extension of the state's political crisis, which affects its domestic agenda as well.