Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order

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9781400034185: Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order

From Robert Kagan, a leading scholar of American foreign policy, comes an insightful analysis of the state of European and American foreign relations. At a time when relations between the United States and Europe are at their lowest ebb since World War II, this brief but cogent book is essential reading. Kagan forces both sides to see themselves through the eyes of the other. Europe, he argues, has moved beyond power into a self-contained world of laws, rules, and negotiation, while America operates in a “Hobbesian” world where rules and laws are unreliable and military force is often necessary.

Tracing how this state of affairs came into being over the past fifty years and fearlessly exploring its ramifications for the future, Kagan reveals the shape of the new transatlantic relationship. The result is a book that promises to be as enduringly influential as Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.

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Review:

From its opening-line salvo—"It is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world, or even that they occupy the same world"—Of Paradise and Power announces a new phase in the relationship between the United States and Europe. Robert Kagan begins this illuminating essay by laying out the general differences as he sees them: the U.S. is quicker to use military force, less patient with diplomacy, and more willing to coerce (or bribe) other nations in order to get a desired result. Europe, on the other hand, places greater emphasis on diplomacy, takes a much longer view of history and problem solving, and has greater faith in international law and cooperation. Kagan does not view these differences as the result of innate national character, but as a time-honored historical reality--the U.S. is merely behaving like the powerful nation it is, just as the great European nations once did when they ruled the world. Now, Europe must act multilaterally because it has no choice. The "UN Security Council is a substitute for the power they lack," he writes.

Kagan also emphasizes the inherent ironies present in the relationship. European nations have enjoyed an "American security guarantee" for nearly 60 years, allowing them to cut back on defense spending while criticizing the U.S. for not doing the same. Yet Europe relies upon the U.S. for protection. This has led America and Europe to view the same threats much differently, as evidenced by the split over how to deal with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Kagan points out that some European leaders are more afraid of how the U.S. will wield its power in the Middle East than they are of the thought of Hussein or other "rogue state" leaders acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

Kagan’s brevity is as impressive as it is appreciated; most writers would have required thrice as many pages to get to their point. At any length, the book is nothing short of brilliant. This is essential reading for those seeking to understand the post-Cold War world. --Shawn Carkonen

From the Back Cover:

“No academic piece in this realm has generated quite as much heat and interest since Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ article in 1993 or Francis Fukuyama’s ‘End of History’ in 1989.”
—Francois Heisbourg, New York Times

“The most controversial big-think essay of the season.”
—Jay Tolson, U.S. News + World Report

“Come the hour, come the book . . . Kagan’s book is neither a diatribe nor a polemic. It is a penetrating effort to shed some light on the confusion in transatlantic affairs and to understand why Americans and Europeans are so frequently talking past each other . . . As an effort to crystallise an important moment in history and to provoke a fuller comprehension of contemporary international relations, Of Paradise and Power ranks with Frank Fukuyama’s The End of History and Sam Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations.”
—Raymond Seitz, The Times (London)

“Cogent and important...This book deserves to be read by all conscientious citizens.”
Booklist

“One of America’s finest commentators on issues of foreign policy. He writes elegantly, has an excellent command of history and consistently demonstrates superior intelligence and insight. He ranks . . . among analysts whose work must be read. And the appearance of this book could not have been more timely, as ‘old Europe’ and the United States diverge.”
—Warren I. Cohen, Los Angeles Times

“His essay [has] the foreign policy establishment humming from Washington to Tokyo...It is being called the new ‘X’ article (George F. Kennan, using the pseudonym ‘X’ in the July 1947 issue of Foreign Affairs, conceptualized the Cold War policy of containment).”
—Lorraine Adams, The Washington Post

“Bob Kagan's provocative and thoughtful essay is required reading for everyone concerned about the future of trans-Atlantic relations. Ever controversial, Kagan's critical contribution to understanding American and European views of world order will be discussed and debated for years to come. Although not everyone will agree with Kagan's analysis, readers will benefit from its clarity, insight, and historical force.”
–Senator John McCain

“For its brilliant juxtaposition of strategy and philosophy, of the realities of power and the ethics of power, of the American ideal of justice and the European ideal of peace, Robert Kagan’s small book is a big book. Nothing like this has been written since the death of Raymond Aron.”
—Leon Wieseltier

“Though in the past we have often disagreed, I consider this essay one of those seminal treatises without which any discussion of European-American relations would be incomplete and which will shape that discussion for years to come.”
—Dr. Henry Kissinger

“No academic piece in this realm has generated quite as much heat and interest since Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ article in 1993 or Francis Fukuyama’s ‘End of History’ in 1989.”
—François Heisbourg, New York Times

“Brilliant.”
—Francis Fukuyama

“This refreshing essay results from careful thought combined with critical information. Read it and you will think more deeply about this important arena.”
—George P. Schultz
Distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University
U.S. Secretary of State from 1982-1989.

“Anyone looking for an intellectual primer to explain the geopolitical forces at work in the Iraqi conflict should order a copy of Robert Kagan’s book, Of Paradise and Power.”
—Dominic Lawson, Sunday Telegraph

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Book Description Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Vintage Books ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. From Robert Kagan, a leading scholar of American foreign policy, comes an insightful analysis of the state of European and American foreign relations.At a time when relations between the United States and Europe are at their lowest ebb since World War II, this brief but cogent book is essential reading. Kagan forces both sides to see themselves through the eyes of the other. Europe, he argues, has moved beyond power into a self-contained world of laws, rules, and negotiation, while America operates in a Hobbesian world where rules and laws are unreliable and military force is often necessary. Tracing how this state of affairs came into being over the past fifty years and fearlessly exploring its ramifications for the future, Kagan reveals the shape of the new transatlantic relationship. The result is a book that promises to be as enduringly influential as Samuel Huntington s The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781400034185

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