From Publishers Weekly
Stanger, professor of international politics and economics at Middlebury College, comes to admirably nuanced conclusions in this important assessment of the trend of outsourcing critical tasks in the areas of foreign aid, defense, diplomacy and domestic security. Her analysis finds nothing inherently pernicious in the Bush administration's outsourcing of Iraqi security and reconstruction; contracting is a necessity given the ascendancy of the private sector as a key player in diplomacy in a globalized world. The executive branch's error has been to outsource proper oversight and contractor accountability—a laissez-faire approach she finds dangerous. Stanger is also troubled by the Pentagon's usurpation (and militarizing) of diplomatic and nation-building roles previously under the aegis of the State Department. She argues that the government must recognize that power in the 21st century flows from new sources and complacency at this stage threatens the government with enervation and possible obsolescence. These are vital, well-made and worrying points—readers will hope that the executive branch will heed the author's call to take the plunge and re-imagine government itself. (Nov.)
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"'As governments around the world contract out important tasks to private corporations, Allison Stanger has asked the key question: how do citizens reestablish effective oversight over private-public partnerships? One Nation Under Contract is a clarion call to bring the business of government under more effective public control.' Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada 'As we debate how many more troops to dispatch to Afghanistan, it might be a good time to also debate just how far we've already gone in hiring private contractors to do jobs that the State Department, Pentagon and C.I.A. once did on their own. A good place to start is with... One Nation Under Contract.' Thomas Friedman, New York Times"