Rostow spins urbane and intricate debates with various opponent views of American foreign policy, savoring the possibility of having the last word -- a very well polished last word. But his logical contradictions, his wishful thinking, his self-serving moralism are exceeded only by his naive irresponsibility: Rostow sets up for target practice old-fashioned isolationism, Wilsonian self-righteousness, and realpolitik advocacy of U.S. retrenchment; he has particular fun peppering Carl Oglesby (with whom he finds much to agree about), Senator Fulbright, Noam Chomsky, and Hans Morgenthau. Every inconsistency is exploited, every factual equivocation exposed, while Rostow has the good forensic sense to be the most aggressive about his weakest claim -- that ""hostile and expansionist powers"" still pursue their sinister aims at U.S. expense; granted, the Soviets may no longer want to overrun Western Europe, but they persist in their satanic hope that the U.S. will stop overrunning Western Europe! When Rostow settles into pipe-puffings about ""the balance of power"" as the touchstone of foreign policy, the cheery heat and polemical light fade, and we leave him defending the forces of reason against the passions of the mob. What could have been a real tour de force remains an enjoyable exercise in strawmanship.