©2003 Robert Kagan; (P)Books on Tape, Inc.; Published in Arrangement with Random House Audio Publishing Group, A Division of Random House, Inc.
"The most controversial big-think essay of the season." (U.S. News and World Report)
"This book deserves to be read by all conscientious citizens." (Booklist)
This is an excellent synopsis of the high-level differences between modern European and American foreign policy. Kagan deftly weaves his premise that America and Europe are diverging in their interests, and not necessarily to their mutual detriment. While written from an American (and conservative) perspective, I found it to be fairly well unbiased and non-partisan for all ideologues to enjoy. Kagan also does an excellent job of making his case in a short space, where lesser authors would take much longer.
As I listened, throuroghly enjoying Kagan's insights, thoughts and at times, wit, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop -- the political statement that would show a bias or would ruin an otherwise very good analysis of current trans-atlantic politics. It never came. It is a fully enjoyable evaluation of the past and potential future. I highly recommend it.
Much has been made of Kagan's neo-con credentials and some of that comes through in this book. But "Paradise and Power" is a thought-provoking read for Americans and Europeans of all political stripes. It helps to put some notions --chiefly about the divergence between US and European strategic visions-- into place. In the final pages, Kagan does offer some apologetics for right-wing American policies that might grate on more progressive sensibilities, but overall the book is unique and important and well worth a read.
Like Mr. Kagan's other excellent works, this one is very brief. I could have listened for days as he explored his stimulating thesis on the differences between American and European worldviews. His politics are certainly more liberal than mine, but his work is of such excellence and intellectual honesty that even a partisan conservative like me can learn a lot by listening to it.
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