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Wilson's Ghost: Reducing the Risk of Conflict, Killing, and Catastrophe in the 21st Century Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 31, 2001
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McNamara and Blight offer advice on how to achieve Wilson's dream today. This makes them, to use the lingo of diplomats, foreign-policy idealists: "It seems to us that the realists are in fact unreal in their analysis of the world in the 21st century," they write. They call for "bringing Russia and China in from the cold," by which they mean Americans should treat the Russians and Chinese more like equals than they do currently. The United States, in short, must "not apply its economic, political, or military power unilaterally, other than in the unlikely circumstances of a defense of the continental United States, Hawaii, and Alaska." McNamara and Blight assert that developing antiballistic technologies will lead to "an increased risk of arms races, instability, and even nuclear war." Readers whose foreign policy runs left-of-center will appreciate the authors' efforts and find it a pleasing contrast to a recent right-of-center foreign-policy tome, Henry Kissinger's Does America Need a Foreign Policy? --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
An analysis of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson vision for the 20th century in the aftermath of the First World War serves as a starting point. The authors endorse Wilson's realization of the unimaginable disaster that awaits humanity if we do not create the climate and institutions for peace. They also admire his moral approach, his notion of peace without defeat, and his multilateral approach envisioned in the League of Nations.
However, there is also Wilson's ghost - his promotion of fragmenting national self-determination, his sometimes patronizing moralism, and his failure to persuade the Senate and the American people to abandon a unilateral approach to foreign affairs.
McNamara and Blight adopt two imperatives. The moral imperative for U.S. foreign policy is to avoid in the 21st century the carnage caused by conflict in the 20th century. The multilateral imperative is to refrain from using our economic, political, or military power unilaterally, other than in defense of the United States itself.
The authors suggest three steps as essential to securing peace in the 21st century. First, we must prevent great power conflict. This can only come if we truly seek to understand and appreciate the perspectives of other nations, especially Russia and China - what the authors call empathy.
Second, we must reduce communal killing by intervening in "dangerous, troubled, failed, murderous states.Read more ›
There is no question but that the Attack on America of 11 September 2001 has awakened and even frightened the American public. It has elicited conventional assurances from other nation states. What most Americans do not understand, what this book makes brilliantly clear, is that two thirds of the rest of the world is glad it happened. I quote from page 52: "...at least two-thirds of the world's people--Chinese, Russians, Indians, Arabs, Muslims, and Africans--see the United States as the single greatest threat to their societies. They do not regard America as a military threat but as a menace to their integrity, autonomy, prosperity and freedom of action.Read more ›
For readers and students who have spent the last few years dealing with the issue of post-Cold war conflict, however, or for anyone whose political views lean towards the left-side of the spectrum, the propositions elaborated upon in this book will probably sound familiar, if not a little repetitious.
While I do not disagree with most of the ideas propounded by the authors, I would recommend that intermediary to advanced policymakers, or readers who already have some familiarity with security issues, instead turn to John Steinbruner's Principles of Global Security - which, interestingly enough, is quoted on a number of occasions in McNamara's and Blight's cooperative effort.
On the other hand what did strike me about this book is Mr. McNamara's willingness to admit mistakes he or the various groups he has been part of might have committed in the past, most luridly during the Vietnam War. This was unexpected, and I appreciated the authors' openness. Much can be learned from mistakes committed, hence the importance of history.
Hopefully the ideas contained in this book will seep into the consciousness of the general public, engender discussion, and ultimately awaken the western civilization from its prevailing political stupor and outrageous disinterestedness.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nice to have but feels like we've read it already elsewhere. McNamara's insights are valuable, even if somewhat naive and unrealistic.Published on March 22, 2013 by the Swallows
In this book, former US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and two college professors put forth a vision of a future in which the USA fully embeds itself within international law... Read morePublished on December 20, 2011 by Newton Ooi
The book is a pretty easy read and relies to a great extent on Blight's writing. However the main point that the authors make--that we must deploy strategic empathy and that this... Read morePublished on April 1, 2009 by dizzy dean
For many years as a theologian and student of international relations I have struggled with the postions of "idealism" and "political realism" of political thought and practice. Read morePublished on July 25, 2007 by Robert M. Pallotti
I picked up "Wilson's Ghost" after I read "In Retrospect" by McNamera. The writing style of "Ghost" is different from "Retrospect", that I suspect Blight wrote most of it, leaving... Read morePublished on February 14, 2006 by Eduardo Antico
I thought this book was amazing until I got to the material added after 9 / 11. For all of the authors' talk about empathizing with the enemy, their discussion of... Read morePublished on February 13, 2005 by Marianne Cotugno
I am not a student of history or war, but a therapist to people who have participated in the horror of it. Read morePublished on December 19, 2004 by Mark Goulston
I do not know who wrote the prolog to this book, but it has got to be the most painful 20 minutes of my life. Read morePublished on January 17, 2004 by John G. Hilliard
The collaborative effort of Robert S. McNamara (educator, businessman, and Secretary of Defense to Presidents Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson), and James G. Read morePublished on August 9, 2003 by Midwest Book Review