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Fool's Errands: America's Recent Encounters with Nation Building Paperback – May 15, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Cato Institute (May 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930865074
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930865075
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,612,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Setliff on December 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
~Fool's Errands: America's Recent Encounters With Nation Building~ is a terse analysis and overview of Clinton foreign policy maladministration. It succinctly captures his sad legacy of nation building efforts in the 1990s. Driven by naïve Wilsonian idealism, perhaps rosy views of human nature, and a quixotic fixation with seeing "democratic enlargement," the Clinton State Department presided over one foreign policy boondoggle after the other. Nation building efforts in Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, and Kosovo were all entered with the best of intentions. Nonetheless, the end results were spurious victories with limited successes and arguably outright failures in some cases where intervention caused more harm than good. Some contests deemed triumphs are perhaps Pyrrhic victories at best. In such cases, US/UN/NATO babysitting (i.e. peacekeeping) has been deemed semi-permanent, political tripwires are everywhere, and an uneasy peace ensues.

(1) SOMALIA was an emerging crisis duly noted by Bush Senior after a coup d'état toppled the government in Mogadishu. Bush Senior sponsored increased humanitarian aid following instability and a famine, but withheld a more direct presence. After the coup, the vacuum of power was filled by rival warlords. Thereafter, Clinton soon came on the scene and pushed for more direct intervention. Dempsey and Fontaine paint a startling sketch of war torn nation and give cogent reasoning why well-meaning foreign policy goals led to disaster. Powerful warlords in the cities plundered the spoils of humanitarian aid for their own gain to buy weapons and buy off cadres of foot soldiers to do their bidding. The Somali animosity towards Westerners intensified amidst the chaos; humanitarian workers became victims of warlord violence and street crime.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A long time fan of Mr. Dempsey's work for his clarity of vision and ability to recount history that reverberates with political savvy. First hand insight with time on the ground in the region well prepares Dempsey for the chore of 'piecing' together Balkan politics. Great job -- I look forward to more!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
Fools Errand is an extraordinary account of failed attempts at "nation building" during the Clinton Administration. Gary Dempsey's expertise is evident as guides the reader through a maze of disturbingly flawed policy, astonishing bureaucracy, arrogance and stupidity that doomed nation building attempts to failure. Dempsey's analysis is brilliant, and he relates complex events with remarkable clarity.
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