The Frugal Superpower: America's Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era

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In this incisive new book, Michael Mandelbaum argues that the era marked by an expansive American foreign policy is coming to an end. During the seven decades from the U.S. entry into World War II in 1941 to the present, economic constraints rarely limited what the United States did in the world. Now that will change. The country's soaring deficits, fueled by the huge costs of the financial crash and of its entitlement programs—Social Security and Medicare—will compel a more modest American international presence.

In assessing the consequences of this new, less expensive foreign policy, Mandelbaum, one of America's leading foreign policy experts, describes the policies the United States will have to discontinue, assesses the potential threats from China, Russia, and Iran, and recommends a new policy, centered on a reduction in the nation's dependence on foreign oil, which can do for America and the world in the twenty-first century what the containment of the Soviet Union did in the twentieth.

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About the author

Michael Mandelbaum is the Christian A. Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy; Director of the American Foreign Policy Program at Johns Hopkins, SAIS. He is a former faculty member at Harvard University, Columbia University and the U.S. Naval Academy; his Ph.D. in political science came from Harvard University.
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Publisher
PublicAffairs
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Published on
Aug 10, 2010
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9781586489175
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / International Relations / General
Political Science / World / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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At the dawn of the twenty-first century, three ideas dominate the world: peace as the preferred basis for relations between and among different countries, democracy as the optimal way to organize political life, and free markets as the indispensable vehicle for the creation of wealth. While not practiced everywhere, these ideas have--for the first time in history--no serious rivals. And although the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were terrible and traumatic, they did not "change everything," as so many commentators have asserted. Instead, these events served to illuminate even more brightly the world that emerged from the end of the Cold War.

In The Ideas That Conquered the World, Michael Mandelbaum describes the uneven spread (over the past two centuries) of peace, democracy, and free markets from the wealthy and powerful countries of the world's core, where they originated, to the weaker and poorer countries of its periphery. And he assesses the prospects for these ideas in the years to come, giving particular attention to the United States, which bears the greatest responsibility for protecting and promoting them, and to Russia, China, and the Middle East, in which they are not well established and where their fate will affect the rest of the world.

Drawing on history, politics, and economics, this incisive book provides a clear and original guide to the main trends of the twenty-first century, from globalization to terrorism, through the perspective of one of our era's most provocative thinkers.

The end of the Cold War led to a dramatic and fundamental change in the foreign policy of the United States. In Mission Failure, Michael Mandelbaum, one of America's leading foreign-policy thinkers, provides an original, provocative, and definitive account of the ambitious but deeply flawed post-Cold War efforts to promote American values and American institutions throughout the world. In the decades before the Cold War ended the United States, like virtually every other country throughout history, used its military power to defend against threats to important American international interests or to the American homeland itself. When the Cold War concluded, however, it embarked on military interventions in places where American interests were not at stake. Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo had no strategic or economic importance for the United States, which intervened in all of them for purely humanitarian reasons. Each such intervention led to efforts to transform the local political and economic systems. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, launched in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, turned into similar missions of transformation. None of them achieved its aims. Mission Failure describes and explains how such missions came to be central to America's post-Cold War foreign policy, even in relations with China and Russia in the early 1990s and in American diplomacy in the Middle East, and how they all failed. Mandelbaum shows how American efforts to bring peace, national unity, democracy, and free-market economies to poor, disorderly countries ran afoul of ethnic and sectarian loyalties and hatreds and foundered as well on the absence of the historical experiences and political habits, skills, and values that Western institutions require. The history of American foreign policy in the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall is, he writes, "the story of good, sometimes noble, and thoroughly American intentions coming up against the deeply embedded, often harsh, and profoundly un-American realities of places far from the United States. In this encounter the realities prevailed."
The end of the Cold War led to a dramatic and fundamental change in the foreign policy of the United States. In Mission Failure, Michael Mandelbaum, one of America's leading foreign-policy thinkers, provides an original, provocative, and definitive account of the ambitious but deeply flawed post-Cold War efforts to promote American values and American institutions throughout the world. In the decades before the Cold War ended the United States, like virtually every other country throughout history, used its military power to defend against threats to important American international interests or to the American homeland itself. When the Cold War concluded, however, it embarked on military interventions in places where American interests were not at stake. Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo had no strategic or economic importance for the United States, which intervened in all of them for purely humanitarian reasons. Each such intervention led to efforts to transform the local political and economic systems. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, launched in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, turned into similar missions of transformation. None of them achieved its aims. Mission Failure describes and explains how such missions came to be central to America's post-Cold War foreign policy, even in relations with China and Russia in the early 1990s and in American diplomacy in the Middle East, and how they all failed. Mandelbaum shows how American efforts to bring peace, national unity, democracy, and free-market economies to poor, disorderly countries ran afoul of ethnic and sectarian loyalties and hatreds and foundered as well on the absence of the historical experiences and political habits, skills, and values that Western institutions require. The history of American foreign policy in the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall is, he writes, "the story of good, sometimes noble, and thoroughly American intentions coming up against the deeply embedded, often harsh, and profoundly un-American realities of places far from the United States. In this encounter the realities prevailed."
Expanding the powerful argument he makes with Thomas Friedman in their bestselling That Used to Be Us, Michael Mandelbaum describes the forces driving the next stage of globalization, one of expanding wealth and vast opportunity.

IN That Used to Be Us, the bestseller Michael Mandelbaum wrote with Thomas L. Friedman, the authors analyzed the challenges America faces, including globalization, and described a path to recovering America’s greatness.

In The Road to Global Prosperity, Mandelbaum, one of America’s leading authorities on international affairs, looks at recent developments that call into question our optimism about the world’s economic future: the financial meltdown of 2008, Europe’s troubled currency, the reduced growth of China, India, and other emerging nations. He shows that while the global economy will face major challenges in the years ahead, there are powerful reasons to believe that globalization will continue to make the world richer.

Mandelbaum examines the politics of the global economy and explains why globalization is both irreversible and a positive force for the United States and the world. As technology and free markets expand and national leaders realize that their political power depends on delivering prosperity, countries are likely to cooperate more and fight less. As more nations connect, their economies will grow. As immigration increases, as more money crosses borders, and as more countries emerge from poverty, individuals and societies around the world will benefit.

The Road to Global Prosperity illuminates the crucial political issues that will determine the economic future. Mandelbaum makes a persuasive case for optimism and offers a concrete, practical guide to the economic challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
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