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America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power,…
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America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative…

by Francis Fukuyama

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I have read, or attempted to read, other books by Fukuyama. This one strikes me as much more focused, probably draws a lot from his lectures as a professor. If it's been a long time since you took a poly sci course, this brings you up to speed on the tenets and practice of neoconservatism, realpolitik, etc. and how they have altered in the wake of the Cold War.

Fukuyama used to consider himself a neoconservative. The invasion of Iraq seems to have been a turning point. One of those cases where he didn't stop being a neoconservative in his own eyes (like the Kissinger school, historically neoconservatives have been very skeptical about the chances for vast social engineering) but the many neoconservatives veered in another direction. Thus the title I see on some other editions: After the Neocons.

Even if you're not much interested in that vein, if you have any interest in how developing countries can make the transition of industrialization, there's a neat synopsis re how thinking has evolved since the early post-colonial era. How come massive infrastructure worked here but not there? The two tracks of economic development and political/institutional development. That part could be more wide ranging, imo, but at least there are references. ( )
  Periodista | Jan 11, 2013 |
Very interesting book. Provides insight into Bush administration agendas and activiities that are very different from other sources. Some interesting references, also. ( )
  jaygheiser | Jul 23, 2008 |
(Aug 2006) Fukuyama is most famous for declaring "the end of history" in the 90's, by which he meant that worldwide liberal democracy is an equilibrium state we are quickly approaching. He has served as a kind of independent public spokesman for the neoconservative movement.

I have to admit I got this book in the hope of seeing Fukuyama do a bit of back-stabbing, and I wasn't disappointed. He distances himself from Bush's theory of unilateral pre-emption (this is obscured as he tries to draw a fine distinction between 'pre-emptive' and 'preventive' war). He argues that the U.S. should focus on soft power. On the other hand, he continues to believe that U.S. power (applied wisely) is a vital positive influence in world affairs.

Were I more expert in this area I'm sure I would have found much to criticize, but the overall thesis is hard to argue with.

(Incidentally, I read this immediately after Chomsky's Imperial Ambitions, and it was quite a change of pace!)
1 vote uqbar | Sep 2, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300113994, Hardcover)

Francis Fukuyama’s criticism of the Iraq war put him at odds with neoconservative friends both within and outside the Bush administration. Here he explains how, in its decision to invade Iraq, the Bush administration failed in its stewardship of American foreign policy. First, the administration wrongly made preventive war the central tenet of its foreign policy. In addition, it badly misjudged the global reaction to its exercise of “benevolent hegemony.” And finally, it failed to appreciate the difficulties involved in large-scale social engineering, grossly underestimating the difficulties involved in establishing a successful democratic government in Iraq.
Fukuyama explores the contention by the Bush administration’s critics that it had a neoconservative agenda that dictated its foreign policy during the president’s first term.  Providing a fascinating history of the varied strands of neoconservative thought since the 1930s, Fukuyama argues that the movement’s legacy is a complex one that can be  interpreted quite differently than it was after the end of the Cold War. Analyzing the Bush administration’s miscalculations in responding to the post–September 11 challenge, Fukuyama proposes a new approach to American foreign policy through which such mistakes might be turned around—one in which the positive aspects of the neoconservative legacy are joined with a more realistic view of the way American power can be used around the world.   

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:53 -0400)

Francis Fukuyama's criticism of the Iraq war put him at odds with neoconservatives both within and outside the Bush administration. Here he explains how, in its decision to invade Iraq, the Bush administration failed in its stewardship of American foreign policy, in making preventive war the central tenet of its foreign policy, in misjudging the global reaction to its exercise of "benevolent hegemony," and in failing to appreciate the difficulties involved in large-scale social engineering. Providing a history of neoconservative thought since the 1930s, Fukuyama argues that the movement's legacy is a complex one that can be interpreted quite differently than it was after the end of the Cold War. He proposes a new approach to American foreign policy, in which the positive aspects of the neoconservative legacy are joined with a more realistic view of how to use American power around the world.--From publisher description.… (more)

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Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300113994, 0300122535

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