The Fourth Power
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The Fourth Power : A Grand Strategy for the United States in the Twenty-First Century

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Today, even as America asserts itself globally, it lacks a grand strategy to replace "containment of communism." In this short, sharp book, Gary Hart outlines a new grand strategy, one directing America's powers to the achievement of its large purposes. Central to this strategy is the power of American ideals, what Hart calls "the fourth power." Constitutional liberties, representative government, press freedom - these and other democratic principles, attractive to peoples worldwide, constitute a resource that may prove as important to national security and the national interest in this dangerous new century as traditional military, economic and political might. Writes Hart: "The idea that government exists to protect, not oppress, the individual has an enormous power not fully understood by most Americans who take this principle for granted from birth. Far more nations will follow us because of the power of this ideal than the might of all our weapons." Against those who view America's noblest values as an inconvenience or even hindrance to the exertion of influence abroad, Hart warns that we ignore principle only at our peril. Such an approach may serve short-term goals, but there are costs; among them is the compromising of a crucial strategic asset, America's fourth power. Certain objectives require a military response--few serious people would disagree. The question is "whether America's purposes are best achieved through empire and force or through principle and persuasion." To suggest the former, Hart argues, is to misread both history and our current revolutionary age, one where terrorism, the internationalization of markets, information technology, eroding nation-state authority and other realities demand not doctrines of superstate unilateralism and preemption but rather appreciation for new collective security structures, international regulatory bodies, even forms of collaborative sovereignty. Applying the best insights of strategy to statecraft, Hart finds fuzziness, overreaching, and "theological" simplicity in America's current foreign policy. Nor does he believe the war on terror, necessary in the near term, will itself serve to chart America's larger strategic course. A bracing vision of an America responsive to a full spectrum of global challenges, The Fourth Power calls for a deeper understanding both of the threats we face and the profound strengths at our disposal to fight them.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 200 pages
  • 147.3 x 218.4 x 22.9mm | 385.56g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195176839
  • 9780195176834

Review quote

"Hart questions notions of preemption and preventive war... [He] offers a conceptual framework in which a "fourth power" -- "the power of principle" -- must be added to traditional American economic, political and military power as a major strategic asset internationally... In their current formulation, [his ideas] could prove important as soon as next year. An active Kerry for President campaigner, Hart could be a senior appointee in a Kerry administration. The Washington Postshow more

About Gary Hart

Former U.S. senator Gary Hart (D-Colorado) is author of thirteen books and a leading expert on national security and American foreign policy. A longtime member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, an international lawyer who has traveled to the former Soviet Union over 100 times, Hart recently completed a three-year assignment as co-chair of the U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century, a body that before 9/11 both warned of a massive stateside attack and recommended the creation of a homeland security department. Hart has taught at Yale, University of California, and Oxford University, where he earned a D.Phil. in Politics in 2001.show more

Rating details

23 ratings
3.08 out of 5 stars
5 17% (4)
4 22% (5)
3 26% (6)
2 22% (5)
1 13% (3)
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