The Paradox of American Power Why the World's Only Superpower Can't Go It Alone

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2002-03-07
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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What role should America play in the world? What key challenges face usin the century to come, and how should we define our national interests? Thesequestions have been given electrifying new significance in the wake of theterrorist attack of September 11, 2001.Not since Rome has any nation had so much economic, cultural, and militarypower, but that power is still not enough to solve global problems liketerrorism, environmental degradation, and the proliferation of weapons of massdestruction without involving other nations. In The Paradox of American Power,Joseph S. Nye, Jr. focuses on the rise of these and other new challenges andexplains clearly why America must adopt a more cooperative engagement with therest of the world.The threat of terrorism, Nye argues, is merely the most alarming exampleof why we must engage in constructive relations with other nations weak andstrong. Now more than ever, as technology spreads and non-governmentalorganizations ranging from transnational corporations to terrorists increasetheir power, American leadership must reorient itself toward the globalcommunity. Further, for many key issues--from international financial stabilityto drug smuggling and global climate change to terrorism--military power alonecannot ensure success and at times may undermine rather than enhance ourobjectives. Nye argues convincingly that in the coming century the U.S. willrely less on our military might and more on the power that derives from theappeal of our culture, values and institutions, what he calls our "soft power."But this soft power cannot flourish in a climate in which the U.S. is viewed asselfish and motivated only by self-interest.The Paradox of American Power contains the essential roadmap formaintaining America's power and reducing its vulnerability in the years to come.Sure to be controversial, it's a must read for anyone wishing to understand thecomplicated world in which we suddenly find ourselves.

Author Biography

Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, was Chairman of the National Intelligence Council and an Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration. A frequent contributor to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, he is the author several books, including Governance in a Globalizing World and Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power.

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Acknowledgments xvii
The American Colossus
The Information Revolution
The Home Front
Redefining the National Interest
Notes 173(35)
Index 208

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