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From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America's World Role

Zakaria, Fareed

Editore: Princeton University Press, 1999
ISBN 10: 0691010358 / ISBN 13: 9780691010359
Nuovi / Soft cover / Quantità: 1
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Titolo: From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of...

Casa editrice: Princeton University Press

Data di pubblicazione: 1999

Legatura: Soft cover

Condizione libro: New


Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Beautifully conceived; dazzlingly executed: Zakaria's theoretical penetration is matched by his mastery of the process of America's coming of age as a great power. The book casts a bright light on the past and the future--and the future of international politics. Codice inventario libreria ABE_book_new_0691010358

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What turns rich nations into great powers? How do wealthy countries begin extending their influence abroad? These questions are vital to understanding one of the most important sources of instability in international politics: the emergence of a new power. In From Wealth to Power, Fareed Zakaria seeks to answer these questions by examining the most puzzling case of a rising power in modern history--that of the United States.

If rich nations routinely become great powers, Zakaria asks, then how do we explain the strange inactivity of the United States in the late nineteenth century? By 1885, the U.S. was the richest country in the world. And yet, by all military, political, and diplomatic measures, it was a minor power. To explain this discrepancy, Zakaria considers a wide variety of cases between 1865 and 1908 when the U.S. considered expanding its influence in such diverse places as Canada, the Dominican Republic, and Iceland. Consistent with the realist theory of international relations, he argues that the President and his administration tried to increase the country's political influence abroad when they saw an increase in the nation's relative economic power. But they frequently had to curtail their plans for expansion, he shows, because they lacked a strong central government that could harness that economic power for the purposes of foreign policy. America was an unusual power--a strong nation with a weak state. It was not until late in the century, when power shifted from states to the federal government and from the legislative to the executive branch, that leaders in Washington could mobilize the nation's resources for international influence.

Zakaria's exploration of this tension between national power and state structure will change how we view the emergence of new powers and deepen our understanding of America's exceptional history.

Recensione: Fareed Zakaria, the managing editor of Foreign Affairs, tries to understand why the United States decided in 1898 that it was time to start acting like a world power. His answer lies in the transference of the government's main power from Congress, which was concerned primarily with the needs of its individual constituencies, to a presidency occupied by dynamic leaders such as Benjamin Harrison and Theodore Roosevelt, who once declared that "when the interests of the American people demanded that a certain act should be done, and I had the power to do it, I did it unless it was specifically prohibited by law."

The lessons Zakaria learns from the example of America have useful applications to contemporary political science; one might consider, for example, the ways in which a politically unified Germany or a economically powerful Japan differs from the 19th-century America that was politically and economically strong; the presence of both qualities would appear to be required for a nation to flex its muscles on the international scene. Although it never quite completely answers the "why," From Wealth to Power does extremely well on the "how" and the even more important "so?"

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