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Descripción de editorial
International affairs expert and award-winning author of Special Providence Walter Russell Mead here offers a remarkably clear-eyed account of American foreign policy and the challenges it faces post—September 11.Starting with what America represents to the world community, Mead argues that throughout its history it has been guided by a coherent set of foreign policy objectives. He places the record of the Bush administration in the context of America’s historical relations with its allies and foes. And he takes a hard look at the international scene–from despair and decay in the Arab world to tumult in Africa and Asia–and lays out a brilliant framework for tailoring America’s grand strategy to our current and future threats. Balanced, persuasive, and eminently sensible, Power, Terror, Peace, and War is a work of extraordinary significance on the role of the United States in the world today.
Mead, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of Special Providence, proposes a new strategic paradigm based on the premise that an unfettered global capitalism and a more aggressive American imperium are inevitable. Sometimes his terminology only muddles the conventional wisdom: for instance, he labels the neoconservatives' moralistic, interventionist foreign policy "Revival Wilsonianism," even though it rejects traditional Wilsonians' defining belief in binding international institutions. And he identifies Islamist militancy as "Arabian fascism," even though the movement advocates religious rather than ethnic solidarity. In other cases, Mead provides a useful framework, such as his contrast between the (Henry) "Fordist" bureaucratic welfare state of the 20th century and the new century's individualistic "millennial capitalism," whose roots he traces to a "Jacksonian" rebellion against the professional class that administered post New Deal American society. Also valuable is Mead's refinement of Joseph Nye's distinction between soft and hard power. Hard power, Mead says, ought to be further divided between "sharp" (military) and "sticky" (economic) power, while soft power comprises "sweet" (cultural) and "hegemonic" (the totality of America's agenda-setting power). These concepts help shape Mead's approach to the Bush doctrine. He supports its most controversial elements, unilateralism and pre-emptive war, but urges greater attention to the sticky, sweet and hegemonic aspects of American influence in the next stage of the war on terror. Mead's book demonstrates the value and difficulty of analyzing the "architecture of America's world policy" from such heights of abstraction before hindsight has clarified what is historically determined and what is contingent.