Proving that exorbitant wealth and allegiance to the Republican Party do not necessarily go hand in hand, billionaire George Soros offers a sharp critique of the neoconservative philosophy that he sees guiding the George W. Bush administration. In The Bubble of American Supremacy
, Soros warns that American efforts to be the ultimate global superpower will not only be unsuccessful but will make America and the world infinitely more unstable. Bush and company, he says, have callously used the events of September 11th for their own political gain and misled the world about the threat posed by Iraq. In previous American presidential elections, billionaires Steve Forbes and Ross Perot have tried to run for president themselves to address the country's problems, but Soros--while no less zealous about his convictions--sees his role a little differently. "I have made it my primary objective to persuade the American public to reject President Bush in the upcoming elections," he writes, "We have been deceived." The arguments he makes and the evidence he presents are interesting enough, although there really isn't anything here that hasn't been written in scores of other anti-Bush books released around the same time. What sets Soros's book apart from all the others is the recurring presence of Soros himself, frequently citing previous books he's written, speeches he's made, and highlights of his career. The pronoun "I" is never far away. Granted, it's been an interesting career; his financial success coupled with his passionate political convictions would make for a terrific memoir, but at times in this book Soros's ego gets almost comically in the way. Referring to his long-held support for open societies, he says this philosophy "could almost be called the Soros doctrine" only to renounce propriety over it a page later. Soros is a capable writer and a clear thinker, and he ably articulates his views. Readers interested in criticisms of Bush and company have several options but readers interested in George Soros will find plenty to satisfy them here. --John Moe
From Publishers Weekly
Soros has made it his "primary objective to persuade the American public to reject President Bush in the forthcoming elections." This aspiration is immediately clear from the outset of his new book. The founder of Soros Fund Management (and author of The Crisis of Global Capitalism, etc.) gives sweeping critiques of the current administration and shows how its post-9/11 policy has pointed the country in a direction that he believes will lead to ruin. The book's major shortcoming is that it fails to add anything particularly new to this project, and is not always convincing. It's not clear, for instance, why a pact of signatories to the Warsaw Declaration for the development of democracy would be more effective than the U.N. in getting nations to put the common good above national interest. To his credit, Soros accurately presents the important dimensions of the "Bush Doctrine" foreign policy and its vision of America's role in the world. He is able to incorporate his expertise in areas of international finance and to give some interesting and unique insights, such as seeing American supremacy as the boom part of a boom-bust cycle. But neither simple explication nor periodic nuggets of wisdom make this a particularly good read. Overall, the book is clear, but it will do little to persuade an attentive American audience that they should vote Bush out in 2004.
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