Lawrence J. Haas, a senior fellow with the American Foreign Policy Council and the author of the excellent new book Sound the Trumpet: The United States and Human Rights Promotion, notes that Obama has expressed admiration for the elder Bush and exhibits a similar approach. Like Bush 41, Haas says, Obama ‘operates as a classic realist, not a human rights promoter.’ Also in the realist vein, Obama ‘lacks a vision as to where he would like to take the country or the world. He operates from problem to problem.’
(The New Republic
)Former US government official Haas (senior fellow, American Foreign Policy Council) has produced a lively, opinionated analysis that is easily accessible to the general readership. His account, based on presidential administrations since WW II, portrays the US as "the world's leading promoter of human rights" and points to American exceptionalism as the heart of Washington's strong advocacy. Haas accentuates the crucial role of political and civil liberties rather than socioeconomic aspects of human rights, and he perceives a setback in the advance of rights in 2006-11 that has now been righted by the Arab Spring. Despite Haas's overall support for the US mission, he does not shirk from dissecting US failures. His coverage of the Obama administration highlights the president's ability to combine rhetorical idealism with operational realism, but he is highly critical of Obama's "engagement" approach toward America's enemies and labels it a "tragedy." Haas skewers Nixon, Ford, and George H. W. Bush, but admires Reagan and is critical of Carter. This study is succinct and well written....Haas's presentation is an excellent overview that is also timely and a good read. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; upper-division undergraduate students and above.
)Larry Haas provides an engaging history of, and compelling argument for, America’s unique role and responsibility as a leader in the advance of human rights around the globe. In a clear and accessible fashion, he illuminates the challenge of balancing strategic and moral interests in a complicated world. Ultimately, Sound the Trumpet makes a strong case for America’s continued leadership in bringing about a more democratic world.
(Joseph I. Lieberman, U.S. Senator, Connecticut)Thomas Jefferson would have loved this book. With stirring prose and real thoughtfulness on thorny questions, Larry Haas shows us where we’ve been and lays out an agenda to renew America’s historic role in spreading democracy to the people of the world. It is a book that is both timely and timeless.
(Andrei Cherny, President, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas; author, The Candy Bombers: The Berlin Airlift and America’s Finest Hour)A wise, balanced, and superbly written analysis of America’s commitment to the cause of human rights over the last three-quarters of a century – the victories, the setbacks, the conflicts, and the prospects.
(R. James Woolsey, The Honorable)It’s become fashionable to depict the United States as a spent superpower that, humbled by economic weakness and inconclusive wars, must now accommodate itself to a “post-American world.” Larry Haas is having none of it. In Sound the Trumpet, he makes a vigorous and compelling case that the United States retains the unique combination of strengths required to catalyze the spread of freedom and democracy in today’s world.
(Will Marshall)Larry Haas’ lucid narrative reminds us of the human rights idealism that has animated the foreign policy of every president from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama. While mindful of the enormous challenges and tragic missteps that have occurred along the route, he leaves the reader proud to be part of a nation that tries so persistently to alleviate human suffering and defend human dignity far from its own shores.
(Alice M. Rivlin, former White House Budget Director; former Vice Chair, Federal Reserve)
About the Author
Lawrence J. Haas, senior fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the American Foreign Policy Council, has written widely on foreign affairs and appears frequently on tv and radio. An award winning journalist, Haas served as communications director for Vice President Al Gore and, before that, for the White House Office of Management and Budget.