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Force and Statecraft: Diplomatic Challenges of Our Time Paperback – August 31, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0195162493 ISBN-10: 0195162498 Edition: 4th

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Paperback, August 31, 2006
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 4 edition (August 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195162498
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195162493
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Force and Statecraft is . . . a great classic on the topic."--Jalil Roshandel, Duke University

"This is the best book in terms of its organization, writing, and quality of ideas as well as a superb framing of the problems and issues in this field."--John D. Stempel, University of Kentucky

About the Author

Paul Gordon Lauren is at University of Montana. Gordon A. Craig is at Stanford University (Emeritus).

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By James Schoonmaker on May 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Okay, maybe not an entire IR degree. Most require classes in economics and geography as well. However, this was a required text for one of my international affairs classes, and it was one of the few books that I refused to sell back at the end of the semester, despite being the quintessential starving college student. Although it is clearly written and easy to understand, it is not simply a collection of truisms that any first year student would take for granted.
Force and Statecraft really does contain just about everything you need to know for an IR degree. It is organized by topic, which many of my classmates found boring. However, I found that this allowed for the clearest exposition of the ideas possible, and allowed the authors to examine each idea in detail before moving on to the next.
The pairing of the authors is excellent. Alexander George is a political scientist specializing in foreign relations, and Gordon Craig is a historian specializing in diplomatic and interstate history. I am convinced that it is this pairing that allows Force and Statecraft to have such a broad scope without losing any of its expertise, as often happens in books by a single author. Both are excellent writers, and their other books are highly recommended as well.
This book begins, as many IR degree programs do, with a diplomatic history course. This is essential to understanding international relations today, and Craig makes it exciting and interesting. It should be noted that this first section also covers the importance of economics and domestic opinion in the making of foreign policy, something that is often overlooked by other books. The book then goes on, topic by topic, to discuss the major topics in foreign policy, paying particular attention to the techniques of diplomacy and foreign policy, something also lacking in most books in the field. This is a book anyone interested in foreign policy should have on their bookshelf.
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By C P Slayton on August 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
What would realism, realpolitik, raison d'etat or state's interests really mean if we didn't understand where they came from? Listen or read any speech from the state department and count how many times 'interests' is used. It does matter how such long-lasting ideas were initially formed. What if the context has changed?

This book covers the modern era of international relations putting theory in context. As an example let me provide an abstract of the first chapter alone.

Chapter ONE: The beginning of diplomacy can be traced back to Greek cities using ambassadors and many other familiar forms of statecraft. The Romans preferred to establish law and international rules as opposed to bargaining and diplomacy. By the time of Italy's city states, Machiavelli noticed that power was supreme. This concept of power, however, was recognized as blatantly an anti-Christian ethic and condemned by many religious thinkers. Yet it became the justification for rulers. The Cardinal of France, Richelieu took the realism and power trip to the extreme engaging in all manners of dishonest means for the 'interest of the state'.

Such behavior induced Grotius to write that the raison d'etat was being used as a 'license' to make war by any means. Three years after the peace of Westphalia Hobbes published the Leviathan. Power was still the main piece in statecraft while there were a few that were advocating the honest use of ambassadors like Francios de Callieres, around the 18th century. The unwatched power of Louis XIV was a main justification for including the term 'balance of power' in the Utrecht Treaty. It was a strategy specifically written and understood to promote security in Europe (1714).
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7 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "firstpointofperformance" on January 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
Alexander L. George has built his career around the premise that American policymakers do a poor job managing international affairs and that scholars could help them do better if only (a) policymakers listened to scholars and (b) scholars had anything useful to say. In "Force and Statecraft," George and Craig offer thick, lavish descriptions of various diplomatic crises but very little in the way of either prescriptive or theoretical principles for managing them. In other words, they have little to say, so it's unlikely policymakers will pay much attention to them.
The first half of the book consists of lavish -- almost tedious -- descriptions of various foreign policy realms of the past, with chapters built around a curiously (for George) systemic view of international politics. Though individuals flit in and out of the narrative, the "system" does carry a lot of the variance in this book.
The second half of the book consists of a review of "tools" of statecraft but these, again, lack theoretical rigor or for that matter prescriptive reliability. Instead of variables we get "conditions" for success. Whether or not policymakers are able to discern if these "conditions" obtain is, one supposes, non-random but, if so, George hasn't much to say about this.
Like the tools he promotes, it appears that management of any diplomatic situation is "context-dependent." Readers looking for theories of diplomacy, international politics, or even George's own creation, coercive diplomacy, are likely to be disappointed. But if all you want is a once-around-the-great-power-world recounting of some 19th-20th Century history, you could do worse.
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