Academic journal article Military Review

SUPERPOWER ILLUSION: How Myths and False Ideologies Led America Astray-And How to Return to Reality

Academic journal article Military Review

SUPERPOWER ILLUSION: How Myths and False Ideologies Led America Astray-And How to Return to Reality

Article excerpt

SUPERPOWER ILLUSION: How Myths and False Ideologies Led America Astray-and How to Return to Reality, Jack F. Matlock, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2010, 344 pages, $20.00.

Retired ambassador Jack F. Matlock begins Superpower Illusion with the intriguing thesis that the United States was never a superpower. A strong member of a coalition of nations united in defeating communism during the Cold War, yes, but not a superpower. In fact, Matlock makes a strong case that the administrations of George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush unwisely led us to believe that the United States could operate unilaterally in the turbulent international security environment of the 1990s and early 2 1 st century.

Matlock contends that the moniker, a "new world order," fostered an American "delusion of unipolarity that fed temptations to act alone," alienated allies, and did nothing to warm relations with former adversaries. For Matlock, the abandonment of traditional diplomatic relationships in favor of unilateral action promoted an international feeling that the United States relished its self-identified position of preeminence. …

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