America Right or Wrong : An Anatomy of American Nationalism: An Anatomy of American Nationalism

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"America keeps a fine house," Anatol Lieven writes, "but in its cellar there lives a demon, whose name is nationalism." In this controversial critique of America's role in the world, Lieven contends that U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 has been shaped by the special character of our national identity, which embraces two contradictory features. One, "The American Creed," is a civic nationalism which espouses liberty, democracy, and the rule of law. It is our greatest legacy to the world. But our almost religious belief in the "Creed" creates a tendency toward a dangerously "messianic" element in American nationalism, the desire to extend American values and American democracy to the whole world, irrespective of the needs and desires of others. The other feature, populist (or what is sometimes called "Jacksonian") nationalism, has its roots in an aggrieved, embittered, and defensive White America, centered largely in the American South. Where the "Creed" is optimistic and triumphalist, Jacksonian nationalism is fed by a profound pessimism and a sense of personal, social, religious, and sectional defeat. Lieven examines how these two antithetical impulses have played out in recent US policy, especially in the Middle East and in the nature of U.S. support for Israel. He suggests that in this region, the uneasy combination of policies based on two contradictory traditions have gravely undermined U.S. credibility and complicated the war against terrorism. It has never been more vital that Americans understand our national character. This hard-hitting critique directs a spotlight on the American political soul and on the curious mixture of chauvinism and idealism that has driven the Bush administration.
 

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While the portion of this book dealing with how the politics of resentment helps to drive popular support for an aggressive American foreign policy is interesting, one really has to wonder who Lieven ... Leggi recensione completa

Indice

Introduction
1
An Exceptional Nationalism?
19
Thesis Splendor and Tragedy of the American Creed
48
Antithesis Part I The Embittered Heartland
88
Antithesis Part II Fundamentalists and Great Fears
123
The Legacy of the Cold War
150
American Nationalism Israel and the Middle East
173
Conclusion
217
Notes
223
Index
269
Copyright

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Informazioni sull'autore (2004)

Anatol Lieven is a Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. His other books include Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power and The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Path to Independence, which was a New York Times Notable Book for 1993.

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