The Pivotal States: A New Framework for U.S. Policy in the Developing World

The Pivotal States: A New Framework for U.S. Policy in the Developing World

by Robert Chase

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A few superpowers and a few rogue states will continue to occupy the attention of policymakers in Washington. The remaining 140 developing countries are less clearly ordered in priority. Addressing this issue, the editors--professors of international studies at Yale and Johns Hopkins--have chosen nine countries as "pivotal states" requiring a higher priority than other developing countries because they are both large emerging markets and regionally influential to other developing countries. Together these states--Algeria, Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa, and Turkey--comprise a third of the world's population. In addition, several are shown to be at turning points in their own development. Chapters on each of the nine describe both their internal situation and external influences and include recommended U.S. policy. Later chapters are devoted to themes affecting all of these countries: population, migration, environment, human rights, ethnic conflict, and trade. Uneven (especially on ethnic conflict) but useful for specialized collections.--Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York
Kirkus Reviews
An extremely sensible look at the big picture of American foreign policy. Chase (International Studies/Johns Hopkins), Hill (International Security Studies/Yale), and Kennedy (History/Yale) assume that the primary focus of American foreign policy will always be the other great powers and smaller states with which we have a special relationship, such as Israel. They maintain that responding to the rest of the world on an ad hoc, crisis-by-crisis basis, however, is inadvisable even if traditional, and promote development of a coherent, positive foreign policy applicable to the third world. Their "pivotal states" approach assumes that "a select group of developing countries" have futures "poised at critical turning points," and their fates could "significantly affect regional, and even international, stability." By placing special emphasis on relations with these states—-Algeria, Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa, and Turkey—-they believe the US can move from a reactive to a proactive stance in pursuing American interests among developing nations. Individual chapters on each country are contributed by experts who adopt the pivotal states framework, assess each state in terms of its regional position and relations with the US, and make recommendations regarding future American policy. Another set of analysts contributes chapters highlighting cross-cutting issues—-population, migration, environment, human rights, ethnic conflict, trade and finance, and strategic planning—-which illustrate the potential advantages of a pivotal states strategy. The discussion is straightforward and dry throughout, as if leaving behind the ideological baggage ofthe Cold War has drained the passion out of international politics. There is an unspoken premise lurking here, however, and in the conclusion Chase, Hill, and Kennedy are willing to admit that they have unquestioningly embraced the traditional goal of promoting stability. This is a defensible position, of course, but one could hope that the end of the Cold War would facilitate more adventurous as well as less ideological and conventional thinking. .

Product Details

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >