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The end of the Cold War led to a dramatic and fundamental change in the foreign policy of the United States. In Mission Failure, Michael Mandelbaum, one of America's leading foreign-policy thinkers, provides an original, provocative, and definitive account of the ambitious but deeply flawed post-Cold War efforts to promote American values and American institutions throughout the world.
In the decades before the Cold War ended the United States, like virtually every other country throughout history, used its military power to defend against threats to important American international interests or to the American homeland itself. When the Cold War concluded, however, it embarked on military interventions in places where American interests were not at stake. Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo had no strategic or economic importance for the United States, which intervened in all of them for purely humanitarian reasons. Each such intervention led to efforts to transform the local political and economic systems. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, launched in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, turned into similar missions of transformation. None of them achieved its aims.
Mission Failure describes and explains how such missions came to be central to America's post-Cold War foreign policy, even in relations with China and Russia in the early 1990s and in American diplomacy in the Middle East, and how they all failed. Mandelbaum shows how American efforts to bring peace, national unity, democracy, and free-market economies to poor, disorderly countries ran afoul of ethnic and sectarian loyalties and hatreds and foundered as well on the absence of the historical experiences and political habits, skills, and values that Western institutions require.
The history of American foreign policy in the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall is, he writes, "the story of good, sometimes noble, and thoroughly American intentions coming up against the deeply embedded, often harsh, and profoundly un-American realities of places far from the United States. In this encounter the realities prevailed."
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Michael Mandelbaum is the Christian A. Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy at The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the author or co-author of sixteen books, including The Ideas That Conquered the World, The Meaning of Sports, The Frugal Superpower, and, with Thomas L. Friedman, the New York Times Best Seller That Used To Be Us.
"[Mission Failure is] going to be one of the most talked about foreign policy books of the year...a must-read."
-- Thomas Friedman, The New York Times
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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Unbeknownst to just about all observers of international affairs, America s decision in 1991 to provide air defense to oppressed Kurds in Iraq after the Gulf War had ended ushered in an entirely new era in American foreign policy. Until that moment, the United States used military power to defend against threats (real and perceived) that its leaders thought would either weaken America s position in the world order or-in the worst case-threaten the homeland. For the first time ever, the United States militarily was now actively involved in states that represented no threat, and with missions that were largely humanitarian and socio-political. After establishing the Kurdish no-fly zone, the US in quick succession intervened in Somalia, Haiti, and Kosovo. Even after 9/11, it decided that it had a duty to not just invade Iraq, but reconstruct Iraqi society along Western lines. In Mission Failure, the eminent international relations scholar Michael Mandelbaum provides a sweeping interpretive history of American foreign policy in the post-Cold War era to show why this new approach was doomed to failure. America had always adhered to a mission-based foreign policy, but in the post-Cold War era it swung away from security concerns to a near-exclusive emphasis on implanting Western institutions wherever it could. Many good things happened in this era, including a broad expansion of democracy and strong growth in the global economy. But the U.S. never had either the capacity or the will to change societies that were dramatically different from our own. Over two decades later, we can see the wreckage: a broken Iraq a teetering Afghanistan, a China that laughs at our demands that they adopt a human rights regime, and a still-impoverished Haiti. Mandelbaum does not deny that American foreign policy has always had a strong ideological component. Instead, he argues that emphasizing that particular feature generally leads to mission failure. We are able to defend ourselves well and effectively project power, but we have very little capacity to change other societies. If nothing else, that is what the last quarter century has taught us. Seller Inventory # AOP9780190469474
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