George W. Bush's election and the fear and confusion of September 11 combined to allow a small group of radical intellectuals to seize the reins of US national security policy. Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke show how, at this 'inflection point' in US history, an inexperienced president was persuaded to abandon his campaign pledges and the successful consensus-driven, bipartisan diplomacy that managed the lethal Soviet threat over the past half century, and adopt a neo-conservative foreign policy emphasizing military confrontation and 'nation-building'. To date, the costs - in blood, money and credibility - have been great, and the benefits few. Traditional conservatives deplore this approach. America Alone outlines the costs in terms of economic damage, distortion of priorities, rising anti-Americanism, encroachment on civil liberties, domestic political polarization and reduced security. Then, it sets out an alternative approach emphasizing the traditional conservative principles of containing risk, consensus diplomacy and balance of power.
'An in-depth survey of the intellectual development of neo-conservative thought over the last quarter century. Whether or not you agree with the book's conclusions, it is a must-read for anyone interested in the making of U.S. foreign policy in the 21st century.' The Honorable C. Boyden Gray, White House General Counsel to President George H. W. Bush, 1988-1992 'This book dissects the American neo-conservatives and their ideology. It traces their intellectual and political connections; their rise to influence and then to power in Washington and passes judgement on their effects on US domestic politics and US foreign policy. You do not need to agree with the authors' every word to find this powerful critique of an important contemporary stream in American thinking enlightening and thought provoking.' Dame Pauline Neville Jones, Former Political Director of the British Foreign Office 'Most critics of the war on Iraq belong to liberal, internationalist, American Democrat or European traditions. This book is a damning indictment by mainstream U.S. Republicans with long experience in government. It traces the rise of the neo-conservatives, their influence through think-tanks and the media, their obsession with Israel and the Middle East and their conversion of the Pentagon and President George W. Bush to a Manichaean unilateralist foreign policy in which force is the preferred option. 'Know your enemy' is always good policy; 'know your friends' is also a good principle and there is much in this book that should give supporters of British and American policy in Iraq pause for thought.' Sir Roger Tomkys, British Ambassador to Bahrain (1981-84) and Syria (1984-86) '... An important and timely analysis of how a political movement succeeded in pushing the current administration to pursue the boldest American foreign policy program since Theodore Roosevelt while, at the same time, dismantling the internal review processes within the executive branch which, for over 50 years, had mitigated pressures to make reckless moves on the international stage. The jury is still out on whether or not the resulting American actions have been successes or failures. The outlook in early 2004, however, is not promising.' Frank R. Anderson, Chief, Near East and Southeast Asia Division, CIA, 1991-1995, and Chief of the Afghan Task Force, 1987-1989 'The pre-existing neo-conservative agenda to invade Iraq has inspired hundreds of new terrorists to attack our troops, and further endangered the homeland. America Alone is a splendid account of how we got into this pickle.' Thomas Twetten, Former Deputy Director of CIA for Operations 'America Alone is an important book ... it is a canary in a coalmine, informing the world that the Bush administration is now deemed unsound even by some who might be assumed to support it.' Financial Times Magazine '... fascinating book ...' Sunday Times '... a comprehensive, cogently argued history of neoconservatism from the 1970s to the present, and a forceful expression of political advocacy.' Journal of American Studies '... by far the best study of the neo-con movement and its relevance to Bush's 'war on terror' in the flood of critical books that have poured forth during the second Iraq war.' Carribean Life 'Halper and Clarke are insiders who know the players and the sources. Their thoughtful, insightful work spans ideological and partisan differences, a rare phenomenon these days.' Washington Post 'America Alone is a sobering critique of U.S. foreign policy by two very serious conservatives. What makes their book so powerful is that their conclusion appears to be right.' Washington Times 'Clarke and Halper have written an extremely useful book. Anyone seeking to understand the turn American foreign policy has taken in the past three years will need to come to terms with their arguments.' The American Conservative '... [The authors have] done us all a great service by writing this book ... The book is elegantly written with a passion that still preserves objectivity and is well supported by references.' Victor Bulmer-Thomas, Chatham House, International Affairs 'Halper and Clarke certainly score clear hits against their targets ...'. Times Literary Supplement '... America Alone pulls no punches. It argues forcefully, though in a temperate tone and with compelling documentation ... It deserves to be read by all who are puzzled by the reckless damage an arrogant coterie of ideologues has done to the greatest country in the world.' The Independent '... [the authors] have written a very fine book on this most important of topics.' Political Studies Review 'Their anger is coldly controlled, and far more effective. How much better the Right does outrage than the Left.' The Times 'This book provides us with probably the best overview to date of the background and roots of the Bush administration's ideology, with an emphasis on the famous (or infamous) neo-conservative movement ... their often scathing criticism of the Bush administration's handling of foreign policy comes across as original, well founded, and philosophically nuanced.' Journal of Peace Research 'This is a meticulous academic work and one that should be read by all those shifting uncomfortably as the Bush administration's foreign policy appears to blindly lead America into a brave new world of rising 'counter-Americanism' and vulnerability to a new era of transnational terrorist threats.' Cambridge: The Magazine of the Cambridge Society