United States diplomacy during the twenty- eight year period of 1945-73 is examined from strategic, political, and moral stand points were in diplomats openly declared their aim, and did they achieve it? Does the result justify accusations either of incompetence or of imperialism? Does not the reaction within the United States to a policy which had been a striking success now induce second thoughts about both the policy and its results? The imperial republic is trying to throw off its burden; once a missionary, it has lost the sense of mission; it is still capitalist, but its spoiled children no longer believe in money; it was puritan, but its cities abound in sex shops; it regards itself as scientific, yet mystical and nudist sects are common.
The reader is not asked to endorse Aron's paradoxical interpretations, but to try to discover the reasons for any disagreement he may feel regarding differences in political judgment. People who have acquired the habit of thinking of the contemporary world in Manichaean terms-in terms of the reduction of whole populations to slavery by monsters, or in terms of capitalism, imperialism, or revisionism- may be out raged by a book that is not concerned with grounds for outrage and in which there are neither villains nor heroes; but rather with mixed messages by decent policymakers. At the time of its initial publication The Times Literary Supplement called The Imperial Republic "an important book"no other author does so much." It remains so!
Volume One is oriented around themes of democratic societies and undemocratic systems, human rights and political obligations. Kirkpatrick examines the nature and legitimacy of democracy and the illegitimate nature of undemocratic nations. She also offers poignant commentary on the presidential election of 1980 and what the "Reagan phenomenon" has meant to the United States and the West.
Volume Two offers Kirkpatrick's formal remarks on nations and nation-building. She focuses on Grenada, Poland, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and the Soviet Union. She provides a particularly trenchant analysis of Israel: the Camp David accords, the assault on Israel inside the United Nations, and on the Middle East in general. Essential reading for everyone interested in the policymaking arena, these volumes exemplify Kirkpatrick's articulate conceptual underpinning of present-day American foreign policy.
These volumes, far from the usual government position papers, range widely and personally over the major international issues of our times. They are amplified in essays and articles written by Dr. Kirkpatrick for special occasions not related to specific UN work. In addition, the volumes contain crucial papers that were written after her resignation from the UN ambassadorship-and hence reflect Kirkpatrick's current interests and persuasions.
No writer in the United States today brings together analysis and history as comprehensively and elegantly as Mike Davis. In these contemporary, interventionist essays, Davis goes beyond critique to offer real solutions and concrete possibilities for change.
Mike Davis is the author many books, including City of Quartz, The Ecology of Fear, The Monster at Our Door, and Planet of Slums. Davis teaches in the Department of History at the University of California, Irvine, and lives in San Diego.