The Hell of Good Intentions

America's Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy by Stephen M. Walt

  • Published: Sep 07, 2020

From the New York Timesbestselling author Stephen M. Walt, The Hell of Good Intentions dissects the faults and foibles of recent American foreign policyexplaining why it has been plagued by disasters like the "forever wars" in Iraq and Afghanistan... read more

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Details of The Hell of Good Intentions

Exact title of the book
The Hell of Good Intentions
Book author
Stephen M. Walt
ISBN
9780374712464
Publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published
Oct 16, 2018
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
File size (in PDF)
3600 kB

Some brief overview of book

From the New York Timesbestselling author Stephen M. Walt, The Hell of Good Intentions dissects the faults and foibles of recent American foreign policyexplaining why it has been plagued by disasters like the "forever wars" in Iraq and Afghanistan and outlining what can be done to fix it. In 1992, the United States stood at the pinnacle of world power and Americans were confident that a new era of peace and prosperity was at hand.

Twenty-five years later, those hopes have been dashed. Relations with Russia and China have soured, the European Union is wobbling, nationalism and populism are on the rise, and the United States is stuck in costly and pointless wars that have squandered trillions of dollars and undermined its influence around the world. The root of this dismal record, Walt argues, is the American foreign policy establishments stubborn commitment to a strategy of "liberal hegemony." Since the end of the Cold War, Republicans and Democrats alike have tried to use U.

S. power to spread democracy, open markets, and other liberal values into every nook and cranny of the planet. This strategy was doomed to fail, but its proponents in the foreign policy elite were never held accountable and kept repeating the same mistakes. Donald Trump won the presidency promising to end the misguided policies of the foreign policy "Blob" and to pursue a wiser approach.

But his erratic and impulsive style of governing, combined with a deeply flawed understanding of world politics, are making a bad situation worse. The best alternative, Walt argues, is a return to the realist strategy of "offshore balancing," which eschews regime change, nation-building, and other forms of global social engineering. The American people would surely welcome a more restrained foreign policy, one that allowed greater attention to problems here at home.

This long-overdue shift will require abandoning the futile quest for liberal hegemony and building a foreign policy establishment with a more realistic view of American power. Clear-eyed, candid, and elegantly written, Stephen M. Walts The Hell of Good Intentions offers both a compelling diagnosis of Americas recent foreign policy follies and a proven formula for renewed success.

About author

M. Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University. He is the author of The Origins of Alliances; Revolution and War; Taming American Power The Global Response to U.

S. Primacy; and, with John J. Mearsheimer, The Israel Lobby and U.

S. Foreign Policy. He writes frequently for Foreign Policy.

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