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Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in Americas Foreign and Defense Policy Paperback – November 1, 2000
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As a whole, Present Dangers is an excellent primer on how a Republican foreign policy might look in the early years of the 21st century. But to be sure, a Republican foreign policy would not inevitably look this way; in one of the book's best sections, James W. Caesar examines the realist and isolationist schools of conservative thought and contrasts them with the view expressed throughout Present Dangers. Yet this is a strong and convincing call for "a strong commitment to vigorous American global leadership, to American power, and to the advancement of American democratic and free-market principles abroad." --John J. Miller --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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The basic argument is that the US needs to exercise world domination, here spun as "benevolent global hegemony" and that there are a number of external obstacles which stand in the way and must be dealt with. These are Iraq, Iran, North Korea, China, the Middle East peace process and an independent Europe. In its clear and reasoned enunciation of strategy and future plans, it both rivals and surpasses the later chapters of Mein Kampf. Here is the game plan which must be read to understand where these people intend to take the world next.
If we ignore the desirability of this mission, its feasibility (the cost in money, lives and freedom) certainly merits discussion, but here the book is thin, relying on fairy story assumptions (budget surpluses!!!) and wishful thinking.
The one distasteful aspect of the book is the attempt to wrap the entire endeavour in the cloak of "American morality", understood as protecting citizen's liberties. This is breathtaking stuff from accomplices in the most extensive attempt to incinerate the Constitution in recent history.
Stripped of its ideological air cover and romantic fantasies, this is still an important, timely and lively document since this is the future course of foreign policy which the Bush administration plans to pursue.
The central thesis seems to be that the US is (or maybe WAS immediately after the Cold War) at an unprecedented position of influence and power over the world, and should use it to secure the safety of the whole world before those who wish to threaten the free world acquire the means to do so. The book was written at the end of the Clinton administration, but many parts of the book are extremely prophetic including the need to confront the members of the "Axis of Evil" about their efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction and the palestinian uprising against the stalled peace process which had not yet begun when the book was written. Like I said, even if you're not in agreement with Bush administration policy, you'll learn what some of the influential minds are thinking (and why their right!).
"Present Dangers" is a self-contained package. Robert Kagan and William Kristol didn't only select essayists that tell the reader what is wrong with today's policies, they, without exception, offer credible solutions as well.
This book will generate controversy in the same way President Ronald Reagan's foreign and military policies generated alarm among the status quo seeking elite who view themselves to be the sole legitimate practitioners of the art of diplomacy.
"Present Dangers" shows how America can seize the initiative on the world scene -- to shape the world to be a safer, freer place, more conducive to American interests and values.
After eight years of drift and confusion, this book is a welcome call to sensible action.
Reviewer: Chuck DeVore is Vice President of Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He served in the California State Assemblyman from 2004 to 2010. Before his election, he was an executive in the aerospace industry. He was a Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs in the Department of Defense from 1986 to 1988. He is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army (retired) Reserve. DeVore is the author of "The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State and Lessons for America," the co-author of "China Attacks," and author of the novel "Twilight of the Rising Sun."
The two introductory contributions, one on the national interest and global responsibility, the other on the differences between conservative isolationists and conservative internationalists and all others, are extraordinarily essential readings for anyone who hopes to understand the early days-and contradictory signals-of the next Administration. Individual chapters by very well-qualified experts cover the conservative internationalist view of China, Russia, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Europe and NATO, Asian Allies, and Israel. More general chapters address the decline of America's armed forces and the strategic case for dealing with weapons proliferation. The book concludes with three truly essential readings for any citizen, student, businessman, bureaucrat, or policymaker: on morality and foreign policy by William Bennett, on statesmanship in the new century by Paul Wolfowitz, and on strength and will in historical perspective by Donald Kagan.Read more ›
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As I sit here Saturday morning, October 3, 2009, I find it interesting to compare the eight reviews that, in my opinion, are within themselves a fascinating display of history. Read morePublished on October 3, 2009 by Richard Clark
The last reviewer's idea that America should distance itself from "lesser cultures" is that of a person who clearly knows very little about American culture. Read morePublished on June 17, 2005 by Ep Smiff