That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back
America has a huge problem. It faces four major challenges, on which its future depends, and it is failing to meet them. In That Used to Be Us, Thomas L. Friedman, one of our most influential columnists, and Michael Mandelbaum, one of our leading foreign policy thinkers, analyze those challenges -- globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation’s chronic deficits, and its pattern of energy consumption -- and spell out what we need to do now to rediscover America and rise to this moment.
They explain how the end of the cold war blinded the nation to the need to address these issues. They show how our history, when properly understood, provides the key to addressing them, and explain how the paralysis of our political system and the erosion of key American values have made it impossible for us to carry out the policies the country needs. They offer a way out of the trap into which the country has fallen, which includes the rediscovery of some of our most valuable traditions and the creation of a new, third-party movement. That Used to Be Us is both a searching exploration of the American condition today and a rousing manifesto for American renewal.
“As we were writing this book,” Friedman and Mandelbaum explain, “we found that when we shared the title with people, they would often nod ruefully and ask: ‘But does it have a happy ending?’ Our answer is that we can write a happy ending, but it is up to the country -- to all of us -- to determine whether it is fiction or nonfiction. We need to study harder, save more, spend less, invest wisely, and get back to the formula that made us successful as a country in every previous historical turn. What we need is not novel or foreign, but values, priorities, and practices embedded in our history and culture, applied time and again to propel us forward as a country. That is all part of our past. That used to be us and can be again -- if we will it.”
The Frugal Superpower: America's Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era
In this incisive new book, Michael Mandelbaum argues that the era marked by an expansive American foreign policy is coming to an end. During the seven decades from the U.S. entry into World War II in 1941 to the present, economic constraints rarely limited what the United States did in the world. Now that will change. The country's soaring deficits, fueled by the huge costs of the financial crash and of its entitlement programs— Social Security and Medicare—will compel a more modest American international presence. In assessing the consequences of this new, less expensive foreign policy, Mandelbaum, one of America's leading foreign policy experts, describes the policies the United States will have to discontinue, assesses the potential threats from China, Russia, and Iran, and recommends a new policy, centered on a reduction in the nation's dependence on foreign oil, which can do for America and the world in the twenty-first century what the containment of the Soviet Union did in the twentieth. Which of America’s essential international commitments can we afford to keep in this time of diminished financial resources?
Democracy's Good Name: The Rise and Risks of the World's Most Popular Form of Government
One of America's leading foreign policy thinkers investigates the reasons for democracy's exponential rise in the last century and critically examines democracy's potential in the Middle East, Russia, and China.
Publishers Weekly review:
"Democracy, until recently, was an anomaly in a landscape of monarchies, dictatorships and empires; its critics " including America's founding fathers " associated it with mob rule and demagogic tyranny. In this engaging treatise, Mandelbaum explains how the modern democratic fusion of popular sovereignty " i.e., majority rule " with individual liberty came to dominate the world's polities. His first reason is straightforward: democracy works. Democratic nations, he notes, especially the flagship democracies of Britain and the U.S., are wealthier, stronger and more stable and inspire other countries to emulate them. His second, more provocative explanation, is that the modern spread of free markets provides a "school for democracy" by establishing private property (the fundamental liberty), respect for law, civil society, organized economic interests as the forerunners of political parties, and the habit of settling differences by negotiation and compromise rather than violence....Readers will find a lucid, accessible blend of history, political science and sociology, with a wealth of fresh insights into the making of the contemporary world."
The Case for Goliath: How America Acts as the World's Government in the 21st Century
America's many critics charge that the United States uses its enormous power to threaten and to harm other countries, that the U.S. has become a dangerous empire. In The Case For Goliath, Michael Mandelbaum demonstrates that exactly the opposite is true: the United States plays an unprecedentedly positive international role, providing the rest of the world with the kinds of services that governments furnish within the countries they govern. In the 21st Century the United States functions as the world's government.
In this path-breaking and controversial book, Mandelbaum shows how this remarkable role evolved even though neither the U.S. nor any other country sought to establish it, and how countries, even those most critical of American policies, tacitly accept it. He describes the contributions that American power makes to global security, noting that the most important of them are the least controversial and receive the least attention. He identifies both the many American contributions to global prosperity and the dangers to the health of the international economy posed by the nation's energy policies and the worldwide role of the dollar. And he shows how the foreign policy innovations of both the Clinton and Bush administrations, which are unusually thought to be polar opposites, in fact closely resemble each other.
With wisdom and vision, The Case For Goliath analyzes the ways in which other countries have come to accept, resent and exert influence on America's global role, and it assesses the uncertain prospects for sharing the burden of global governance more widely, through a multilateral approach to international security and the management of the global economy.
The Ideas That Conquered the World: Peace, Democracy, and Free Markets in the 21st Century
In this book, which Henry Kissenger hailed as "illuminating and thought-provoking," Mandelbaum describes the uneven spread (over the past two centuries) of peace, democracy, and free markets from the wealthy and powerful countries of the world's core, where they originated, to the weaker and poorer countries of its periphery. He assesses the prospects for these ideas in the years to come, giving particular attention to the United States, which bears the greatest responsibility for protecting and promoting them, and to Russia, China, and the Middle East, in which they are not well-established and where their fate will affect the rest of the world. Drawing on history, politics, and economics, this incisive book provides a clear and original guide to the main trends and fault lines of the 21st century, from globalization and terrorism to great power power conflict and common security.
(Source: Public Affairs)
The Meaning of Sports: Why Americans Watch Baseball, Football, and Basketball and What They See When They Do
In The Meaning of Sports, Mandelbaum examines America's century-long love affair with baseball, football, and basketball. He shows how each of these games experienced a golden age when the values that it embodies were most prized by the culture. He demonstrates how sports respond to deep human needs; describes the ways in which baseball, football, and basketball became national institutions and how they reached their present forms; and covers the evolution of rules, the rise and fall of the most successful teams, and the historical significance of the most famous and influential figures such as Babe Ruth, George Steinbrenner, Red Grange, Vince Lombardi, Bill Russell, and Michael Jordan.
(Source: Perseus Books)