The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy

October 10, 2003

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George W. 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 impose on its freedom of action. He has insisted that an America unbound is a more secure America.

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How did a man once mocked for knowing little about the world come to be a foreign policy revolutionary? In America Unbound, Brookings’ Ivo H. Daalder and the Council’s James M. Lindsay dismiss claims that neoconservatives have captured the heart and mind of the president. They show that George W. Bush has been no one’s puppet. He has been a strong and decisive leader with a coherent worldview that was evident even during the 2000 presidential campaign.

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Daalder and Lindsay caution that the Bush revolution comes with significant risks. Raw power alone is not enough 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, Daalder and Lindsay warn, Bush could find that America’s friends and allies refuse to follow his lead. America will then stand alone— a great power unable to achieve its most important goals.

“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

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Ivo H. Daalder is a senior fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution and holds the Sydney Stein Jr. Chair in International Security. His books include Winning Ugly: NATO’s War to Save Kosovo (Brookings 2000) and Getting to Dayton: The Making of America’s Bosnia Policy (Brookings 2000). In 1995-96, Daalder was director for European affairs on the National Security Council staff.

James M. Lindsay is vice president and director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he holds the Maurice R. Greenberg Chair. He was previously deputy director and senior fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. His books include Agenda for the Nation (Brookings 2003) and Defending America: The Case for Limited National Missile Defense (Brookings 2001). In 1996-97, Lindsay was director for global issues and multilateral affairs on the National Security Council staff.

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George W. Bush

Established in 1921, the Council on Foreign Relations is a nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank, dedicated to increasing America’s understanding of the world and contributing ideas to U.S. foreign policy. The Council accomplishes this mainly by promoting constructive debates and discussions, clarifying world issues, and publishing Foreign Affairs, the leading journal on global issues.

To order America Unbound, call 1-800-275-1447, fax 202-797-2960;


America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy
Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Lindsay
Brookings Institution Press (On sale: October 10, 2003)
6 x 9, 238 pp., 0-8157-1688-5, $22.95

Contact: Marie X. Strauss, Communications, (212) 434-9536


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