America at the Crossroads
Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy
By Francis Fukuyama
Yale University Press, Hardcover, 9780300113990, 240pp.
Publication Date: March 1, 2006
List Price: $28.00*
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Francis Fukuyama’s criticism of the Iraq war put him at odds with neoconservative friends both within and outside the Bush administration. Here he explains how, in its decision to invade Iraq, the Bush administration failed in its stewardship of American foreign policy. First, the administration wrongly made preventive war the central tenet of its foreign policy. In addition, it badly misjudged the global reaction to its exercise of benevolent hegemony.” And finally, it failed to appreciate the difficulties involved in large-scale social engineering, grossly underestimating the difficulties involved in establishing a successful democratic government in Iraq.
Fukuyama explores the contention by the Bush administration’s critics that it had a neoconservative agenda that dictated its foreign policy during the president’s first term. Providing a fascinating history of the varied strands of neoconservative thought since the 1930s, Fukuyama argues that the movement’s legacy is a complex one that can be interpreted quite differently than it was after the end of the Cold War. Analyzing the Bush administration’s miscalculations in responding to the postSeptember 11 challenge, Fukuyama proposes a new approach to American foreign policy through which such mistakes might be turned aroundone in which the positive aspects of the neoconservative legacy are joined with a more realistic view of the way American power can be used around the world.
"Francis Fukuyama here gives the most lucid and knowledgeable account of the neoconservative vision of America's place and role in world affairs, and where it has overreached disastrously. He argues effectively for an American foreign policy more aware of the limits of American power, less dependent on the military, and more respectful of the interests and opinions of other countries and emerging international norms and institutions."—Nathan Glazer, Professor of Sociology and Education Emeritus, Harvard University
“Fukuyama is always worth reading, and his new book contains ideas that I hope the non-neoconservatives of America will adopt.”—Paul Berman, New York Times Book Review
“Fukuyama’s book is elegantly and concisely argued. His call for ‘realistic Wilsonianism’… is just right.”—Alan Wolfe, Chronicle of Higher Education
"Important and clear-sighted . . . one of the best available concise histories and explanations of the neoconservative movement and its chief ideas . . ."—Walter Russell Mead, Foreign Affairs
-Walter Russell Mead
“ For anyone interested in the neocons’ history and prospects...a superb guide to this intellectual battleground.”—Philip Seib, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
“Represents the latest and most detailed criticism of the Bush administration’s war in Iraq . . . [A] tough-minded and edifying book.”—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
“Fukuyama’s book considers conflicting neoconservative principles and offers a reconciliation of neoconservative thought with a wider worldview . . . a timely book. . .”—Publishers Weekly
“This important, and insightful book … sets forth an alternative vision, one that [Fukuyama] sees as … more consistent with American values ….”—Christoper Preble, The American Conservative
“Fukuyama’s sharpest insight here is how the miraculously peaceful end of the cold war lulled many of us into overconfidence . . .”—Andrew Sullivan, Time
"America at the Crossroads lays out a vision for the future of American foreign policy that progressives would be smart to embrace.”—Isaac Chotiner, Washington Monthly