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The Paradox of American Power: Why the World's Only Superpower Can't Go It… (2002)

by Joseph S. Nye

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316162,104 (3.43)None
Not since the Roman Empire has any nation had as much economic, cultural, and military power as the United States does today. Yet, as has become all too evident through the terrorist attacks of September 11th and the impending threat of the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran, that power is not enough to solve global problems--like terrorism, environmental degradation, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction--without involving other nations. Here Joseph S. Nye, Jr. focuses on the rise of these and other new challenges and explains clearly why America must adopt a more cooperative engagement with the rest of the world.… (more)
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Nye’s treatise on the declining influence of today’s hegemony is quite timely given the contentious political landscape of our times. Indeed, The Paradox of American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go it Alone attempts to contextualise the consequences of the Bush Administration’s unilateralist policies and reminds the reader the subtle benefits of soft power. This book reminds me of former Canadian foreign minister, Lloyd Axworthy’s venture into the same fray a couple of years ago. Admittedly, I enjoyed the latter’s thoughts to a greater degree, but that can be attributed to my nationalist bias and my peculiar interests in the policies and ideals that Axworthy espouses. Overall, Nye’s treatise is eloquent as well as informative, yet the book contains some noticeable typos that distracted this reader from the argument at hand.

Nonetheless, Nye presents his hypothesis in a comprehensive fashion which serves the reader (and non-academics) to warm up to his thoughts and hopefully, to partake the author’s poignant advice. Overall, Nye believes that the U.S. should be mindful of emerging economic scions and to employ isolationist and unilateralist policies only as a last-chance measure. However, there are times when his point of view becomes almost simplistic, particularly when the author attempts to justify the Bush Administration’s unequivical denouncement of the Kyoto Protocol. All in all, Nye’s eloquence and pertinent framework would be well-placed to be the catalyst for many fiery political debates and discussions. ( )
1 vote Sarine | Apr 11, 2009 |
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Not since the Roman Empire has any nation had as much economic, cultural, and military power as the United States does today. Yet, as has become all too evident through the terrorist attacks of September 11th and the impending threat of the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran, that power is not enough to solve global problems--like terrorism, environmental degradation, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction--without involving other nations. Here Joseph S. Nye, Jr. focuses on the rise of these and other new challenges and explains clearly why America must adopt a more cooperative engagement with the rest of the world.

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