While America Sleeps by Donald Kagan
Review by ilaxi patel
A Book by Donald Kagan is the perception of self delusion, military weakness and threat to peace today. As said by Wall Street Journal “They have produced a riveting piece of diplomatic history with lessons for the present, but their method harks back to an earlier age, when historians wrote with an ideological purpose.At a time when neither political party seems quite certain about America’s role in the world, a case worth taking seriously.” While America Sleeps” is an engaging, insightful work of comparative history. Using Great Britain between the wars as a point of comparison for the US today, the authors outline the great dangers faced as a nation. The book refers that US has taken a huge “peace dividend” and gutted it’s military since the end of the Cold War. Furthermore, US foreign policy has been consistently erratic, misguided and timid over the same period. It has well known examples like Iraq, North Korea and the Balkans, the authors illustrate how the US has failed to make a strong stand when confronted with aggression. Furthermore, when a stand is made, it is usually ineffective and half-hearted.
Bush administration had many of the right ideas about the role of a lone superpower, but failed to implement them. This was due largely to a failure to educate the public, and a lingering “Vietnam Syndrome” that continues to plague the military. They go on to lambast the Clinton administration for both failing to understand the dynamic of global relations, and for utterly misapplying military force. The book is a thought-provoking treatise on the role of military power in foreign policy and authors’ foreshadowing of impending doom, challenge the lack of will in political leaders and controversially disturbing warning against over reliance on air power and technological superiority.