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Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy Hardcover – September 19, 2005
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The bulk of the book examines how the rest of the world is actually responding to U.S. primacy, and why, from the eminently logical point of view that countries pursue their own interests, not ours. Walt looks at examples of the whole range of possibilities, from balancing (including asymmetric strategies), to "balking" (footdragging), "binding" (to alliances, institutions and norms), and delegitimation (what we call in sociology a "framing" strategy), in the cases of Europe, China, Russia, Arab states, and the whole cast of characters on the world stage.
Only at the end, based on this primer on Realist analysis, does Walt turn to his eminently sensible prognosis for U.S. foreign policy. He indicts the failed Global Hegemony strategy of the Bush Administration, which has led to active attempts by virtually everyone else to counter the U.S. After a brief survey of the Selective Engagement strategy of the Bush Sr. and Clinton Administrations, he recommends a return to Offshore Balancing, which was U.S. strategy through most of its history, and which Walt says is perfectly suited to this (no doubt temporary) period of U.S. primacy.Read more ›
The relative novelty Professor Walt brings into consideration, when looking for answers to point #3, is the need for openness and public debate about the activity of political lobbies - especially those steering the US foreign policy. Michael Scheuer might have been the first one, in this round, to raise awareness about political lobbies as factor influencing the US foreign policy. However, it is only now that we have a proposal on how to deal with the shortcomings of what, Walt reminds us, is a fundamental feature of the American democracy - interest groups. It should also be added that, in a recent report on overall nations' business competitiveness, released by The World Economic Forum, the US occupies only the second place due also to the perceived negative influence of business lobbies on government policy.Read more ›
Walt opens with a summary of all the aspects of might available to the USA. This is the foundation of the "realist" genre - the power is there and Walt catalogues it nicely. The USA is at once the strongest power militarily and economically, influencing many by sheer presence. It has far outstripped whatever competition it might have had. A military defeat is out of the question and even economic challengers can only hope to share, not dominate, markets. The collapse of the Soviet Union left the USA in the role of world primacy. That unique position has led other nations to view such solitary might with distrust and resentment. Walt explains brilliantly why these countries are suspicious. Any nation confronted with such prowess will naturally be wary. He generally avoids value judgements in the depiction, but he notes how poorly informed the leaders and general populace of the USA are about the resentment. How other nations do and should react becomes the theme of most of Walt's remaining chapters.
Once he's described what he calls "the roots of resentment", Walt describes the reactions by nations uncomfortable with the USA's "primacy".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A much needed, critical look at the underbelly of the 'Bush Doctrine'.Published 25 days ago by Hezekiah
that great condition book , great book for everyone to read . i strongly recommend it to everyone . i will looking forward for more books for Stephen m. walt to read .Published 20 months ago by mohamed eid
There are so many arguments set forth in this book that are poorly researched/argued that it's hard to recommend it on any level. Other reviewers have said enough. Read morePublished on May 21, 2011 by Flying Science Monster
This is simultaneously a very scholarly work and very easy to read. Walt knows his stuff and makes a convincing case. Read morePublished on November 2, 2007 by Jedidiah Carosaari
I'm going to explain why you should do the environmentally correct thing and not buy this book. To begin, it's pedantic and boring. Read morePublished on August 6, 2007 by jason in ABQ
I would not normally have bought this book, but the dogmatic criticisms of the work from what appear to be very angry Zionists compelled me to support the author and see for... Read morePublished on October 5, 2006 by Robert David STEELE Vivas
"'Taming American Power' - Why would one like to do that?" This seems to be the standard tongue-in-cheek reaction one gets from a fellow American student who has spotted the... Read morePublished on July 19, 2006 by Friedrich Schroeder
Taming American Power is a book about relations between and among states. Walt's starting point is a wide-ranging description of the sources and manifestations of American primacy. Read morePublished on December 27, 2005 by Marc Schulman
One reviewer of this book said that this book was a "recipe for appeasement" and that were the world to recommend genocide, or a return to slavery, that this book would imply that... Read morePublished on December 24, 2005 by Jill Malter