This book provides a lively and readable introduction to current debates over U.S. power and purpose in world affairs. The end of the Cold War launched a new era in U.S. foreign policy. The United States entered a period of unprecedented global power, but one also characterized by new conflicts, challenges, and controversies. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the subsequent U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq cast a spotlight on continuing debates over how the United States should best use its considerable international power to secure safety for Americans and stability in the world. These debates involve two crucial questions: Should U.S. foreign policy focus on securing vital interests that are narrowly defined, or should the United States seek to spread U.S. institutions and values to other societies? Should the United States exercise maximum independence in the exercise of U.S. power abroad or work principally through multilateral institutions? This book brings together many different voices to answer these questions and to add to our understanding of the issues. Contributors include: Andrew J. Bacevich, Max Boot, Stephen G. Brooks, Ralph G. Carter, Robert F. Ellsworth, Niall Ferguson, Francis Fukuyama, Philip H. Gordon, Christopher Hitchens, James F. Hoge Jr., Michael Ignatieff, G. John Ikenberry, John B. Judis, Robert Kagan, Charles Krauthammer, Christopher Layne, Michael Mandelbaum, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Minxin Pei, PEW Center for the People and the Press, Jeffrey Record, Paul W. Schroeder, Todd S. Sechser, Dimitri K. Simes, Stephen M. Walt, The White House, William C. Wohlforth
“In the light of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent U.S. invasion of Iraq, America's role in the world has become an increasingly contentious question. The final chapter in the Iraq undertaking has yet to be written, but in the meanwhile a wide and discordant range of voices has been heard on the issue. David Skidmore has effectively brought together a fine collection of essays that will help sharpen the debates.”
—Ole Hosti, George V. Allen Professor of International Affairs, Duke University
PART I: U.S. Dominance and Its Limits Chapter 1: American Primacy in Perspective
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