Bush Foreign Policy: Strategically Right but Tactically Wrong, Writes Walter Russell Mead in New Book

April 26, 2004

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April 23, 2004 - In Power, Terror, Peace, and War, Council Fellow Walter Russell Mead, one of the most original writers on U.S. foreign policy, provides a fascinating and timely account of the Bush administration’s foreign policy and its current grand strategy for the world.

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Mead analyzes America’s historical approach to the world, which he describes as not perfect, but reasonably moral and reasonably practical on the whole. He examines the explosive foreign policy of the Bush administration and the uproar it has caused at home and abroad. Bush, according to Mead, is often strategically right but tactically at fault in his attempts to lead a divided nation— and a divided coalition of allies— in a dangerous struggle against ruthless enemies.

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The mass terror attacks of 2001 changed the political and strategic problems facing American foreign policy, Mead explains. Despair and decay in the Arab world now present America and its allies with an extraordinarily difficult challenge. The accelerating collapse of civilized life in broad reaches of Africa— and the looming disasters of a similar kind in Central Asia— threatens to create lawless, violent zones where terrorism can thrive, and weapons of mass destruction and biological and chemical weapons can proliferate.

Mead further describes why key American alliances have frayed and why the Bush administration’s pronouncements and actions have ignited the most acrimonious domestic political battles over foreign policy in this country since the Vietnam War. Mead closes with a rigorous assessment of both Bush and his critics, and describes the urgent steps the United States must take lest casualties in the war on terror mount and the war itself spin out of control. He proposes a new approach to the war that can rebuild domestic and international support for a tough antiterror policy, outlines a new initiative for the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and recommends sweeping changes for reforming international institutions, including the United Nations Security Council.

Power, Terror, Peace, and War is a clear, concise guide to some of the most pressing issues before us, today and for the foreseeable future.

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“An intellectually subtle, historically significant, and politically savvy discourse on America’s role in the world. The product of a truly creative mind, Mead’s elegant and most timely essay should be read by everyone concerned about this country’s destiny.”
— Zbigniew Brzezinski

“Walter Russell Mead’s Power, Terror, Peace, and War takes a more comprehensive approach to American foreign policy, one that considers not merely the terrorist challenge but the economic angle as well.”
The Weekly Standard

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“Mead’s book demonstrates the value and difficulty of analyzing the ‘architecture of America’s world policy’ from such heights of abstraction before hindsight has clarified what is historically determined and what is contingent.”
Publishers Weekly

 

 

Walter Russell Mead is the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and is one of the country’s leading students of American foreign policy. His last book, Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World (Alfred A. Knopf), was widely hailed by reviewers, historians and diplomats as an important study that will change the way Americans and others think about American foreign policy. Among several honors and prizes, Special Providence received the Lionel Gelber Award (which the Economist calls “the world’s most important prize for non-fiction”) for the best book in English on international relations in 2002. The Italian translation won the Premio Acqui Storia awarded to the most important historical book published in Italian.

Founded in 1921, the Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, national membership organization and a nonpartisan center for scholars dedicated to producing and disseminating ideas so that individual and corporate members, as well as policymakers, journalists, students, and interested citizens in the United States and other countries, can better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other governments.

Ordering Information
“Power, Terror, Peace, and War”
Walter Russell Mead
Alfred A. Knopf
1-866-726-3661
ISBN # 1-4000-4237-2; Price: $19.95
http://www.randomhouse.com/knopf/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=1400042372

 

Contact: Marie X. Strauss, Communications, 212-434-9536 or mstrauss@cfr.org

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