America Unbound

The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy

Book
Foreign policy analyses written by CFR fellows and published by the trade presses, academic presses, or the Council on Foreign Relations Press.

Winner of the 2003 Lionel Gelber Prize, America Unbound has been lauded for its evenhanded treatment of Bush's foreign policy. Veterans of the Clinton administration's National Security Council staff, authors Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay argue that President Bush has launched a revolution in American foreign policy. He has redefined how America engages the world, shedding the constraints that friends, allies, and international institutions have traditionally imposed on its freedom, insisting that an America unbound is a more secure America.

How did a man once mocked for knowing little about the world come to be a foreign policy revolutionary? Daalder and Lindsay dismiss claims that neoconservatives have captured the heart and mind of the president. They show that Bush has been no one's puppet; instead, he has been a strong and decisive leader with a coherent worldview that was evident even during the 2000 presidential campaign.

More on:

United States

Heads of State and Government

Daalder and Lindsay caution that the Bush foreign policy revolution comes with significant risks. Raw power alone is not enough, they argue, to preserve and extend America's security and prosperity in the modern world. The United States often needs the help of others to meet the challenges it faces overseas, but Bush's revolutionary impulse has stirred great resentment abroad. At some point, the authors contend, Bush could find that America's friends and allies refuse to follow his lead, and America will then stand alone—a great power unable to achieve its most important goals.

More on:

United States

Heads of State and Government

Up

Reviews and Endorsements

I would not have imagined that two former Clinton staffers could write such a detached and richly textured book about Bush foreign policy. America Unbound is refreshingly original and it makes the case for President Bush as the master of his own unilateralist revolution. Future examinations of Bush foreign policy will be measured against this authoritative book.

Daniel Schorr, Senior News Analyst, National Public Radio

Daalder and Lindsay offer a provocative and original thesis—and also a caution to those who have underestimated George W. Bush's decisive and historic impact on the course of American foreign policy.

Robert Kagan, author, Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order

That infamous day, September 11, revolutionized many things, not least American foreign policy. Widely recognized foreign policy experts Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay have provided the first critical but fair account of the historic shift in U.S. foreign policy brought on by the age of terrorism. Most importantly, this book carefully documents our shift away from post-Cold War norms of internationalism toward a new doctrine: 'you are either with us or against us.'

Gary Hart, former U.S. Senator

In the News

The Coalition of the Unbelieving

The New York Times

Explore More on CFR

Southeast Asia

The U.S.-Indonesia relationship has often disappointed. It’s time to rethink U.S.-Indonesia ties and try to achieve real security goals, rather than make bold plans for cooperation that never come to fruition.

European Union

European leaders are rushing to implement new laws to curb disinformation on social media. However, existing European data protection laws might actually make it harder for bad actors to spread fake news online. 

Russia

The Atlantic's Julia Ioffe joins CFR's James M. Lindsay to discuss Russian president Vladimir Putin's political goals.