Email this review


This title is a phrase which has ""haunted Western diplomacy since 1950."" The subtitle, ""A Study in the Politics of Power"", keys the author's approach. ""This study is concerned chiefly with the circumstances in which it became current as a formulation of Western policy towards the USSR and with the degree to which the substance of policy has corresponded to the phrase."" Miss Bell, a lecturer in International Politics at the University of Sydney, is an excellent observer of the subtle shifts in both diplomatic innuendo and the actual state of affairs, and also has an extraordinary ability to state the meaning of each shift in clear, hard words. Negotiation from strength has had great appeal in the U.S. because it ""blends two theories of the nature of diplomacy: the liberal-optimist theory which sees it as a process of compromise and reconciliation, and the Machiavellian-pessimist theory which sees it as a continuation of war by other means."" From this angle, this is a study of ""political double-think, and its effects."" As a policy it has ""produced an actual Western negotiating position, by 1960, much inferior to that with which the process began in 1950."" Miss Bell does not offer much in the way of an alternative approach to our problems, but certainly promoting an awareness of the inadequacies of the present one is the first necessary step.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1963
Publisher: Knopf