America Right or Wrong

America Right or Wrong : An Anatomy of American Nationalism

3.65 (84 ratings by Goodreads)

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Description

"America keeps a fine house," Anatol Lieven writes, "but in its cellar there lives a demon, whose name is nationalism." In this controversial critique of America's role in the world, Lieven contends that U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 has been shaped by the special character of our national identity, which embraces two contradictory features. One, "The American Creed," is a civic nationalism which espouses liberty, democracy, and the rule of law. It is our greatest legacy to the world. But our almost religious belief in the "Creed" creates a tendency toward a dangerously "messianic" element in American nationalism, the desire to extend American values and American democracy to the whole world, irrespective of the needs and desires of others. The other feature, populist (or what is sometimes called "Jacksonian") nationalism, has its roots in an aggrieved, embittered, and defensive White America, centered largely in the American South. Where the "Creed" is optimistic and triumphalist, Jacksonian nationalism is fed by a profound pessimism and a sense of personal, social, religious, and sectional defeat. Lieven examines how these two antithetical impulses have played out in recent US policy, especially in the Middle East and in the nature of U.S. support for Israel. He suggests that in this region, the uneasy combination of policies based on two contradictory traditions have gravely undermined U.S. credibility and complicated the war against terrorism. It has never been more vital that Americans understand our national character. This hard-hitting critique directs a spotlight on the American political soul and on the curious mixture of chauvinism and idealism that has driven the Bush administration.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 154.94 x 238.76 x 22.86mm | 539.77g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195168402
  • 9780195168402

Review quote

"Lieven is relentlessly candid, and has produced a remarkably thought-provoking book.... Tightly written and extensively researched.... A valuable and also a troubling book on a subject that is both crucial and in many ways extremely sensitive."--Brian Urquhart, New York Review of Books"A fascinating and incisive analysis of American nationalism."--London Review of Books"Cogently argued...an important contribution to the discourse on national identity, the war on terror and the nature of political liberalism."--Publishers Weekly"America Right or Wrong shows a serious intellectual talent and ambition stretching its wings. In particular, Lieven takes on some of the big questions about American identity, ideology and exceptionalism in ways that yield surprising and provocative results.... At its admirable best America Right or Wrong asks important questions and makes readers review some of their own most cherished convictions."--Walter Russell Mead, Washington Post Book World"Some of the most trenchant and original criticism of the trajectory of U.S. foreign and military policy that has surfaced since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March, 2003."--Inter Press Service"Skillfully unravels the origins of American nationalism and illuminates its failings and virtues."--Foreword Magazine"This fighting book digs beneath the trauma of 9-11 to uncover the cultural sources of popular support for a blindly aggressive and self-defeating foreign policy. Dazzling and inspiring."--Stephen Holmes, Professor of Politics and Law, New York University School of Law"A searching examination of the deep-seated sources of American behavior, Anatol Lieven's America Right or Wrong takes on what others evade--the topics that, whether for good or ill, make us who we are and provide the engine of U. S. foreign policy. In pungent, muscular prose, Lieven makes a strong case that the neoconservatives have gotten far too much credit for the course of American policy since 9/11. His chapter on the mutually destructive course of U.S.-Israel relations is not only courageous but powerfully illuminating."--Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The New American Militarism"Anatol Lieven is one of today's most insightful observers of U.S. foreign policy. In this exceptional book he provides an analysis of the virtues and the dangers of American nationalism that is as provocative as it is perceptive." --Michael Lind, author of The Next American Nation"Anatol Lieven is one of the most thought provoking and insightful writers in Washington. This book is very much in the same tradition."--Senator Dick Clark, Director of The Congressional Program, The Aspen Instituteshow more

About Senior Research Fellow Anatol Lieven

Anatol Lieven is a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, D.C. A journalist, writer, and historian, he is a Contributing Correspondent for the Washington Quarterly and has written for The Economist, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, and other publications. He is the author of Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power and The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Path to Independence, which was a New York Times Notable Book for 1993.show more

Rating details

84 ratings
3.65 out of 5 stars
5 26% (22)
4 32% (27)
3 25% (21)
2 14% (12)
1 2% (2)
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