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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $19.95

320 pp.
6 1/8" x 9 1/4"


Publication date:
July 2008

Imprint: OUP US

To Lead the World

American Strategy after the Bush Doctrine

Edited by Melvyn P. Leffler and Jeffrey W. Legro

U.S. national security policy is at a critically important crossroads. The Bush Doctrine of unilateralism, pre-emptive war, and the imposition of democracy by force has proven disastrous. The United States now finds itself vilified abroad, weakened at home, and bogged down in a seemingly endless and unwinnable war.
In To Lead the World, Melvyn P. Leffler and Jeffery W. Legro bring together eleven of America's most esteemed writers and thinkers to offer concrete, historically grounded suggestions for how America can regain its standing in the world and use its power more wisely than it has during the Bush years. Best-selling authors such as David Kennedy, Niall Ferguson, Robert Kagan, Francis Fukuyama, and Samantha Power address such issues as how the US can regain its respect in the world, respond to the biggest threats now facing the country, identify reasonable foreign policy goals, manage the growing debt burden, achieve greater national security, and successfully engage a host of other problems left unsolved and in many cases exacerbated by the Bush Doctrine. Representing a wide range of perspectives, the writers gathered here place the current foreign-policy predicament firmly in the larger context of American and world history and draw upon realistic appraisals of both the strengths and the limits of American power. They argue persuasively that the kind of leadership that made the United States a great--and greatly admired--nation in the past can be revitalized to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Written by prize-winning authors and filled with level-headed, far-sighted, and achievable recommendations, To Lead the World will serve as a primary source of political wisdom in the post-Bush era and will add immeasurably to the policy debates surrounding the 2008 presidential election.


  • "If you have to choose only one book to read on American foreign policy in 2008, this should be it. A superb group of scholars and practitioners have crystallized the basic strategic choices and policy options facing a new administration. They disagree sharply among themselves, but these are exactly the debates that Americans, and people around the world, should be having."--Anne-Marie Slaughter, co-director of Princeton Project on National Security, Princeton University
  • "A timely, readable and useful book, for policymakers and citizens alike. Leffler and Legro have assembled just the right thinkers, with just the right degree of diversity in their views, to address the major issues of our time and the crucial question of how the U.S. can regain its leadership of the international community."--Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution
  • "With U.S. foreign policy in shambles and with even more crises on the horizon, the next president has to actually read this book. The only chance of our coming out of the next several years in one piece is to have a good strategy, and these challenging essays tell the president what his/her strategic choices will be."--Leslie H. Gelb, former New York Times columnist and president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations

Melvyn P. Leffler and Jeffrey W. Legro: Introduction
1. Stephen Van Evera: American Grand Strategy for the New Era
2. Robert Kagan: End of Dreams, Return of History
3. Charles S. Maier: Beyond Statecraft: American Foreign Policy and Global Social Transformation
4. G. John Ikenberry: Grand Strategy as Liberal Order Building
5. James Kurth: An American Strategy for Global Law and Order
6. Samantha Power: U.S. Foreign Policy after Bush
7. David M. Kennedy: Two Concepts of Sovereignty
8. Barry Eichengreen and Douglas A. Irwin: The Bush Legacy for America's International Economic Policy
9. Francis Fukuyama: American Foreign Policy After the Bush Administration
10. Niall Ferguson: The Problem of Conjecture: American Strategy after the Bush Doctrine
11. Melvyn P. Leffler and Jeffrey W. Legro: Dilemmas of Strategy

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Melvyn P. Leffler is Edward Stettinius Professor of American History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of many books on the Cold War, U.S. national security policy, and American foreign relations, including A Preponderance of Power and For the Soul of Mankind.

Jeffrey W. Legro is Compton Professor of World Politics and Chair, Department of Politics at the University of Virginia. A specialist on international relations, Legro is the author of Cooperation under Fire and Rethinking the World. He has served as a consultant to foundations, think tanks, and government agencies.

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Special Features

  • Eleven leading thinkers offer compelling new ideas for the future of American foreign policy in the post-Bush era