Of Paradise and Power
America and Europe in the New World Order
By Robert Kagan
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9781400040933, 112pp.)
Publication Date: January 28, 2003
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From a leading scholar of our country’s foreign policy, the brilliant essay about America and the world that has caused a storm in international circles now expanded into book form.
European leaders, increasingly disturbed by U.S. policy and actions abroad, feel they are headed for what the New York Times (July 21, 2002) describes as a “moment of truth.” After years of mutual resentment and tension, there is a sudden recognition that the real interests of America and its allies are diverging sharply and that the trans-atlantic relationship itself has changed, possibly irreversibly. Europe sees the United States as high-handed, unilateralist, and unnecessarily belligerent; the United States sees Europe as spent, unserious, and weak. The anger and mistrust on both sides are hardening into incomprehension.
This past summer, in Policy Review, Robert Kagan reached incisively into this impasse to force both sides to see themselves through the eyes of the other. Tracing the widely differing histories of Europe and America since the end of World War II, he makes clear how for one the need to escape a bloody past has led to a new set of transnational beliefs about power and threat, while the other has perforce evolved into the guarantor of that “postmodern paradise” by dint of its might and global reach. This remarkable analysis is being discussed from Washington to Paris to Tokyo. It is esssential reading.
Robert Kagan is senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he is director of the U.S. Leadership Project. In addition to a monthly column in the Washington Post, he is the author of A Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977–1990 and coeditor, with William Kristol, of Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy. Kagan served in the State Department from 1984 to 1988.