Thursday, June 01, 2006

Book Review: America at the Crossroads

OK...I've finished the first book on my summer reading list and I thought it might be fun if I provided quick little reviews as I make my way through the list.

America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy, Francis Fukuyama (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006).

As far as I'm concerned, this is the best book out to date for understanding how and why the US got involved in the Iraq War. The much-ballyhooed The Assassins' Gate isn't nearly as good, mainly because Packer doesn't seem to understand the nuances in the political philosophies of the main actors; for example, Packer lumps all of the realists together under the "neoconservative" umbrella, including Rumsfeld and Cheney, which just doesn't make sense. Fukuyama, on the other hand, clearly explains who the neocons are, and how their ideas got corrupted (by the neocons themselves) into the Iraq War. Fukuyama walks us through how the security needs of the US have transformed, and how the country needs to develop a new focus on development.

The last two chapters are especially interesting, as Fukuyama discusses how the US can develop a new type of multilateralism designed to alleviate some of the problems that arise within the UN and other international institutions and other multilateral fora. He recommends, along the lines of my thoughts in this post and this one, that the time has come to build a new institutional structure outside of the UN that can complement the UN as well as backstop it when the chips are down. Fukuyama discusses upgrading NATO by giving it more authority over US actions in exchange for streamlining its military decision making processes, as well as greater reliance on other regional institutions, such as ASEAN or the Community of Democracies.

I can't really agree with this argument more. The pure realist world is no more...existing institutions have already truncated the space in which true international anarchy dominates. However, as I've noted many times, the desire for inclusiveness and equality in international politics leads to a world based on sovereignty that is incapable of dealing with the serious threats to international security. The time has come for states that share a vision of the future of both international and domestic politics to create a new international institutional framework that can be both legitimate and effective. It won't be easy. But it must be done.

1 comment:

Thomas George said...

Dear Sir


I am Thomas George a victim of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the war followed.

Ever since the United Nations Organization set up a committee to compensate the victims of this heinous invasion I am trying to establish my claim. But I am discriminated by one or another reason.

I have created a home page describing how this invasion and the war spoiled my life and all the worse the human right violation of the United Nations compensation Commission. I have lost millions of US Dollars and still trying to reserve my legal and moral rights.

I am a victim from a third world country seeking your help in raising my issue on International level and pressurize all concerned authorities to get my invaded amount. I am fighting alone for justice. I request you to please visit my home page and understand my real story and help me with all possible resources. Your help will help me to live.
Home Page:
Thanks and have a Great Day

Yours faithfully

Thomas George