- Hardcover: 316 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (September 5, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415949807
- ISBN-13: 978-0415949804
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
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Imperial Designs: Neoconservatism and the New Pax Americana 1st Edition
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"...a prolific author whose writings include two volumes in an acclaimed series on American liberal Christianity and a decade-old book on neoeonservative ideology, thoroughly rehearses the movement of the ideas and people operating the U.S. foreign policy machinery. In an astonishingly comprehensive discussion of the neoconservatives' rise to power, Dorrien identifies the major players who devised the grand strategy of unipolarism, which calls for America to assert itself as the preeminent global power in the post-Cold War world..." - The Christian Century
About the Author
Gary Dorrien is the Parfet Distinguished Professor at Kalamazoo College. An Episcopal priest, he is the author of eleven books and over one hundred articles that range across the fields of theology, philosophy, social theory, politics, ethics, and history. His recent two volumes, The Making of American Liberal Theology, have been lauded by numerous reviewers as the definitive study of American theological liberalism.
Top customer reviews
Is Dorrien right? Do neocons want the United States to be an Empire? What do neocons think of international law? More precisely, do neocons want the United States to be fair, or do they want us to throw our weight around to get our way?
I think the author makes some good and bad points on these issues. The problem is that we need to start with a couple of fundamentals. Political disputes, say between liberals and conservatives, involve agreement on some goals and disagreement on the means to achieve them or the nature of successfully meeting them. That is, most of us want American society to be just, fair, and prosperous. That could be a mutual goal. We could have totally different political ideas about what that goal might mean. Still, we would be speaking the same language, even though we disagreed. Those who wanted American society to be damaged or destroyed would not be able to truly agree or disagree with any of the rest of us.
Now where do I think this places those with some specific political views, such as the neocons? Well, I think some neocons might indeed want the United States to be unfairly biased in helping Americans rather than others. But they surely would not want to put it that way in a debate! Matter of fact, they would much rather put the shoe on the other foot, and be able to argue in favor of justice, fairness, and human rights for all against those who are explicitly against them. And that leads to what I call "litmus test" issues. It seems to me that the neocons have picked some issues of this sort. Dorrien recognizes this, as he points out that one neocon, Norman Podhoretz, has emphatically criticized Communism, anti-Zionism, and anti-Americanism. But Dorrien implies that these issues tend to separate the neocons from the liberals or paleocons. I think that misses the point. I think issues such as Iraq, Korea, and Taiwan might do a better job of drawing such lines. Communism, anti-Zionism, and anti-Americanism are, in my opinion, issues that neocons want to use to draw the line between being able to join the debate or not being able to do so. Those who strongly favor Communism, anti-Americanism, or anti-Zionist terror really are not in a position to constructively criticize liberals, paleocons, or neocons.
Dorrien does realize that neocons are sincere about these issues. If they are wrong, he encourages us to address their arguments rather than speculate about their motives. But he merely explains that these issues are important. He fails to address the question of where the line is between such issues becoming national in nature and merely being a facet of partisan politics.
I'm a liberal, and I am often in disagreement with neocons, on tactics, strategies, and goals. And I think we ought to oppose dubious or arbitrary American policies. I think we Americans can pursue a better foreign policy. But that certainly ought not mean supporting Communism, anti-Zionism, or anti-Americanism. I think Dorrien agrees with this. But he seems to confuse these "litmus test" positions with very partisan ideas about our foreign policy.