Speaking before the United Nations general assembly on 22 September 2009, American President Barack Obama recognized that he took office "at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust." "Part of this," he said, "was due to opposition to specific policies, and a belief that on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others. And this has fed an almost reflexive anti- Americanism." Determined to change those "specific policies," Obama has pledged to open a new era of multilateral cooperation. In fact, he stressed that "we've also re-engaged the United Nations. We have paid our bills. We have joined the Human Rights Council. We have signed the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.. .and we address our priorities here, in this institution - for instance, through the Security Council meeting that I will chair tomorrow." Moreover, given the contested attempt to export democracy to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Middle East more broadly, Obama adamantly affirmed that "democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside." The contrast with George W Bush's administration is obvious. Obama differs with Bush not only in his approach to the management of international issues, preferring multilateralism over his predecessor's unilateralism. He also advances an alternative vision of American internationalism. Whereas Bush espoused what might be called "imperial internationalism," Obama champions "liberal internationalism."
| Reviews | administration’s diplomatic preferences, but he concludes that the Americans and the Europeans possess too many reasons for wanting to cooperate for anyone to desire a replay of the recent transatlantic troubles. It is a conclusion with which the book’s final chapter, by Laurent Cohen- Tanugi, is in basic agreement. To this Paris-based international lawyer, there will be a growing and not a diminishing need for transatlantic cooperation in the coming decades. Moreover, he suspects (though things could go wrong) that elites on both sides of the Atlantic will rise to the challenge of crafting policy so as to advance interests they hold in common. In a thinly veiled criticism of Robert Kagan’s depiction of the geopolitical solar system, one in which with transatlantic strife is caused by America’s being from Mars and Europe’s from Venus, Cohen-Tanugi reminds his readers that, to the contrary, “American and European views of the twenty-first century’s world have…become closer, with Europe’s awakening from its pacifist dream and Washington’s rediscovery of the virtues of soft power” (222). David G. Haglund/Queen’s University THE CRISIS OF AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY Wilsonianism in the Twenty-first Century G. John Ikenberry, Thomas J. Knock, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Tony Smith Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009. 157pp, US$24.95 cloth ISBN 978-0-691-1396-2 Speaking before the United Nations general assembly on 22 September 2009, American President Barack Obama recognized that he took office “at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust.” “Part of this,” he said, “was due to opposition to specific policies, and a belief that on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others. And this has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism.” Determined to change those “specific policies,” Obama has pledged to open a new era of multilateral cooperation. In fact, he stressed that “we’ve also re-engaged the
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