The Fourth Power: A Grand Strategy for the United States in the Twenty-First Century

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Overview


Today, even as America asserts itself globally, it lacks a grand strategy to replace "containment of communism." In this short, sharp book, Gary Hart outlines a new grand strategy, one directing America's powers to the achievement of its large purposes.

Central to this strategy is the power of American ideals, what Hart calls "the fourth power." Constitutional liberties, representative government, press freedom - these and other democratic principles, attractive to peoples ...

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Overview


Today, even as America asserts itself globally, it lacks a grand strategy to replace "containment of communism." In this short, sharp book, Gary Hart outlines a new grand strategy, one directing America's powers to the achievement of its large purposes.

Central to this strategy is the power of American ideals, what Hart calls "the fourth power." Constitutional liberties, representative government, press freedom - these and other democratic principles, attractive to peoples worldwide, constitute a resource that may prove as important to national security and the national interest in this dangerous new century as traditional military, economic and political might.

Writes Hart:
"The idea that government exists to protect, not oppress, the individual has an enormous power not fully understood by most Americans who take this principle for granted from birth. Far more nations will follow us because of the power of this ideal than the might of all our weapons."

Against those who view America's noblest values as an inconvenience or even hindrance to the exertion of influence abroad, Hart warns that we ignore principle only at our peril. Such an approach may serve short-term goals, but there are costs; among them is the compromising of a crucial strategic asset, America's fourth power.

Certain objectives require a military response--few serious people would disagree. The question is "whether America's purposes are best achieved through empire and force or through principle and persuasion." To suggest the former, Hart argues, is to misread both history and our current revolutionary age, one where terrorism, the internationalization of markets, information technology, eroding nation-state authority and other realities demand not doctrines of superstate unilateralism and preemption but rather appreciation for new collective security structures, international regulatory bodies, even forms of collaborative sovereignty.

Applying the best insights of strategy to statecraft, Hart finds fuzziness, overreaching, and "theological" simplicity in America's current foreign policy. Nor does he believe the war on terror, necessary in the near term, will itself serve to chart America's larger strategic course. A bracing vision of an America responsive to a full spectrum of global challenges, The Fourth Power calls for a deeper understanding both of the threats we face and the profound strengths at our disposal to fight them.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Fourth Power [offers] sweeping recommendations for how America should orient its foreign policy in the 21st century. Hart's timely central argument an alternative to both the neoimperialist impulses of the Bush administration and the creeping Kissingerian realism of the Kerry campaignis that the traditional military, political and economic powers of American foreign policy should be constrained by and imbued with a fourth power, America's unique principles. To those who advocate a crusading foreign policy of preemption to 'rid the world of evil' and spread democracy--even at the point of a gun--Hart argues that the first casualty would often be America's moral authority: 'There is a vast difference between advocating, as I do, that America live up to its own principles and advocating, as the Bush administration does, that the rest of the world live up to America's principles.'"--The New York Times Book Review

"What is refreshingly absent is any hint of rancor, political grandstanding or high-pitched vitriol. Instead, the readers are taken through an exceptionally well-crafted national security hypothesis... The Fourth Power is sharp and eloquent."--Boulder Daily Camera

"Hart offers a conceptual framework in which a 'fourth power--the power of [our] principle[s]' must be added to traditional American economic, political and military power as a major strategic asset internationally.... In their current formulation, [Hart's ideas] could prove important as soon as next year. An active Kerry for President campaigner, Hart could be a senior appointee in a Kerry administration." --The Washington Post Book World

"The Fourth Power is a well-reasoned, trenchant extended essay about the place in the world for the United States of America.... His manifesto makes so much sense, a cynic is tempted to say, that it will never become the foundation of U.S. government behavior."--The Denver Post

"Extraordinarily thought-provoking. Hart writes with great clarity and directness, yet with profound sophistication... Bush himself and his principal foreign policy advisers would be well served by reading and contemplating this book.... It provides definitions, a vocabulary, for talking about the future, both foreseeable and unforeseeable. And right now, this is not being done well on either side of the national political debate." --The Baltimore Sun

"Gary Hart has written an elegant and wise book on American grand strategy. A truly strategic approach to foreign policy must encompass American ideals, domestic policy, foreign affairs, and military methods. Hart displays a mastery of all of them."--Fareed Zakaria, Editor, Newsweek International

"Gary Hart, who tried to alert the nation before 9/11, has written a concise, graceful, and important book reminding Americans that our greatest long-term strength lies in the principles that most Americans take for granted."--Ambassador Richard Holbrooke

"Twenty five years ago, Gary Hart was a standout among politicians in thinking creatively and constructively about American defense. Over the last decade, he has been prescient in warning about the threat of terrorism on American soil. With The Fourth Power he takes a systematic and sweeping look at a Grand Strategy most likely to make the United States secure. This is a serious and provocative work, by a man who has earned America's attention."--James Fallows of the Atlantic Monthly and author of National Defense

"Gary Hart provides a needed focus on strategy, principle and national purpose. The Fourth Power couldn't come at a better time for those who seek to define and lead the discussion about America's role in a changing world." --William S. Cohen, 20th U.S. Secretary of Defense

"Gary Hart as a senator, presidential candidate, citizen and author has always had an eye on the future. In this age of increasing tension and conflict, challenged by terrorism and anti-Americanism, he helps us understand where we are and where we might go. The remarkable thing about Senator Hart and his book, The Fourth Power, is that he continues to think deeply, beyond politics, about America's role in a new century."--Charlie Rose

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195176834
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/15/2004
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 8.53 (w) x 5.75 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Former U.S. senator Gary Hart (D-Colorado) is author of thirteen books and a leading expert on national security and American foreign policy. A longtime member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, an international lawyer who has traveled to the former Soviet Union over 100 times, Hart recently completed a three-year assignment as co-chair of the U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century, a body that before 9/11 both warned of a massive stateside attack and recommended the creation of a homeland security department. Hart has taught at Yale, University of California, and Oxford University, where he earned a D.Phil. in Politics in 2001.

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Table of Contents


Introduction

1. Strategy in an Age of Revolution

2. Our Principles as an Element of Strategy

3. America's Large Purposes in the New Century

4. Security in the Twenty-first Century: A Larger Understanding

5. Principled Engagement: Expanding Security through Opportunity

6. The New Security and the Use of Military Power

7. Who We Are: Temptations of Empire

8. Restoring the Republic...and Its Principles

Conclusion

Appendix

Notes

Index

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2004

    Hart provides both an anchor and a rudder for the ship of state

    Gary Hart's 'The Fourth Power' only whets my appetite for more from this giant of a political philosopher. This is the most important book on 'grand strategy' for this country since George Kennan's work that led to the 'containment policy,' which served our nation's foreign policy and leadership in the world for a half-century. Since the fall of communism, as we then knew it, the U.S. has been adrift and devoid of a centering philosophy, subjecting us to the whims of individual presidents. This is dangerous, and Senator Hart's thinking should be employed to help us see the need for a unifying theme, based on our unique principles, and to guide us in adopting one as a democratic republic.

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