Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era

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9780190469474: Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era
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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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About the Author:


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.

Review:


"[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


"Specialists and general readers alike will appreciate his sure historical grasp, evenhanded assignment of fault, careful assessment of shifting domestic political considerations, and understanding of the foreign cultural barriers that so frustrated American intentions. A skilled, persuasive appraisal of a unique moment in our foreign policy history."
-- Kirkus Reviews (starred)


"Mission Failure is a commanding, synoptic review of US foreign policy choices and their outcomes (often unintended and unhappy) from 1993 to 2014. It is beautifully written and has that rarity in modern, policy-relevant books: deep knowledge of history, combined with the granular understanding of US policymaking-qualities that longtime readers of Mandelbaum's work have come to expect and appreciate."
-- Charles Lipson, University of Chicago, and author of Reliable Partners: How Democracies Have Made a Separate Peace


"Mission Failure is a startlingly original, creative new book-essentially an epitaph for America's foreign policy in the quarter-century since the end of the Cold War. This is a trenchant critique of the faltering efforts by both Republican and Democratic presidents to refashion governments and societies around the world, from Somalia and Bosnia to China, Iraq and Libya."
-- James Mann, author of Rise of the Vulcans and The Obamians


"This book, from one of the major analysts of American foreign policy, is well-written, wide in scope, and insightful and penetrating in its vivid dissection of what might call the Twenty Years Disaster. It is a provocative must-read that will be of interest not only to specialists, but to the general public in whose name the cascading foreign policy failure has been carried out." - John Mueller, author of Chasing Ghosts: The Policing of Terrorism


"A superbly written, masterful, and deeply provocative work by Michael Mandelbaum. He makes a compelling argument in opposition to what he terms a values-based rather than interest and security-based foreign policy and to the waste of America's foreign policy capital, resources and credibility in fruitless efforts to transform foreign societies." - Robert J. Lieber, Georgetown University, author of Retreat and Its Consequences: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Problem of World Order


"Mission Failure explains how nation-building came to be the chief focus of US foreign policy in the past generation, and unblinkingly underlines how large a failure that has been. Michael Mandelbaum is one of the country's most acute analysts of US foreign policy, and his book should be required reading for policymakers today." - Francis Fukuyama, Stanford University, and author of The End of History and the Last Man


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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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