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With friends like the dictators with which it regularly sides, the United States doesn't need enemies, argues this wide-ranging critique of American foreign policy. Root (Capital & Collusion) posits that, in the search for securing access to natural resources and investment opportunities in developing countries, American leaders find it cheaper and more expedient to prop up corrupt autocrats than deal with democracies. The consequences are dire, he contends: American aid lets dictatorships consolidate power while ignoring the needs of their people; when they inevitably fall, America often gets dragged into futile military interventions that leave it disgraced and unpopular. Root elaborates these themes in case studies of U.S. relations with South Vietnam, the Philippines, Iran, Iraq and other countries; his surveys proffer intriguing insights into the failings of America's allies and the surprising successes of enemies like Communist China and Islamic Iran. Root's discussions, citing everything from game theory to the marginal utility of supporting the Vietcong, can be dry and excessively technical, which is a shame, because his prescriptions for American foreign policy—less focus on military security, more on economic development and social reform—are well-grounded and compelling. (July)
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"Roots prescriptions for American foreign policy--less focus on military security, more on economic development--are well-grounded and compelling." Publishers Weekly
"His prescriptions for American foreign policy--less focus on military security, more on economic development--are well-grounded and compelling." Publishers Weekly
"engaging and provocative...highly recommended." CHOICESee all Editorial Reviews