Book Review: Of Paradise and Power

This week’s book review takes a look at Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order by Robert Kagan.

This book is both short, to the point, and very readable. What Kagan does is analyze the different viewpoints of both the United States of America and of the European Union.

Robert Kagan, a leading scholar of American foreign policy, forces both sides to see themselves through the eyes of the other. Europe, he argues, has moved beyond power into a self-contained world of laws, rules, and negotiation, while America operates in a “Hobbesian” world where rules and laws are unreliable and military force is often necessary.

Tracing how this state of affairs came into being over the past fifty years and fearlessly exploring its ramifications for the future, Kagan reveals the shape of the new transatlantic relationship.

It is quite interesting, and even a little worrying, at how these allies have such different outlooks on the world. Whereas the European Union puts more faith in international law and diplomacy, the United States believes in more direct, often forceful approach.

Kagan not only explores the differences, but also the reasons behind them.

This book may be a bit dated, having originally been published back in 2003, however the analysis made then is still relevant. In fact, readers only have to look at the news of world events over the past few years and they will see how what is discussed in this book still applies.

This is a must have addition to any library of those interested in foreign affairs, international policy, and current events!

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