From Publishers Weekly
Lieven and Hulsman, partisan think-tank researchers from opposing ends of the political spectrum, unite to provide an alternative to current U.S. foreign policy, based on "the core teachings of ethical realism-prudence, patriotism, responsibility, study, humility, and 'a decent respect' to views and interests of other nations." This "new strategic vision" presents a foundation for "a consensual and stable international order" along the lines of old-fashioned American neighborliness. Their arguments are rooted in lessons from the founders of ethical realism, Reinhold Niebuhr, Hans Morgenthau and George Kennan; the Christian intellectual tradition of Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine; and successful international policy implemented by leaders like Harry S. Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. The authors emphasize the need to qualify national interests against universal ethics, and for statesman who "act in ways that will serve the good as far as possible, and to observe certain strict limits as to what they are prepared to do on behalf of their states. "Though they make some sweeping statements that beg critical examination, and their heavy-handed criticism of the Bush Administration's foreign policy-calling the war in Iraq a failure "not just of strategy ...but of the whole American way of looking at the world"-can be alienating, this refreshing, ambitious work proposes some practical and much-needed solutions for America's compromised reputation abroad.
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“One does not need to agree with all recommendations included in Ethical Realism
to fully share the authors’ appeal for honestly and pragmatically defining U.S. foreign policy priorities. The book makes a powerful case that the United States needs a foreign policy based on hard facts and what we can achieve with our available resources, in order not to retreat from a U.S. world role, but, on the contrary, ‘to live up to its glorious national promise.’”
–General Brent Scowcroft,
former national security adviser
“A profoundly necessary alternative to the arrogance of preemptive warfare. In an age of ideological polarization, an international policy of ethical realism put forward by authors with roots in both progressive idealism and conservative realism has been desperately needed. Ethical Realism
is characterized by prudence, humility, understanding, responsibility, and genuine patriotism, and is deeply rooted in the best of America’s history.”
–Senator Gary Hart
“A superb and courageous analysis of U.S. foreign policy challenges and options. The authors’ call for a ‘revolutionary shift in U.S. structures and priorities’ is on target for the United States to be able to exercise effective global leadership. The study demonstrates why messianic pretensions shared by some on the right and the left alike are neither realistic nor ethical and only endanger America without promoting true national interests.”
–Dmitri K. Simes,
president of The Nixon Center and publisher of The National Interest