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The End of Arrogance: America in the Global Competition of Ideas

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674058187
ISBN-10: 0674058186
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this concise book, Weber, a professor at Berkeley, and Jentleson, a professor at Duke, identify "five big ideas" that dominated international politics in the 20th century: peace is better than war; benign hegemony is better than a balance of power; capitalism is better than socialism; democracy is better than dictatorship; and western culture is superior to other cultures. The authors argue that for much of the world a repressive government that achieves economic progress (as is the case in Singapore, for instance) is preferable to a democratic government that fails to improve living standards; this shift, the authors argue, needs to be understood by the American people in order for the U.S. to successfully transition from lone superpower to savvy and influential player. Though their message is far from new, it's extremely well articulated. Yet finding an audience for this book may be a challenge; it's too simplistic for foreign policy wonks and too sophisticated to find a home on Main Street.
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Review

In this little book, two leading scholars offer a manifesto for U.S. leadership in a post-Western international system...Acknowledging that no country has a monopoly on good ideas, the book makes a good case that the United States needs to recast the way it talks about its role in the world. (G. John Ikenberry Foreign Affairs 2010-11-01)

The End of Arrogance makes a strong case for the end of the hegemony of American ideas in the foreign-policy sphere, examines what a more complex and diverse set of influences could create in terms of a future world order, and offers some important advice on how America can keep up in a more competitive world. (Elizabeth Dickinson Foreign Policy blog 2010-09-03)

Dazzling. (Ronald Brownstein National Journal)

Weber and Jentleson put forward a powerful and provocative view of the coming frontiers for foreign policy--a global competition of ideas. Their arguments pose the right challenge to governments, corporations, and NGOs operating on a global stage, and provide practical advice for what to do about it. (Janice Stein, Director, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (September 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674058186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674058187
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,054,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
"The End of Arrogance" by Steven Weber (Political Science Professor - Berkeley) and Bruce Jentleson (Political Science Professor - Duke) emphasizes foreign policy and provides a welcome dose of reality to counteract those American leaders who insist on living in the past. They begin by defining 'arrogant policies' as those that carry with them a strong sense of entitlement, that others should simply listen and agree. They also contend that it is not convincing to look backward at what may have existed in the past, when competition for ideas and economic growth took different forms and was much less vibrant. No one, including the U.S., is entitled to set global values. Their major claim is that the era of U.S. ideological dominance is over.

The authors contend that in the 20th century, a few ideas promoted by the U.S. shaped world politics, including: 1)Peace is better than war. 2)Capitalism is better than socialism. 3)Democracy is better than dictatorship. The U.S. was their paragon. While the current prevailing consensus within the U.S. is that they still hold, world opinion holds otherwise.

The U.S. itself blasted apart the 'Peace is better than war' belief when it invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, and supported Israel's invasion of Lebanon.

Capitalism did beat socialism; however, a new form has governments owning and directing large and strategic parts of the economies of some of the most critical states and their economic sectors. It's not just China - national companies now own 75% of the world's known oil reserves. Meanwhile, in the U.S. the state's Federal Reserve repeatedly bails out private banks - hardly a dictate of free enterprise.
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This is a truly visionary book. It takes the premise that the world has changed irrevocably and that traditional notions of power and order no longer apply. In place of a perilously declining world order these authors advocate for the creation of a "just society" that provides: autonomy, opportunity, protection and heterogeneity for everyone. In addition, the authors note the rise of "mega-philanthropies" and describe their rising emergence among world powers. In short, this book tells of the necessity of changing our own self-identity as Americans to better reflect our current place among other global entities. This is entertaining reading, up to date social commentary, and brilliant political science. Highly recommended.
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