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Publisher's Summary

When historians want to find out about the ideas that motivated American foreign policy in the early years of the twenty-first century, they would do well to read this book. Robert Kagan has formally set out a case for unilateralism on the part of the United States, as opposed to the multilateralism now characteristic of Europe. The U.S. is now quicker to use military force, less patient with diplomacy, and more willing to coerce or bribe other nations to achieve a desired result. By contrast, European nations are trying to work together, preserving the ties of diplomacy, cooperation, long-term problem solving, and international law, all of which are signs of weakness. Kagan believes that the United States can disregard a weak Europe, and have a free hand in pursuing its global interests.
©2003 Robert Kagan

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Quick and pithy listen

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Well Done

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    out of 5 stars
  • Zac
  • Provo, UT, USA
  • 02-06-04

Of Paridise and Power

Fantastic book well worth your time

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Theme and variations

Kaplan’s theme was repeated with multiple variations. There is a fair amount of material to consider and the theme deserves repeating in order to take hold. At first it might be dismissed or rejected, but upon deeper consideration bears significant merit. It changed my thinking about many aspects related to Europe. It also provides an answer to many questions that are puzzling about Europe and the US.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Thought-Provoking

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

So Good, So Short

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.