Fear's Empire: War, Terrorism, and Democracy in an Age of Interdependence

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The author of Jihad vs. McWorld analyzes how American foreign policy has gone wrong—and how it could go right.In this hard-hitting book, Benjamin R. Barber—one of the world's most inspiring voices on behalf of democratic citizenship—marshals American political and diplomatic history to lambast the Bush administration's attempt to fight fear (of terrorism) with fear (of "preventive" war). Barber examines the controversial issues that underlie both the Cold War theory of containment and deterrence and the dilemmas ...
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Overview

The author of Jihad vs. McWorld analyzes how American foreign policy has gone wrong—and how it could go right.In this hard-hitting book, Benjamin R. Barber—one of the world's most inspiring voices on behalf of democratic citizenship—marshals American political and diplomatic history to lambast the Bush administration's attempt to fight fear (of terrorism) with fear (of "preventive" war). Barber examines the controversial issues that underlie both the Cold War theory of containment and deterrence and the dilemmas faced by America today. He argues forcefully against unilateralism, nuclear deterrence, and reliance on military solutions. And he inveighs against the tendency of recent administrations to confuse the spread of McWorld —that seductive blend of free-market ideology and American brands—with the spread of democracy. Barber argues for an America that promotes cooperation, multilateralism, international law, and pooled sovereignty. For as law and citizenship alone secure liberty within nations, law and citizenship alone can secure liberty among them, freeing them from fear.


About the Author:
: Benjamin R. Barber is Gershon and Carol Kekst Professor of Civil Society at the University of Maryland and a principal of The Democracy Collaborative. He lives in New York City.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Benjamin Barber does not think America needs to diminish its role in the world. Instead, Fear's Empire: War, Terrorism, and Democracy argues just the opposite: America needs to recognize the growing trend of global interdependence and work with the rest of the world to build common solutions to problems like terrorism. — Vincent J. Cannato
Kirkus Reviews
Should "postwar" Iraq evolve from shooting gallery to mother of all quagmires, Bush & Co. will be able to ponder ornately posited reasons why in this latest from liberal political scientist Barber. Abundantly sourced and annotated—note Harry Truman’s haunting aphorism that "the only thing you prevent by going to war is peace"—this volume aims to expose all the traps in the administration’s concept of unilateralism as applied to the once and possibly future Saddam Hussein, including familiar ones now being given increased airplay: compounded unpredictability; the shedding of allies and loss of world esteem as a result of flouting international law and democratic principle; and the pinning of a target on the US as an imperialistic aggressor. These traps are all endemic, Barber (Jihad vs. McWorld, 1995) reminds us, in parts of the world where lines already form at terrorism’s door. The author characterizes President Bush as decisive but tragically intolerant of complexity. Further, he asserts, by basing both domestic and foreign policies primarily on fear (including threat of war) we let terrorists "whose only weapon is fear win without firing a shot." The more original parts here examine the variations in extant democracies to support the author’s claim that exporting instant "American democracy" is futile and will inevitably be perceived as a threat to embedded religious cultures. Rooted democratic governments need to evolve from within and, crucially, over time, Barber argues, but the idea that Islam cannot tolerate them is simply false, as witness Turkey, Indonesia, etc. (Hardly great democratic examples, but no worse than most of Latin America.) While this is largely astatement of problems, Barber devotes a section to wishfully extolling a policy of "preventive democracy" based firmly on multilateralism in this "age of interdependence" and on international law as the best way to avoid potential future entanglements in Iran, North Korea, Syria, ad infinitum. Provocative work from an incisive critic who occasionally waxes unblushingly utopian.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393058369
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/29/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.66 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 11
Introduction 15
Pt. 1 Pax Americana; or, Preventive War
1 Eagles and Owls 35
2 The Myth of Independence 47
3 The War of All Against All 67
4 The "New" Doctrine of Preventive War 78
5 The "Old" Doctrine of Deterrence 102
Pt. 2 Lex Humana; or, Preventive Democracy
6 Preventive Democracy 145
7 You Can't Export McWorld and Call It Democracy 155
8 You Can't Export America and Call It Freedom 169
9 CivWorld 200
Conclusion 215
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