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The Irony of Manifest Destiny


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About the Author

William Pfaff is the author of 8 books on American foreign policy, international relations, and contemporary history. They include Barbarian Sentiments: America in the New Century, which was a finalist for the 1989 National Book Award, and which Ronald Steel called "a work of moral passion and striking insight by America's best foreign-affairs columnist." The late Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. said "William Pfaff is Walter Lippmann's authentic heir. Like Lippmann, he places the rush of events in historical and cultural perspective and writes about them with lucidity and grace." For 25 years, Pfaff wrote a column for the International Herald Tribune, and his essays and articles have appeared widely, in the New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, Harper's, and Foreign Affairs. He lives in Paris.


Eleanor Roosevelt once said that wishful thinking was America's 'besetting sin.' In an era of seemingly permanent war, when the doctrine of American exceptionalism and the manifest destiny of the United States reigns virtually unchallenged in Washington, William Pfaff's lucid, dismayed commentary on the follies of such triumphalism has been an island of reason in the imperial sea. If his prescriptions . . . had been followed, the United States and the world would be in a far, far better situation. As things stand, though, Pfaff's clarity and rigor at least offer posterity a way of understanding what actually happened, and why, when national power and national blindness combined to lead the United States down the path of utopian nationalism and in the process become both a danger to the world and to itself.
David Rieff, author of At The Point of a Gun
In an age of charlatans and poseurs, William Pfaff has long stood for realism and sobriety. With its penetrating critique of the secular utopianism that perverts American statecraft, The Irony of Manifest Destiny affirms his standing as our wisest critic of U.S. foreign policy.
Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The Limits of Power and Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War
In his brilliant new essay on American foreign policy, Pfaff has applied his prudent realist vision to deconstructing the "tragedy" of America's global interventionism . . . This is a book by an American looking from the outside in that needs to be read by every political leader and thinker caught on the inside looking out.
Benjamin R. Barber, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Demos, author, Consumed and Jihad vs. McWorld

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