Nearly all empirical work in political science is fundamentally historical, yet very little attention has been given to the problem of grounding claims to historical knowledge. In Writing the Arab-Israeli Conflict Jonathan B. Isacoff constructs the nature of historical knowledge by deftly examining the multiple histories of the Arab-Israeli conflict written by generations of Israeli scholars. He also undertakes briefer analysis of literature, drawn from both historians and political scientists of the Vietnam War, demonstrating that historical revisionism is not unique to the study of the Middle East. Focusing on different schools of historical interpretation Writing the Arab-Israeli Conflict argues for a pragmatist approach in the tradition of John Dewey. Most importantly, this exceptional work suggests a number of practical methodological measures that can be taken to produce more sophisticated and nuanced political science scholarship.
One way to describe the importance of social policy is to say it's about 'what is and what might be.' This ethos is the driving force behind Chack-Kie Wong, Vai Io Lo, and Kwong-leung Tang's China's Urban Health Care Reform. Based on a study of a mid-level city in China, these three scholars provide analysis and offer theory-based recommendations on health care development. Using a comparative policy framework, supported by a legal expert's knowledge of regulatory specifications, China's Urban Health Care Reform argues that a strategy with priority in economic growth, as in the case of China, does not bring forth cost efficiency and equity in health care for the whole nation. Ultimately, Wong, Lo, and Tang strive to offer direction for health care reform that will lead to better health care in China's cities. As a result, this is a work of great significance to anyone involved in public health, social work, public policy, medicine, or law.
The problem wasn't just Iraq. It didn't even start with Iraq. It was bigger than Iraq. In fact, it was everything George W. Bush touched, from the very early flop on energy policy to the walking fiasco named Alberto Gonzales. Even adding the tragicomedy of Hurricane Katrina doesn't come close to describing the governmental catastrophe of the Bush administration. The collapse of the Bush presidency is a broadly acknowledged fact. Everyone who's anyone, from politicians to comedians, has taken shots at this ever-growing target. By any fair assessment, much of the past seven years has been disastrous. The challenge is to understand why. Few analysts have stepped aside, abandoning easy hits and quick gibes, and analyzed the totality of the Bush Administration. Now, bestselling author Thomas Oliphant does just that. With his keen, experienced eye, he asks the simplest of questions: "How could some of the smartest, most experienced and politically savvy people in Washington screw up so badly?" After all, this was the team led by a man with an MBA. They came to Washington with the mission to run the government in an orderly, businesslike manner. Instead, chaos has ensued. How did this happen? From domestic policy to international goofs, from soaring energy prices to the health care crisis---Thomas Oliphant tackles it all, closely inspecting the initial projections and promises of Bush and his key senior officials, and the ways in which they lost control of these well-publicized and overconfident plans. By comparing their rhetoric to their dismal record, Oliphant provides a historic analysis of the Bush administration---showing how a system so seemingly competent and mechanized could fail so miserably, and with such frequency. In the wake of the Republican loss of Congress and unmet promises for future change, and as the presidential campaign to choose Bush's successor heats up, Oliphant provides a rigorous examination of what went wrong and what this means for the next administration. Utter Incompetents is at its heart a searching look at the George W. Bush administration, its policies, and the legacy that it will leave behind on January 20, 2009. It is also the substantive backdrop for the next president.
William R. Polk provides an informative, readable history of a country which is moving quickly toward becoming the dominant power and culture of the Middle East. A former member of the State Department's Policy Planning Council, Polk describes a country and a history misunderstood by many in the West. While Iranians chafe under the yolk of their current leaders, they also have bitter memories of generations of British, Russian and American espionage, invasion, and dominance. There are important lessons to be learned from the past, and Polk teases them out of a long and rich history and shows that it is not just now, but for decades to come that an understanding of Iran will be essential to American safety and well-being.
One of America's preeminent experts on democracy charts the future prospects for freedom around the world in the aftermath of Iraq and deepening authoritarianism Over three decades, the world was transformed. In 1974, nearly three-quarters of all countries were dictatorships; today, more than half are democracies. Yet recent efforts to promote democracy have stumbled, and many democratic governments are faltering. In this bold and sweeping vision for advancing freedom around the world, social scientist Larry Diamond examines how and why democracy progresses. He demonstrates that the desire for democracy runs deep, even in very poor countries, and that seemingly entrenched regimes like Iran and China could become democracies within a generation. He also dissects the causes of the "democratic recession" in critical states, including the crime-infested oligarchy in Russia and the strong-armed populism of Venezuela. Diamond cautions that arrogance and inconsistency have undermined America's aspirations to promote democracy. To spur a renewed democratic boom, he urges vigorous support of good governance--the rule of law, security, protection of individual rights, and shared economic prosperity--and free civic organizations. Only then will the spirit of democracy be secured.
The stunning, never before told story of the quixotic attempt to recreate small-town America in the heart of the Amazon In 1927, Henry Ford, the richest man in the world, bought a tract of land twice the size of Delaware in the Brazilian Amazon. His intention was to grow rubber, but the project rapidly evolved into a more ambitious bid to export America itself, along with its golf courses, ice-cream shops, bandstands, indoor plumbing, and Model Ts rolling down broad streets. Fordlandia, as the settlement was called, quickly became the site of an epic clash. On one side was the car magnate, lean, austere, the man who reduced industrial production to its simplest motions; on the other, the Amazon, lush, extravagant, the most complex ecological system on the planet. Ford's early success in imposing time clocks and square dances on the jungle soon collapsed, as indigenous workers, rejecting his midwestern Puritanism, turned the place into a ribald tropical boomtown. Fordlandia's eventual demise as a rubber plantation foreshadowed the practices that today are laying waste to the rain forest. More than a parable of one man's arrogant attempt to force his will on the natural world, Fordlandia depicts a desperate quest to salvage the bygone America that the Ford factory system did much to dispatch. As Greg Grandin shows in this gripping and mordantly observed history, Ford's great delusion was not that the Amazon could be tamed but that the forces of capitalism, once released, might yet be contained. Fordlandia is a 2009 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction.
Part family story and part urban history, a landmark investigation of segregation and urban decay in Chicago--and cities across the nation The "promised land" for thousands of Southern blacks, postwar Chicago quickly became the most segregated city in the North, the site of the nation's worst ghettos and the target of Martin Luther King Jr.'s first campaign beyond the South. In this powerful book, Beryl Satter identifies the true causes of the city's black slums and the ruin of urban neighborhoods throughout the country: not, as some have argued, black pathology, the culture of poverty, or white flight, but a widespread and institutionalized system of legal and financial exploitation. In Satter's riveting account of a city in crisis, unscrupulous lawyers, slumlords, and speculators are pitched against religious reformers, community organizers, and an impassioned attorney who launched a crusade against the profiteers--the author's father, Mark J. Satter. At the heart of the struggle stand the black migrants who, having left the South with its legacy of sharecropping, suddenly find themselves caught in a new kind of debt peonage. Satter shows the interlocking forces at work in their oppression: the discriminatory practices of the banking industry; the federal policies that created the country's shameful "dual housing market"; the economic anxieties that fueled white violence; and the tempting profits to be made by preying on the city's most vulnerable population. A monumental work of history, this tale of racism and real estate, politics and finance, will forever change our understanding of the forces that transformed urban America.
The world's foremost critic of U.S. foreign policy exposes the hollow promises of democracy in American actions abroad--and at homeThe United States has repeatedly asserted its right to intervene against "failed states" around the globe. In this much anticipated sequel to his international bestseller Hegemony or Survival, Noam Chomsky turns the tables, charging the United States with being a "failed state," and thus a danger to its own people and the world. "Failed states" Chomsky writes, are those "that do not protect their citizens from violence and perhaps even destruction, that regard themselves as beyond the reach of domestic or international law, and that suffer from a 'democratic deficit,' having democratic forms but with limited substance." Exploring recent U.S. foreign and domestic policies, Chomsky assesses Washington's escalation of the nuclear risk; the dangerous consequences of the occupation of Iraq; and America's self-exemption from international law. He also examines an American electoral system that frustrates genuine political alternatives, thus impeding any meaningful democracy. Forceful, lucid, and meticulously documented, Failed States offers a comprehensive analysis of a global superpower that has long claimed the right to reshape other nations while its own democratic institutions are in severe crisis, and its policies and practices have recklessly placed the world on the brink of disaster. Systematically dismantling America's claim to being the world's arbiter of democracy, Failed States is Chomsky's most focused--and urgent--critique to date.
In this shocking exposé, two government fraud experts reveal how private contractors have put the lives of countless American soldiers on the line while damaging our strategic interests and our image abroad. From the shameful war profiteering of companies like Halliburton/KBR to the sinister influence that corporate lobbyists have on American foreign policy, Dina Rasor and Robert H. Bauman paint a disturbing picture. Here they give the inside story on troops forced to subsist on little food and contaminated water, on officers afraid to lodge complaints because of Halliburton's political clout, on millions of dollars in contractors' bogus claims that are funded by American taxpayers. Drawing on exclusive sources within government and the military, the authors show how money and power have conspired to undermine our fighting forces and threaten the security of our country.
What makes us all Americans--whatever our differences--is adherence to a creed, a creed based upon cornerstone truths the founders believed "self-evident." From the earliest days, the survival of the new republic hinged not merely upon the expression of these grand principles of liberty and equality but upon their spiritual underpinnings. Freedom and faith were intertwined. America, as a foreign observer once put it, is a nation with the soul of a church.In this stirring and timely book, Forrest Church charts the progress of this creed from the America's beginnings to the present day by evoking those whose words-whether in declarations, songs, inaugural addresses, speeches, or prayers-have expressed its letter and captured its spirit. What emerges is our shared destiny. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream that this country might someday "rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed," echoes Thomas Jefferson's belief that "equal and exact justice to all" is the "creed of our political faith." Our connection with the past represents our commitment to the future and vice versa. A "spiritual and patriotic primer," The American Creed distills the essence of American history while also matching its sweep. Church lets the story of the Declaration of Independence unfold before our eyes, giving us both the big picture and the details that place it into brilliant focus. Those steeped in our nation's heritage will find fresh insight and renewed purpose. Those still discovering its riches could have no finer introduction. In its scope and embrace, this is a book for us all.
A lucid and compelling case for a new American stance toward the Islamic world. What comes after jihad? Outside the headlines, believing Muslims are increasingly calling for democratic politics in their undemocratic countries. But can Islam and democracy successfully be combined? Surveying the intellectual and geopolitical terrain of the contemporary Muslim world, Noah Feldman proposes that Islamic democracy is indeed viable and desirable, and that the West, particularly the United States, should work to bring it about, not suppress it. Encouraging democracy among Muslims threatens America's autocratic Muslim allies, and raises the specter of a new security threat to the West if fundamentalists are elected. But in the long term, the greater threat lies in continuing to support repressive regimes that have lost the confidence of their citizens. By siding with Islamic democrats rather than the regimes that repress them, the United States can bind them to the democratic principles they say they support, reducing anti-Americanism and promoting a durable peace in the Middle East. After Jihad gives the context for understanding how the many Muslims who reject religious violence see the world after the globalization of democracy. It is also an argument about how American self-interest can be understood to include a foreign policy consistent with the deeply held democratic values that make America what it is. At a time when the encounter with Islam has become the dominant issue of U.S. foreign policy, After Jihad provides a road map for making democracy work in a region where the need for it is especially urgent.
Jean Godefroy Bidima’s La Palabre examines the traditional African institution of palaver as a way to create dialogue and open exchange in an effort to resolve conflict and promote democracy. In the wake of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and the gacaca courts in Rwanda, Bidima offers a compelling model of how to develop an African public space where dialogue can combat misunderstanding. This volume, which includes other essays on legal processes, cultural diversity, memory, and the internet in Africa, offers English-speaking readers the opportunity to become acquainted with a highly original and important postcolonial thinker.