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The Sovereignty Wars: Reconciling America with the World Hardcover – October 31, 2017

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


<div><p>Stewart Patrick unpacks a complex subject in a short, clear book that could not be more timely. The stakes in the ‘sovereignty wars’ he describes are high and rising for the United States and the world.―Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America</p></div>

<div><p>In this intelligent and beautifully written book, Stewart Patrick has brought into sharp focus the deep, tangled, and contested ideas of sovereignty that swirl beneath the surface in foreign policy debates about America’s role in the world. In illuminating the different meanings of sovereignty and the great historical struggles over them, <i>The Sovereignty Wars</i> provides the terms for new and enlightened thinking about America’s global engagement.―G. John Ikenberry, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University</p></div>

<div><p>Stewart Patrick has written a perfect Guide to the Perplexed that helps sort through the muddled arguments being thrown about today regarding perceived threats to American sovereignty and shows how international engagement often enhances rather than limits U.S. influence.―Frank Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University</p></div>

<div><p>Patrick (Council on Foreign Relations) addresses the subject of state sovereignty and its controversial role in US foreign policy―past and present. The book is well-researched and written. Highly Recommended.―<i>CHOICE</i></p></div>

<div>Some of us look at the U.S., mighty superpower that it still is, and wonder just what in the world is going on. Fake news, Russia-gate, rampant anti-Trumpism, America First rhetoric, citizen polarization and pugnacious confrontations with other nations. How might we make some sense of this? Stewart Patrick’s ambitious book, <i>The Sovereignty Wars: Reconciling America with the World</i> provides some answers.―Michael Welton, <i>New York Journal of Books</i></div.

<div>Can Washington best advance its interests and values through international institutions or through its own national efforts and ad hoc partnership? At times, as Patrick illuminates in this cogent and timely book, this debate has turned into "sovereignty wars," heated controversies over whether the United States should accept constraints on its autonomy and freedom of action. . . . Cutting through the hyperbole and inflamed rhetoric that tends to surround this subject, Patrick argues that when the United States signs a treaty or ties itself to other countries, it is exercising its sovereign authority, not abdicating it.―G. John Ikenberry, <i>Foreign Affairs</i></div>

<div><p><i>The Sovereignty Wars</i> is a compelling rejoinder to those who contend that a preoccupation with sovereignty will bolster America's perch. It is also a sobering warning to those who believe that policymakers simply need to wait for the populist storm to pass.&#151;Ali Wyne, The RAND Blog</p></div>

<div><p>With lucidity and verve, Stewart Patrick shows how the right-wing fixation with alleged threats to U.S. sovereignty―from the UN, foreign courts, human rights organizations, and other demonic forces―has damaged rather than enhanced American power. I implore the nationalist crowd to overcome its resistance and read this book.―James Traub, columnist, <i>Foreign Policy</i>, and author of <i>John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit</i></p></div>

<div><p>&#147;A principal strength of the book is Patrick's explication of important conflicts between US domestic politics and foreign policy. Here the author has a sure touch for identifying especially important examples and evidence.&#148;&#151;Arthur I. Cyr, <i>International Affairs</i></p></div>

From the Inside Flap

Protecting Sovereignty While Advancing American Interests in the Global Age Americans have long been protective of their country’s sovereignty—all the way back to George Washington, who admonished his successors to avoid “permanent” alliances with foreign powers. Throughout its history, the United States has faced periodic, often heated, debates about how to maintain that sovereignty, and whether it is endangered when the nation enters into international treaties and alliances about which Washington warned.

As the 2016 election made clear, sovereignty is also one of the most frequently invoked, polemical, and misunderstood concepts in politics—particularly American politics. The concept wields symbolic power, implying something sacred and inalienable: the right of the people to control their fate without subordination to outside authorities. Given its emotional pull, however, the concept is easily hijacked by political opportunists. By playing the sovereignty card, they can curtail more reasoned debates over the merits of proposed international commitments by portraying supporters of global treaties or organizations as enemies of motherhood and apple pie.

Such arguments distract Americans from what is really at stake in the sovereignty debate: namely, the ability of the United States to shape its destiny in a global age. The United States cannot successfully manage globalization, much less insulate itself from transnational threats, on its own. As global integration deepens and cross-border challenges grow, the nation’s fate is increasingly tied to that of other countries, whose cooperation will be needed to exploit the shared opportunities and mitigate the common risks of interdependence.

The Sovereignty Wars is intended to help today’s policymakers think more clearly about what is actually at stake in the sovereignty debate and to provide criteria for determining when it is appropriate to negotiate and how to achieve bargains over sovereignty.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Brookings Institution Press (October 31, 2017)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0815731590
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0815731597
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.6 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.25 x 1.25 x 9.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 14 ratings

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Stewart Patrick is the James H. Binger senior fellow and director of the program on international institutions and global governance at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Born in New York City, Stewart grew up in Garrett Park, Maryland, and attended Stanford University, where he studied human evolution. After graduation he went to Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship--and quickly evolved into a student of world politics. Now at CFR, he explores how the United States can help the world manage global problems. In addition to books and articles, Stewart writes the blog The Internationalist. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, where he juggles work and three lively, curious children. When he can, he escapes for wilderness hiking--or just to lose himself in a good novel.

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