AFTERNOON ON THE POTOMAC?: A British View of America's Changing Position in the World by Roy Jenkins

AFTERNOON ON THE POTOMAC?: A British View of America's Changing Position in the World

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Sage avuncular advice from one declining world power to another. Jenkins, who tended the Exchequer for Harold Wilson and is presently No. 2 man in the Shadow cabinet, reviews Britain's postwar difficulties in adjusting gracefully to a diminished economic and military role -- blamed partly on de Gaulle's intransigence over the Common Market -- and admonishes the U.S. to learn from Mother England the art of renouncing hegemony for the more modest role of primus inter partes. America is cautioned not to sulk and turn to cantankerous isolationism in the aftermath of Vietnam. But the chief concern is not military but monetary: now that the U.S. is straining the ""limitations of its financial and economic power"" will she retreat behind a hostile, divisive protectionism? Urging the creation of a world reserve unit to replace the no-longer sovereign dollar as ""the pivot of the worldwide monetary system,"" he advises Uncle Sam to face the prospect of devaluation like a man and quit pressuring the rest of the world to adjust their currencies to U.S. needs. Delivered as a series of three lectures at Yale, Jenkins' elder-statesman retrospective on U.S. cold war leadership is exceedingly benign -- he casts no aspersion on the benevolence of U.S. policies -- and diplomatically urges only a measured retreat from the we-are-the-cops-of-the-world stance.

Pub Date: May 17th, 1972
Publisher: Yale Univ. Press