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"For eight years, Nancy Soderberg served with distinction and creativity at the highest levels of American government. She is uniquely positioned to explain how the world works in this new era--and when ita s in danger of breaking down." --Dr. Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State Are there limits to American power? The neoconservative brain trust behind the Bush administrationa s foreign policy doesna t seem to recognize any. For the first time, we have people in power who believe that as the worlda s reigning superpower, America can do what it wants, when it wants, without regard to allies, costs, or results. But as events in Iraq are proving, America may be powerful, but it is not all--powerful. In practice, no country could ever be strong enough to solve problems like Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq through purely military means. In the future, Americaa s power will constantly be called up to help failed and failing states, and it is becoming clear that the complex mess of Somalia has replaced the proxy war of Vietnam as the model for what future military conflicts will look like: a failed state, a power vacuum, armed factions, and enough chaos to panic an entire region. Using vivid examples from her years in the White House and at the United Nations, Nancy Soderberg demonstrates why military force is not always effective, why allies and consensus--building are crucial, and how the current administrationa s faulty world view has adversely affected policies toward Israel, Iraq, North Korea, Haiti, Africa, and Al--Qaeda. Powerful, provocative, and persuasive, this timely book demonstrates that the future of Americaa s security depends on overcoming the superpower myth.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780471656838
ISBN-10: 0471656836
Format: Hardback
(237mm x 163mm x 36mm)
Pages: 416
Imprint: John Wiley & Sons Inc
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publish Date: 11-Mar-2005
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions


US Kirkus Review » Unilateral big-stick carrying may seem well and good to the "hegemons" in the Bush administration, writes erstwhile Clinton advisor Soderberg, but it hasn't made the world safer or better. In the tradition of Clinton and other Democratic leaders (John Kerry comes to mind), the author argues that the way for the White House to win friends and influence people abroad is to build strong international alliances and share the burden of promoting peace and order with our partners. The Bush administration had the chance to extend the Clinton approach in addressing recent events, she continues, and did so to some extent in Afghanistan. But it chose to do otherwise after the fall of the Taliban. The present administration's insistence on going to war in Iraq "will prove to be a test of the myth of the hegemon's view of America's role as a superpower," writes Soderberg, who contends that going it alone in the modern world leads to isolation and the accumulation of enemies. The Superpower Myth has some interesting moments, as when the author recounts the 1993 attack on American soldiers in Somalia so ably depicted in Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Down (1999). Soderberg describes a livid Bill Clinton demanding to know what had gone wrong, letting a few heads roll as a result, then taking charge of his own foreign policy. Lessons learned: Don't allow Pentagon types to go unquestioned, and don't allow the United Nations to lead American troops into battle. The second lesson has become an article of rhetorical faith among politicos, but the first has been lost on the onetime cold warriors of Ford and Reagan vintage who now serve Bush II. The point is well taken, but Soderberg's arguments swim in a sea of dreary detail; her narrative is less a book than an extended white paper, with all the requisite problem-describing, pundit-quoting, and policy-recommending. May set a think-tank denizen's pulse racing, but won't do much for general readers with a concern for America's role in the world. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Nancy Soderberg

NANCY SODERBERG was a senior foreign policy advisor to Bill Clinton from the 1992 campaign through the end of his second term. From 1993 to 1996, she was the third--ranking official at the National Security Council, and from 1997 to 2001, she was a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Soderberg is now a Vice President at the International Crisis Group, and she is regularly invited to comment on foreign policy issues for NPR, MSNBC, CNN, FOX News, the BBC, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.

Books By Author Nancy Soderberg

Prosperity Agenda by Nancy Soderberg

The Prosperity Agenda

Hardback, July 2008
Superpower Myth by Nancy Soderberg

The Superpower Myth

Paperback, June 2006