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Of Paradise and Power

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Of Paradise and Power
America and Europe in the New World Order. By Robert Kagan. Vintage: 2004. Pg. 176.) ISBN: 1400034183

Reviewed by Herbert White - May 7, 2004

Are Americans and Europeans the same? Do they have the same values, goals, and world view? According to Robert Kagan, in his book Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order, the answer is a resounding no. From differences in problem solving strategies to economic goals, there are more differences between the United States and Europe than there are similarities. This has not always been the case, but as Kagan clearly delineates in this volume, the gulf between the US and Europe is growing at an alarming rate.

Of Paradise and Power is a relatively short book, yet its message is powerfully compelling and thought provoking. In the process of outlining his thesis, Kagan examines why these differences have emerged, and what they may mean in terms of US and European relationships, as well as US relationships with the rest of the world. More important, he examines how these differences impede the actions of the United States, on the world stage, both politically and militarily, and how these differences are causing ripple effects that are impacting the America economy.

In light of current events, this book is essential reading for anyone hoping to understand why the US was unable to garner as much support for its War in Iraq as it had hoped - and would have just a few years ago. By extension, it also sheds light on the inherent weakness of the United Nations, and other world bodies such as NATO.

Concise, impressive, and timely, Of Paradise and Power should be read by everyone - on both sides of the Atlantic!

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