War on Peace
The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence
A book for anyone interested to know more about how the world really works by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ronan Farrow.
‘This is one of the most important books of our time.’ Walter Isaacson
‘A masterpiece’ Dan Simpson, Post-Gazette
THE NEW YORK TIMES #3 BESTSELLER
US foreign policy is undergoing a dire transformation, forever changing America’s place in the world. Institutions of diplomacy and development are bleeding out after deep budget cuts; the diplomats who make America’s deals and protect democratic interests around the world are walking out in droves. Offices across the State Department sit empty, while abroad the military-industrial complex has assumed the work once undertaken by peacemakers. Increasingly, America is a nation that shoots first and asks questions later.
In an astonishing journey from the corridors of power in Washington, DC, to some of the most remote and dangerous places on earth – Afghanistan, Somalia, and North Korea among them acclaimed investigative journalist Ronan Farrow illuminates one of the most consequential and poorly understood changes in American history. His first-hand experience as a former State Department official affords a personal look at some of the last standard bearers of traditional statecraft, including Richard Holbrooke, who made peace in Bosnia and died while trying to do so in Afghanistan.
Drawing on newly unearthed documents, and richly informed by rare interviews with warlords, whistle-blowers, and policymakers – including every living secretary of state from Henry Kissinger to Hillary Clinton to Rex Tillerson – War on Peace makes a powerful case for an endangered profession. Diplomacy, Farrow argues, has declined after decades of political cowardice, short-sightedness, and outright malice – but it may just offer a way out of a world at war.
About the author
Ronan Farrow is an attorney, former State Department official, and investigative journalist who has reported for NBC News and written for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New Yorker, which published his exposés on sexual assault. He lives in New York City.
War has eclipsed diplomacy as the main instrument of U.S. foreign policy with dire consequences, according to this searching expos of a crumbling State Department. New Yorker journalist Farrow, a former State Department official, examines the decadeslong waning of the department's clout as its budgets were slashed and its diplomatic counsels ignored by presidents who pursued military solutions to global crises. The results, he argues, were disastrous. The U.S. backed brutal warlords in Afghanistan and rejected possible settlements with the Taliban; sponsored a counterinsurgency that killed countless civilians in Colombia; in Somalia supported warlords and an Ethiopian invasion against a relatively innocuous Islamic regime, sparking Islamist terrorism; and, in the Trump era, struggles with the damage from presidential policy-by-tweet. Farrow blends analysis with vivid reportage (his portrait of Afghan warlord Ahmed Rashid Dostum, in a palace furnished with reindeer, shark tank, and Christmas lights, is classic); his firsthand recollections of State Department icons, such as the brilliant, blustering Richard Holbrooke, make diplomacy feel colorful and dramatic rather than gray and polite. Farrow doesn't quite demonstrate how diplomacy would succeed in quagmires like Afghanistan, but his indictment of the militarization of American foreign policy is persuasive. Photos.