Estrangement

Estrangement : America and the World

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'The United States is estranged from the world - separate, aloof, more alone than even the most cynical or pessimistic observers might have predicted in the heyday of American postwar power', writes Sanford Ungar. In this provocative volume he and eleven other distinguished observers explore the complex and troubling reasons for that estrangement. The US emerged from World War II with a unique position and an unusual role in the world. Rarely in history had a single nation enjoyed so much prerogative and influence, and the US was confident that it could lead like-minded nations in the construction of a lasting framework of peace and friendly competition. But in the decades that followed, America's sense of its proper place in the world and its belief in the attainability of peace and prosperity have both been severely challenged. The seemingly inevitable development of diplomatic tension and nuclear arms competition with the Soviet Union, the ideological hostility of so many of the new and 'non-aligned' nations, the threatening economic competition of allies - all have contributed to America's sense of aloneness in the world.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 360 pages
  • 167.64 x 246.38 x 33.02mm | 725.74g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195037073
  • 9780195037074

Review Text

The 12 essays in this collection analyze the reasons behind America's inability to accomplish its foreign policy objectives and its frustration as the rest of the world reacts suspiciously, even hostilely, to our "good intentions." Ungar (a senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment for World Peace) contends that the US has an unrealistic vision of its role in the world. Since the late 1940's we have considered ourselves "the keeper of world peace" and the supreme inspiration to all nations who want to evolve toward democracy and capitalist plentitude. This has led to inevitable disappointments partly because we overestimate our power, partly because we do not understand that other nations will pursue their diverse aims whether we like it or not. The other contributors set the US dilemma within its historical framework or analyze America's changing prestige and influence in the world of today. Robert Dallek ("The American Style of Foreign Policy") traces the beginnings of the Cold War and, in the process, seems to blame Truman more than Stalin. Robert J. Donovan ("Nemesis: Truman and Johnson in the Coils of War in Asia") analyzes the Korean conflict and the escalation of US militarism triggered thereby. Donald McHenry (former ambassador to the UN) details the retreat from colonialism and the rise of the Third World; he notes how the US has changed "from a staunch supporter of nationalism and self-determination to a country with strained relations with developing countries." All of the essays provide food for thought. Ali A. Mazrui ("Nationalism and the New States in Africa") deplores "the Americanization of the world" and says that Islam and Marxism are both opposing this trend. Richard H. Ullmann (Princeton professor of international affairs) says that the rest of the world is beginning "to equate the US with the Soviet Union" in that "both now appear equally unwilling to tolerate ideological diversity among their neighbors and equally inclined to use military power to enforce conformity." A thought-provoking and chastening summary - whether or not one agrees with everything the various authors are saying. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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