As the year 2001 unfolded, the United States stood at the apex of global power, possessing unrivalled military capabilities, a vibrant economy, and--most of all--great self-confidence about its security. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 shattered America's prevailing illusions of invulnerability, prompting the world's sole superpower to embark on a revolutionary national strategy that led to a preventive war against Iraq. Will the United States be safer and more secure as a result? This book shows why America's new assertively unilateral foreign policy will actually create perils for the next generation of Americans.
Written by two seasoned scholars, After Iraq conducts a sweeping survey of America's present position in the global arena and identifies the opportunities and risks that the United States will likely face once the war in Iraq draws to a close. Kegley and Raymond provide an insightful overview of the U.S. response to the unconventional threats posed by global terrorism as well as a searching assessment of the challenges created by the rise of China and other emerging competitors. They argue that the current course of American foreign policy will harm the country by setting dangerous precedents that undermine the moral and legal restraints--which were built painstakingly over the past century--on when and how states may use force. Drawing upon a rich array of historical parallels and empirical evidence, the book illuminates instances in which previous great powers embarked on similar self-defeating strategies. Like the U.S. today, these states once stood at the pinnacle of world power. But due to misperceptions about what they could accomplish with unilateral, preventive uses of military force, they made short-run decisions that undermined their long-term strategic interests. With Americans facing questions about how to combat global terrorism, how to diffuse the nuclear threats of Iran and North Korea, how to adjust to the growing power of China and India, and how to repair relations with traditional allies, After Iraq charts a path for restoring America's reputation and leadership in the world to strengthen both U.S. and international security in the turbulent decades ahead.