1999 by Richard Nixon
Kirkus Star


Victory Without War
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A pragmatic and prescriptive critique that details what the US can do over the next dozen years to ensure peace, prosperity, and related blessings in the 21st century. Glasnost notwithstanding, former President Nixon (who misses few chances to remind readers of his wide acquaintanceship among world leaders past and present) harbors few illusions about the adversarial nature of relations between the US and the USSR. Within this persistently parlous context, he offers Washington a comprehensive, activist agenda for dealing--and competing with the Kremlin. Its cardinal points include: strengthening NATO; encouraging Japan to play a larger role on the global stage; fostering mainland China's economic development; and "showing the way" to so-called Third World countries. America, the author warns, call flinch from its mortal rivalry and yield to the lure of nco-isolationism only at the risk of making the world unsafe for flee nations. Nixon also counsels distinguishing vital national interests from peripheral concerns and defining foreign-policy objectives so that appropriately measured responses may be made to crises. Without shying from big-stick persuasion, he advises future Chief Executives to speak softly, tempering inflammatory Cold War rhetoric (which makes allies fear US recklessness rather than doubt Soviet intentions) and foregoing crowd-pleasing sentiments like "eliminating nuclear weapons from the face of the earth" that confuse public debate or raise unrealistic hopes. At the same time, Nixon points out that a reduction in tensions between the superpowers need not lessen vigilance; indeed, he asserts, dÉtente must be coupled with deterrence at the conventional-forces as well as nuclear level. On the political front, Nixon argues that genuinely creative initiatives must originate in the White House, because the bureaucracies--Defense, State, et al.--invariably rely on "standard school solution [s]." In like vein, he charges that diplomats "have a pervasive tendency to negotiate with themselves on behalf of the Soviets," i.e., by rejecting hard-line options as unacceptable to the Russians before talks begin. In the event, Nixon cautions, the goal of bargaining on any issue--arms control or otherwise--is security, not a treaty. A geopolitical briefing that's as worldly-wise as it is provocative and instructive.
Pub Date: April 29th, 1988
ISBN: 0671678345
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1988


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