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Of Paradise and Power

Of Paradise and Power Cover

Of Paradise and Power

America and Europe in the New World Order

By Robert Kagan

Knopf, Hardcover, 9781400040933, 112pp.

Publication Date: January 28, 2003


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.

About the Author
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.

Praise For Of Paradise and Power

“No academic piece in this realm has generated quite as much heat and interest since Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ article in 1993 or Francis Fukuyama’s ‘End of History’ in 1989.”
—Francois Heisbourg, New York Times

“The most controversial big-think essay of the season.”
—Jay Tolson, U.S. News + World Report

“Come the hour, come the book . . . Kagan’s book is neither a diatribe nor a polemic. It is a penetrating effort to shed some light on the confusion in transatlantic affairs and to understand why Americans and Europeans are so frequently talking past each other . . . As an effort to crystallise an important moment in history and to provoke a fuller comprehension of contemporary international relations, Of Paradise and Power ranks with Frank Fukuyama’s The End of History and Sam Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations.”
—Raymond Seitz, The Times (London)

“Cogent and important…This book deserves to be read by all conscientious citizens.”

“One of America’s finest commentators on issues of foreign policy. He writes elegantly, has an excellent command of history and consistently demonstrates superior intelligence and insight. He ranks . . . among analysts whose work must be read. And the appearance of this book could not have been more timely, as ‘old Europe’ and the United States diverge.”
—Warren I. Cohen, Los Angeles Times

“His essay [has] the foreign policy establishment humming from Washington to Tokyo…It is being called the new ‘X’ article (George F. Kennan, using the pseudonym ‘X’ in the July 1947 issue of Foreign Affairs, conceptualized the Cold War policy of containment).”
—Lorraine Adams, The Washington Post

“Bob Kagan's provocative and thoughtful essay is required reading for everyone concerned about the future of trans-Atlantic relations. Ever controversial, Kagan's critical contribution to understanding American and European views of world order will be discussed and debated for years to come. Although not everyone will agree with Kagan's analysis, readers will benefit from its clarity, insight, and historical force.”
–Senator John McCain

“For its brilliant juxtaposition of strategy and philosophy, of the realities of power and the ethics of power, of the American ideal of justice and the European ideal of peace, Robert Kagan’s small book is a big book. Nothing like this has been written since the death of Raymond Aron.”
—Leon Wieseltier

“Though in the past we have often disagreed, I consider this essay one of those seminal treatises without which any discussion of European-American relations would be incomplete and which will shape that discussion for years to come.”
—Dr. Henry Kissinger

“No academic piece in this realm has generated quite as much heat and interest since Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ article in 1993 or Francis Fukuyama’s ‘End of History’ in 1989.”
—François Heisbourg, New York Times

—Francis Fukuyama

“This refreshing essay results from careful thought combined with critical information. Read it and you will think more deeply about this important arena.”
—George P. Schultz
Distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University
U.S. Secretary of State from 1982-1989.

“Anyone looking for an intellectual primer to explain the geopolitical forces at work in the Iraqi conflict should order a copy of Robert Kagan’s book, Of Paradise and Power.”
—Dominic Lawson, Sunday Telegraph