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Paradise and Power America Versus Europe in the Twenty First Century
ISBN 1843541777 / 9781843541776 / 1-84354-177-7Find This Book
From the beginning of George W Bush's presidency there has been a profound unease in relations between Europe and the United States. Robert Kagan's Paradise & Power: America and Europe in the New World Order offers a diagnosis and prognosis of the current malaise, which recent events such as Bush's "axis of evil" speech and UN divisions over Iraq have made even worse. Kagan argues that the 20th century has seen an inversion of history, whereby the once great, imperial, war-mongering powers of the 19th century (Britain, France and Germany) have become doves and multi-lateralists and the precocious and defenceless small power of the earlier era (America) has become a military and economic giant, hawkish and resolute in its defence of global security.
Europe (or more specifically France and Germany), Kagan argues, have learned that nation-states must live together or die, while America has come to rely on the blunt diplomacy of the pre-emptive strike. Europeans resent America for its bully-boy tactics; Americans get fed up with whining Europeans who would not enjoy their freedom to moan but for the post-1945 umbrella of NATO security. Kagan is wise and perceptive throughout his long essay and pleads reasonably that the US and the EU must develop a common policy that recognises their historical and strategic differences. He is a realist and there is little of the triumphalism to be found in similar recent works by American foreign policy experts such as Francis Fukuyama. Kagan is good on the military and diplomatic aspects of the question, but brushes over the resentments fuelled by America's MacDonaldisation of European culture. --Miles Taylor [via]