Immanuel Wallerstein draws on a lifetime of study of long-term historical change to shed light in his newest book on the consequences of the recent, significant turn in U.S. foreign and economic policies. Alternatives shows how the U.S. has been in decline since the 1970s and how these longer trends dovetail with current Bush administration policies, which he describes as an attempt to reverse the decline in ways that are disastrous to the future of the country and the world. The book's middle section is a log of insightful commentaries written between 2001 and 2004 detailing how the Bush administration has broken the pattern of foreign policies set by six presidents from Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton. Wallerstein suggests that a threshold has been crossed that will make it difficult for future presidents to practice the kind of 'soft' multilateralism in foreign policy they have used in the past and maintain effective alliances. He also shows, surprisingly, why 'globalization' already is dead, especially in terms of the United States' ability to dominate economically in the manner that it has since WWII. He calls for a major revision of U.S. policies, and not an attempt merely to return to the pre-Bush foreign policy. In conclusion, Wallerstein's visionary book speaks to the challenges the U.S. must face if it is to play a meaningful and progressive role in the world-system.
"[A] most important and perceptive assessment of the political and economic future of the world. As always with Wallerstein's work, you do not have to agree with him to find him enormously thought-provoking."
--Goran Therborn, Director, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences, Uppsala
"More and more books on international relations are published every year. Only a few of them deserved to be remembered. Alternatives is one of those. It is a delight to have deep historical perspective used to explain recent events. …Wallerstein shows that even in foreign affairs generosity, morality, cleverness, and realism are compatible."
--Pascal Boniface, Director of the Institute for International Relations and Strategy, Paris
To the Reader PART I: Terrorism: The Bush Fiasco PART II: Bush Encounters the World: Commentaries, 2001-2004 PART III: The Possible and the Desirable Index About the Author