Cousins And Strangers


"A magisterial volume—a cocktail of autobiography, political analysis of the state of the world, and policy prescriptions." —Foreign Affairs

For fifty years, the Americans, British, and Europeans were close partners, yet today the Western alliance is strained to a moment of reckoning. In Cousins and Strangers, Chris Patten, one of Europe's most distinguished statesmen, scrutinizes what has happened in the years since the fall of the Berlin ...

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Cousins and Strangers: America, Britain, and Europe in a New Century

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"A magisterial volume—a cocktail of autobiography, political analysis of the state of the world, and policy prescriptions." —Foreign Affairs

For fifty years, the Americans, British, and Europeans were close partners, yet today the Western alliance is strained to a moment of reckoning. In Cousins and Strangers, Chris Patten, one of Europe's most distinguished statesmen, scrutinizes what has happened in the years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, pinpointing the shifts in power and security that have reshaped our world.

In penetrating and sparkling analysis, Patten argues that to face the urgent threats of the twenty-first century—terrorism, nuclear proliferation, failed and failing states, massive environmental change—the Western alliance must stop bickering and kowtowing and start asserting cooperative leadership. Bad habits and easy, self-absorbed slogans must give way to smart politics in order to ensure the world's, and our own, best interests. Drawing on his decades of experience in government and international diplomacy, Patten sharply assesses the leadership of the United States, Great Britain, and Europe, and the stakes for all three if the West breaks apart.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Chris Patten reaches behind the clichés of the Anglo-American relationship 'to tell it like it is.' This important book is both a treasure chest of revealing stories, no-nonsense analysis, timely ideas, and a perfect reflection of its author: irreverent, witty, wise, and always on target. Those in search of enlightenment about trans-Atlantic relations will find it here."

Madeleine K. Albright, former Secretary of State

"Chris Patten's mixture of candor, wit, insight, and common sense is just what the transatlantic relationship needs in its current doldrums. His book glitters with the three qualities that made him such an efffective and admirable public servant and statesman: the quality of his mind, the courage of his convictions, and the brilliance he displays in expressing them. America is lucky to have such a friend and cousin, and Europe is lucky to have such an clear-headed citizen and eloquent spokesman."

Strobe Talbott, president, Brookings Institution, and former Deputy Secretary of State

This joins the previous endorsement that was circulated earlier:

"Chris Patten, a wise European conservative, offers friendly criticism to Americans. As a personal memoir, his book is filled with wit, history, charming anecdotes, and insightful portraits of other leaders. But when it comes to policy prescription, he writes with trenchant analysis and wisdom. In both dimensions, Cousins and Strangers is a thoroughly engaging book."

Joseph S. Nye, professor, Harvard University, and author of The Power Game: A Washington Novel and The Paradox of American Power

"Just Chris Patten's pithy discussion of the inadequate leadership provided by, respectively, Prime Minister Blair, Chancellor Schroeder, and Prime Minister Berlusconi, not to mention President Chirac and his Foreign Minister de Villepin, is well worth the price of this incisive and important book. Patten, better than most, understands why Europe needs a real Europe and why America also needs such a Europe."

Zbigniew Brzezinski, author of The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership

"There is no recent book that I enjoyed more than Chris Patten's Cousins and Strangers. Chris Patten has been Governor of Hong Kong, European Commissioner of External Relations, Chancellor of Oxford, affectionate friend of America. With a wealth of diverse experiences, he has written a brilliant, witty, humane, literate, and perceptive commentary on the world's troubles, challenges, and opportunities."

—Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

Josef Joffe
Though it ranges across the planet, the book is addressed to America. Though it takes an uncharitable view of the Bushies, as well as of all things American that European conservatives have always found distasteful, the book ends up with a kind of homage to the United States. "We are too inclined," he writes, "to criticize America while depending on its security shield; too prone to advocate multilateralism while knowing that if a multilateral solution requires force nothing much is likely to happen unless America is involved." The boys who went to a grande école would rather bite off their tongues than concede this incontrovertible point to the yahoos américains.
— The New York Times
Foreign Affairs
Former chair of the British Conservative Party, last British governor of Hong Kong, former European commissionerfor external relations, and now chancellor of Oxford, Patten has put all of his narrative virtuosity, breadth of vision, common sense, and often hilarious verve into this magisterial volume — a cocktail of autobiography, political analysis of the state of the world, and policy prescriptions, peppered with priceless anecdotes and incisive portraits. The most salient part of the book is Patten's sharp condemnation of the recent unilateralist, militaristic turn in U.S. foreign policy (he dislikes Vice President Dick Cheney and calls UN Ambassador John Bolton "the Pavarotti of neoconservatism") and his equally sharp critique of Tony Blair's policy on Iraq ("Supporting the Bush invasion ... is probably the worst service we have paid America"). Patten calls on Washington to return to the kind of policy it followed after World War II and for much greater U.S. involvement in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in global environmental and development issues, and in UN reform. He is also a lucid defender of the European Union, making strong cases for the inclusion of Turkey and for forging a union that is neither a superpower competitor of the United States nor just an appendix of Washington. In the end, Patten sees the economic rise of China and India as an opportunity for the West, but he also warns of the dangers of "the revolt of the alienated" and "the revolt of the dispossessed." It is to be hoped that Patten will have more opportunities to apply his intelligence and his wit to international policy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805082579
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/1/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Patten, chancellor of Oxford and Newcastle universities, was from 1999 until 2004 European Commissioner for External Relations. He was previously the member of Parliament for Bath, chairman of the Conservative Party, and the last British governor of Hong Kong. He is the author of East and West: China, Power, and the Future of Asia. He lives in London.

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Table of Contents

1 Happy families 1
2 Now we are sixty 30
3 Not tuppence for the rest 55
4 National sovereignty and the descent of conservatism 77
5 Poodle or partner? 104
6 From Brussels to Istanbul 133
7 Strong nouns, weak verbs 166
8 Neighborhood watch 191
9 Invincible but vulnerable 221
10 Meanwhile, Asia rises 246
11 An education to the world 271
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