Many of the United States’ most important foreign policy goals -- promoting markets, spreading democracy, fighting terrorism -- hinge on strengthening the rule of law in other countries. Yet after decades of ambitious efforts by the United States and others, the rule of law is still absent in many parts of the world. Kleinfeld argues that the “first generation” efforts of governments and the aid community focused too narrowly on the reform of courts and legal institutions, which often had little impact on corruption, crime, and abuses of state power. She calls for a “second generation” agenda that would seek to influence the cultural norms and expectations of public servants and citizens, encouraging bottom-up change within civil society by focusing on power and culture instead of laws and institutions. Kleinfeld brings together a good grasp of the scholarship on law and society with the sensibilities and hard-earned experience of a field practitioner. The result is essential reading for the foreign policy community.
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