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Dangerous Nation by Robert Kagan
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Dangerous Nation

by Robert Kagan

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Showing 5 of 5
Excellent account of US history from the earliest colonial days to end of 19th century, with emphasis on foreign policy. Busts the isolationist myth from the start. Even Washington's non-involvement statement is shown as having specific and limited application. Tells the story largely through the eyes of other historians, seamlessly weaving in quotes with full references at the end of the book. Specially interesting the Civil War and the invasion of Cuba, the first humanitarian intervention ( but they'd been toying with the idea for generations). Comes over as all the more convincing for being written by a well-attested neocon. Says it's first vol of two but I've not been able to find the second; maybe still to be written. ( )
  vguy | Apr 24, 2017 |
16.20
  GregaP | May 15, 2013 |
A history of US foreign policy up to (but not including) the invasion
of Cuba. Very instructive, showing the US's long history of expansionism
and its tendency to impose its moral view on others by force. ( )
  cgodsil | Oct 17, 2009 |
The author definitely has a story to tell, and the discussions that the facts in the book open are endless, but book got "real long, real fast". Many paragraphs were too long. The book, which I found to be only volume 1 of a planned 2 volume set, could easily have been half the length. It was almost as if the author needed to add pages to make the research be more acceptable. For that reason, I give the book 2 1/2 stars. ( )
  ebethe | Mar 9, 2008 |
Good analysis of American foreign relations until the 20th century. Essentially an economic analysis, which is very convincing. The weakness is his dismissal of other motivations, particularly American exceptionalism. There are other times when he uses some questionable sources. His overall message is credible, but lacks nuance that could make it more comprehensive. ( )
  Scapegoats | Oct 20, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Book description
Kagan seems to say in §3 that: Americans were convinced that their civilization would push aside other ones (deemed decadent: Spanish Empire, native Americans; only Britain and France were considered as competition). As such they had no long-term plan, but did have long-term desires and knew it would unfold in their favour. To do otherwise was seen as wasting nature's gifts by leaving them in the hands of those who'd use them less. This thinking came from Locke. The future was then seen as one in which these 'others' either became Lockean too, or were pushed aside by Lockean man = American.
Haiku summary
Civilization
Has come to you - get on board!
Or under the bus.
(tomasdore)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375411054, Hardcover)

From the author of the immensely influential and best-selling Of Paradise and Power—a major reevaluation of America’s place in the world from the colonial era to the turn of the twentieth century.

Robert Kagan strips away the myth of America’s isolationist tradition and reveals a more complicated reality: that Americans have been increasing their global power and influence steadily for the past four centuries. Even from the time of the Puritans, he reveals, America was no shining “city up on a hill” but an engine of commercial and territorial expansion that drove Native Americans, as well as French, Spanish, Russian, and ultimately even British power, from the North American continent. Even before the birth of the nation, Americans believed they were destined for global leadership. Underlying their ambitions, Kagan argues, was a set of ideas and ideals about the world and human nature. He focuses on the Declaration of Independence as the document that firmly established the American conviction that the inalienable rights of all mankind transcended territorial borders and blood ties. American nationalism, he shows, was always internationalist at its core. He also makes a startling discovery: that the Civil War and the abolition of slavery—the fulfillment of the ideals of the Declaration—were the decisive turning point in the history of American foreign policy as well. Kagan's brilliant and comprehensive reexamination of early American foreign policy makes clear why America, from its very beginning, has been viewed worldwide not only as a wellspring of political, cultural, and social revolution, but as an ambitious and, at times, dangerous nation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:30 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A reevaluation of America's place in the world from the colonial era to the turn of the twentieth century. Foreign-relations expert Kagan strips away the myth of America's isolationist tradition and reveals a more complicated reality: that Americans have been increasing their global power and influence steadily for the past four centuries. Even from the time of the Puritans, he reveals, America was no shining "city upon a hill" but an engine of commercial and territorial expansion that drove Native Americans, as well as French, Spanish, Russian, and ultimately even British power, from the North American continent. Even before the birth of the nation, Americans believed they were destined for global leadership. Underlying their ambitions, Kagan argues, was a set of ideas and ideals about the world and human nature.--From publisher description.… (more)

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