Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pg. 69: Ian Shapiro's "Containment"

Today's feature at the Page 69 Test: Ian Shapiro's Containment: Rebuilding a Strategy against Global Terror.

About the book, from the Princeton University Press website:

In this powerfully argued book, Ian Shapiro shows that the idea of containment offers the best hope for protecting Americans and their democracy into the future. His bold vision for American security in the post-September 11 world is reminiscent of George Kennan's historic "Long Telegram," in which the containment strategy that won the Cold War was first developed.

The Bush Doctrine of preemptive war and unilateral action has been marked by incompetence -- missed opportunities to capture Osama bin Laden, failures of postwar planning for Iraq, and lack of an exit strategy. But Shapiro contends that the problems run deeper. He explains how the Bush Doctrine departs from the best traditions of American national-security policy and accepted international norms, and renders Americans and democratic values less safe. He debunks the belief that containment is obsolete. Terror networks might be elusive, but the enabling states that make them dangerous can be contained. Shapiro defends containment against charges of appeasement, arguing that force against a direct threat will be needed. He outlines new approaches to intelligence, finance, allies, diplomacy, and international institutions. He explains why containment is the best alternative to a misguided agenda that naively assumes democratic regime change is possible from the barrel of an American gun.

President Bush has defined the War on Terror as the decisive ideological struggle of our time. Shapiro shows what a self-defeating mistake that is. He sets out a viable alternative that offers real security to Americans, reclaims America's international stature, and promotes democracy around the world.

Among the reviews and endorsements for Containment:

"Containment is both a forceful critique of current foreign policy and a prescriptive response to it. . . . Shapiro offers a series of complicated and detailed strategies to confront global terror, including greater investment in human intelligence to methodically track and stop weapons proliferation, and to his credit, he avoids oversimplification and instead offers thorough analyses of individual situations.... If only such a clear and thorough analysis existed before the last election."
--Joshua J. Kearney, The Harvard Crimson

"The Bush administration's post-9/11 national security strategy has come in for tremendous criticism, but opponents have had difficulty articulating a coherent alternative. Here is one. Shapiro ... offers a brilliant sketch of a new strategic vision that draws on Cold War-era containment ideas."
--G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs

"It's to be hoped that Shapiro is not done -- his ideas here deserve extended discussion. And as the post-Bush world starts to take form, there will be a continued need for creative thinking and the rediscovery of intellectual resources we have unwisely abandoned."
--Aziz Huq, American Prospect

"This book succeeds in showing that there are sound alternatives to the dominant unilateralist approach for dealing with the national security and foreign policy challenges confronted by the United States. Bravo for Professor Shapiro!"
--Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico, Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization
Ian Shapiro is Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University, where he also serves as Henry R. Luce Director of the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. He has written widely and influentially on democracy, justice, and the methods of social inquiry. With Containment, his most recent books are The Flight From Reality in the Human Sciences, and Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Fight Over Taxing Inherited Wealth (with Michael Graetz).

Read more about Containment at the Princeton University Press website, including Chapter One.

The Page 69 Test: Containment.

--Marshal Zeringue