ESTRANGEMENT: America and the World by Sanford J.--Ed. Ungar

ESTRANGEMENT: America and the World

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The 12 essays in this collection analyze the reasons behind America's inability to accomplish its foreign policy objectives and its frustration as the rest of the world reacts suspiciously, even hostilely, to our ""good intentions."" Ungar (a senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment for World Peace) contends that the US has an unrealistic vision of its role in the world. Since the late 1940's we have considered ourselves ""the keeper of world peace"" and the supreme inspiration to all nations who want to evolve toward democracy and capitalist plentitude. This has led to inevitable disappointments partly because we overestimate our power, partly because we do not understand that other nations will pursue their diverse aims whether we like it or not. The other contributors set the US dilemma within its historical framework or analyze America's changing prestige and influence in the world of today. Robert Dallek (""The American Style of Foreign Policy"") traces the beginnings of the Cold War and, in the process, seems to blame Truman more than Stalin. Robert J. Donovan (""Nemesis: Truman and Johnson in the Coils of War in Asia"") analyzes the Korean conflict and the escalation of US militarism triggered thereby. Donald McHenry (former ambassador to the UN) details the retreat from colonialism and the rise of the Third World; he notes how the US has changed ""from a staunch supporter of nationalism and self-determination to a country with strained relations with developing countries."" All of the essays provide food for thought. Ali A. Mazrui (""Nationalism and the New States in Africa"") deplores ""the Americanization of the world"" and says that Islam and Marxism are both opposing this trend. Richard H. Ullmann (Princeton professor of international affairs) says that the rest of the world is beginning ""to equate the US with the Soviet Union"" in that ""both now appear equally unwilling to tolerate ideological diversity among their neighbors and equally inclined to use military power to enforce conformity."" A thought-provoking and chastening summary--whether or not one agrees with everything the various authors are saying.

Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 1985
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press