America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism by Anatol Lieven

By Anatol Lieven

During this arguable critique of yank political tradition and its ancient roots, Anatol Lieven contends that U.S. overseas coverage on the grounds that 11th of September has been formed via the particular personality of our nationalism. inside that nationalism, Lieven analyses very diverse traditions. One is the "American thesis," a civic nationalism in accordance with the democratic values of what has been referred to as the "American Creed." those values are held to be common, and an individual can develop into an American via adopting them. the opposite culture, the "American antithesis" is a populist and sometimes chauvinist nationalism, which has a tendency to determine the United States as a closed nationwide tradition and civilization threatened by way of a adversarial and barbarous outdoor world.

With the US wrong or right, Lieven examines how those antithetical impulses have performed out in U.S. responses to the terrorist assaults of Sept. 11, and within the nature of U.S. aid for Israel. This hard-hitting critique directs a focus at the American political soul and at the curious mix of chauvinism and idealism that has pushed the Bush administration.


"A interesting and incisive research of yankee nationalism."--London assessment of Books

"Lieven is relentlessly candid, and has produced a remarkably thought-provoking book.... Tightly written and largely researched.... A useful and likewise a troubling ebook on an issue that's either the most important and in lots of methods tremendous sensitive."--Brian Urquhart, ny overview of Books

"Cogently very important contribution to the discourse on nationwide id, the struggle on terror and the character of political liberalism."--Publishers Weekly

"America wrong or right exhibits a major highbrow expertise and ambition stretching its wings. particularly, Lieven takes on many of the great questions on American identification, ideology and exceptionalism in ways in which yield fantastic and provocative results.... At its admirable most sensible the United States wrong or right asks vital questions and makes readers evaluate a few of their very own so much loved convictions."--Walter Russell Mead, Washington submit publication World

"This scuffling with ebook digs underneath the trauma of 9/11 to discover the cultural assets of well known help for a blindly competitive and self-defeating international coverage. staggering and inspiring."--Stephen Holmes, Professor of Politics and legislation, long island collage college of Law

"Anatol Lieven is one in all today's such a lot insightful observers of U.S. overseas coverage. during this remarkable booklet he presents an research of the virtues and the hazards of yankee nationalism that's as provocative because it is perceptive." --Michael Lind, writer of the following American Nation

"A looking out exam of the deep-seated resources of yankee habit, Anatol Lieven's the United States wrong or right takes on what others evade--the subject matters that, even if for solid or in poor health, make us who we're and supply the engine of U. S. overseas coverage. In smelly, muscular prose, Lieven makes a powerful case that the neoconservatives have got a long way an excessive amount of credits for the process American coverage on account that 11th of September. His bankruptcy at the jointly harmful process U.S.-Israel kinfolk isn't just brave yet powerfully illuminating."--Andrew J. Bacevich, writer of the approaching the hot American Militarism

"The writer demonstrates that U.S. coverage in Afghanistan through the Nineteen Eighties was once a failed try to counter Soviet effect and to catch up on the loss in Vietnam skillfully unravels the origins of yank nationalism and illuminates its failings and virtues."--Karl Helicher, Foreword Magazine

"Anatol Lieven is among the such a lot concept frightening and insightful writers in Washington. This booklet is particularly a lot within the comparable tradition."--Senator Dick Clark, Director of The Congressional software, The Aspen Institute

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Sample text

Voters as expressed in opinion polls. Even declared Bush voters polled in September 2000 put foreign and security policy seventh on their list of priorities, with only 6 percent saying the candidate's stand on these issues mattered most to them. Top concerns were taxes and abortion, polling at 22 percent each. Gore voters polled did not mention defense as a priority at all. 29 As the New York Times commented on Bush's neglect of these issues: "But then, Bush may have decided that too much talk about foreign policy is bad business.

S. administration—indeed any self-respecting country in the world—would have had to respond by seeking to destroy the perpetrators. S. actions against al Qaeda and its allies elsewhere in the world. What the Bush administration did, however, was to instill in the American public a fear of much wider threats to the homeland from Iraq, Iran and North Korea—states which had no connection to al Qaeda. 38 But even the Bush administration had to remain within certain limits. The common paradigm of hostility to Muslims, and the inability to distinguish between even radically different Muslim states, traditions and ideologies made it possible to mix up Iraq and al Qaeda in the minds of a majority of Americans; but not even Bush would have gotten away with declaring that the terrorists on 9/11 were really Russians, or Chinese, or North Koreans.

It also has some extremely troubling antecedents. 47 Republican congressman and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich used to teach a course entitled "Renewing American Civilization" at conservative colleges in Georgia, the tapes of which were distributed to Republican activists. "48 And this is indeed the standard language which right-wing media stars use to their immense audiences concerning Democrats, liberal intellectuals and Europeans. The language of these figures is strongly reminiscent of what George Mosse has called the "rhetoric of anxiety" among nationalists before 1914, focused both on external threats to the nation and on moral, sexual and political subversion from within.

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