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In the wake of the Cold War, as the international community struggles to accommodate change, the author of this study directs our attention to the classic theorists, Thucydides, Rousseau, Locke and others.He explores their enduring theories, and recommends that they be applied to today's fundamental international dilemmas. Although no one school has all the answers, this analysis maintains that history has provided the theoretical tools to meet modern challenges, and that great political minds of the past can still guide modern politicians through the confusion of current events.
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A majestic survey of the West's principal schools of sociopolitical thought. In making an (at least tacit) appeal for theoretic pluralism, Princeton political scientist Doyle focuses on three intellectual traditions: realism, liberalism, and socialism. While doing so, he provides perceptive perspectives on the worldviews of important thinkers down through the ages. To probe the canons of realism, for example, the author assesses Thucydides and a trio of latter-day counterparts (Hobbes, Machiavelli, Rousseau). Likewise, he draws on Bentham, Kant, Locke, Schumpeter, and Smith (as in Adam) to illustrate the breadth and depth of international liberalism. Last but not least, Doyle examines socialism through the minds of Lenin and Marx. He reviews the way in which each theory enjoys a comparative advantage in explaining historic events and foreign policies, e.g., the tendency of liberal states to engage in aggression against less enlightened or more authoritarian regimes. The author goes on to appraise what direction the three constructs might offer on some of the world's knottier problems, inter alia, the issue of interventions in the name of human rights as well as other putatively just causes, and whether economic aid to less developed countries is an investment in security for industrial powers or an effort to promote democratic institutions while alleviating poverty. Doyle also considers the future of geopolitics, concluding that even post-millennial humanity will have a divided soul that owes allegiance to the competing claims of many constituencies, of which government is but one. Even so, he argues, the past teaches that enemies can be contained, peace extended, and (if need be) revolutions launched. A world-class yet accessible discourse on the abiding power of political ideas that could furnish reliable guidance to the electorates and leaders of almost any nation on earth. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
If you want your political theory served up in big slabs of detail, analysis, and interpretation, then Doyle's latest work is for you. Doyle, who teaches politics and international affairs at Princeton, has published a number of significant books (e.g., UN Peacekeeping in Cambodia, Lynne Rienner, 1995). His latest is not easy reading?in fact, it's one of the densest books this reviewer has encountered in a while?but that is not completely Doyle's fault. He is grappling with presenting a sophisticated explication of complex thought on how states organize and manage themselves within the international community. Doyle divides his philosophies into three camps?Realism, Liberalism, and Socialism?and then proceeds to contrast and compare the writings of the major proponents of each. Thus, the reader is exposed in turn to Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, Bentham, Kant, Marx, and Lenin, to name only the most significant figures who fall under Doyle's penetrating gaze. Despite the challenges this book will present to uninformed readers, it is an important study that belongs in any collection supporting research in political theory or international relations.?Edward Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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