"America keeps a fine house," Anatol Lieven writes, "but in its cellar there lives a demon, whose name is nationalism."
In this controversial critique of America's role in the world, Lieven contends that U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 has been shaped by the special character of our national identity, which embraces two contradictory features. One, "The American Creed," is a civic nationalism which espouses liberty, democracy, and the rule of law. It is our greatest legacy to the world. But our almost religious belief in the "Creed" creates a tendency toward a dangerously "messianic" element in American nationalism, the desire to extend American values and American democracy to the whole world, irrespective of the needs and desires of others. The other feature, populist (or what is sometimes called "Jacksonian") nationalism, has its roots in an aggrieved, embittered, and defensive White America, centered largely in the American South. Where the "Creed" is optimistic and triumphalist, Jacksonian nationalism is fed by a profound pessimism and a sense of personal, social, religious, and sectional defeat. Lieven examines how these two antithetical impulses have played out in recent US policy, especially in the Middle East and in the nature of U.S. support for Israel. He suggests that in this region, the uneasy combination of policies based on two contradictory traditions have gravely undermined U.S. credibility and complicated the war against terrorism.
It has never been more vital that Americans understand our national character. This hard-hitting critique directs a spotlight on the American political soul and on the curious mixture of chauvinism and idealism that has driven the Bush administration.
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Anatol Lieven is a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, D.C. A journalist, writer, and historian, he is a Contributing Correspondent for the Washington Quarterly and has written for The Economist, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, and other publications. He is the author of Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power and The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Path to Independence, which was a New York Times Notable Book for 1993.
"Lieven is relentlessly candid, and has produced a remarkably thought-provoking book.... Tightly written and extensively researched.... A valuable and also a troubling book on a subject that is both crucial and in many ways extremely sensitive."--Brian Urquhart, New York Review of Books
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Book Description Harper Collins 2005-01-01, 2005. Softcover. Book Condition: New. Softcover. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007164615B
Book Description OxfordUnivPr,2005, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0007164610
Book Description 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. A controversial and timely exploration of the dark side of American idealism - and its potentially dangerous consequences for the world. In this thoughtful critique of America.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 320 pages. 0.180. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007164615