The central thesis of this daring and vigorous appraisal of America's foreign policy is that ""neither the pragmatist nor the ideologue is prepared to deal with life as it is."" Individuals, explains Molnar, automatically assume a universal moral imperative (for peace) that does not apply to nations in reality. The dilemma of our doctrines, he insists, arises from the duality of America's image of herself; are we a young republic, idealistic and revolutionary, or a stable world-leader with vast involvements and precise interests that should make us act conservatively? With an uncanny precision, be slices through the verbal shroud under which realpolitik has come to mean accommodation to communism, and dozens of other terms and concepts have changed definition like so many chameleons. Denouncing the majority of political scientists, theorists, writers and philosophers for operating on the premise of what he calls ""the logic of defeat"", Molnar suggests that the ""limit-situation"" of the Existentialists are the most significant causes of the paralysis of the nation's diplomacy. He is one of the few writers courageous enough to take an unambiguous position when speaking of the methodological and substantive errors made in the way most Americans regard their country's membership in the United Nations. He makes some startling comments on the cold war, the future of Germany, and several other specific issues of the times. Like a surgeon choosing fixtures for a new operating room, Molnar demands a higher power of light bulb under which to scrutinize the empty abstractions, careless goals, and unknown of the present crisis as he sees it.