Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era

Hardcover | March 10, 2016

byMichael Mandelbaum

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"In Mission Failure, Mandelbaum argues that, in the past 25 years, U.S. foreign policy has undergone a significant shift. Historically, U.S. foreign policy was oriented primarily toward threat reduction, but the U.S. military has turned in recent years to missions that are largely humanitarian and socio-political. Mandelbaum argues that ideologically-driven foreign policy--that which seeks to reconstruct societies along Western lines--generally leads to mission failure"--"America's decision in 1991 to provide air defense to oppressed Kurds in Iraq after the Gulf War ushered in an entirely new era in American foreign policy. Until that moment, the United States had only used military power to defend against threats that its leaders thought would either weaken America's position in the world order or--in the worst case--threaten the homeland. But with this offer to the Kurds, the United States for the first time ever was now militarily involved in states that represented no threat, and with missions that were largely humanitarian and socio-political. After establishing the Kurdish no-fly zone, the US in quick succession intervened in Somalia, Haiti, and Kosovo. Even after 9/11, it decided that it had a duty to not just invade Iraq, but reconstruct Iraqi society along Western lines. In Mission Failure, the eminent scholar Michael Mandelbaum provides a comprehensive history of post-Cold War American foreign policy to show why this new approach was doomed to failure. Mandelbaum argues that all major foreign policy initiatives, both before and after September 11, 2001, had a basic feature in common: all were missions to transform other countries along Western lines, and all failed. This shift in policy did result in several positive effects, including a broad expansion of democracy and strong growth in the global economy. However, the U.S. had neither the capacity nor the will to change societies that were dramatically different from our own. Over two decades later, we can see the wreckage: a broken Iraq, a teetering Afghanistan, and a still-impoverished Haiti. Mandelbaum does not deny that American foreign policy has always had a strong ideological component. Instead, he argues that focusing solely on ideology at the expense of realism generally leads to mission failure"--

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From the Publisher

"In Mission Failure, Mandelbaum argues that, in the past 25 years, U.S. foreign policy has undergone a significant shift. Historically, U.S. foreign policy was oriented primarily toward threat reduction, but the U.S. military has turned in recent years to missions that are largely humanitarian and socio-political. Mandelbaum argues tha...

Michael Mandelbaum is the Christian A. Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and director of the Project on East-West Relations for the Council on Foreign Relations. Mandelbaum has taught at Harvard University, Columbia University, and the U...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:480 pages, 9.25 × 6.1 × 0.01 inPublished:March 10, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190469471

ISBN - 13:9780190469474

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