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The Observations of John G. Nicolay and John Hay
The United States in the Persian Gulf, 1972–2005
Great powers and grand strategies. It is easy to assume that the most powerful nations pursue and employ consistent, cohesive, and decisive policies in trying to promote their interests in regions of the world. Popular theory emphasizes two such grand strategies that great powers may pursue: balance of power policy or hegemonic domination. But, as Steve A. Yetiv contends, things may not always be that cut and dried. Analyzing the evolution of the United States' foreign policy in the Persian Gulf from 1972 to 2005, Yetiv offers a provocative and panoramic view of American strategies in a region critical to the functioning of the entire global economy. Ten cases—from the policies of the Nixon administration to George W. Bush's war in Iraq—reveal shifting, improvised, and reactive policies that were responses to unanticipated and unpredictable events and threats. In fact, the distinguishing feature of the U.S. experience in the Gulf has been the absence of grand strategy. Yetiv introduces the concept of "reactive engagement" as an alternative approach to understanding the behavior of great powers in unstable regions. At a time when the effects of U.S. foreign policy are rippling across the globe, The Absence of Grand Strategy offers key insight into the nature and evolution of American foreign policy in the Gulf.
Absentee landowning has long been tied to economic distress in Appalachia. In this important revisionist study, Barbara Rasmussen examines the nature of landownership in five counties of West Virginia and its effects upon the counties' economic and social development.
Rasmussen untangles a web of outside domination of the region that commenced before the American Revolution, creating a legacy of hardship that continues to plague Appalachia today. The owners and exploiters of the region have included Lord Fairfax, George Washington, and, most recently, the U.S. Forest Service.
The overarching concern of these absentee landowners has been to control the land, the politics, the government, and the resources of the fabulously rich Appalachian Mountains. Their early and relentless domination of politics assured a land tax system that still favors absentee landholders and simultaneously impoverishes the state.
Class differences, a capitalistic outlook, and an ethic of growth and development pervaded western Virginia from earliest settlement. Residents, however, were quickly outspent by wealthier, more powerful outsiders. Insecurity in landownership, Rasmussen demonstrates, is the most significant difference between early mountain farmers and early American farmers everywhere.
Athan Theoharis, long a respected authority on surveillance and secrecy, established his reputation for meticulous scholarship with his work on the loyalty security program developed under Truman and McCarthy. In Abuse of Power, Theoharis continues his investigation of U.S. government surveillance and historicizes the 9/11 response.
Criticizing the U.S. government's secret activities and policies during periods of "unprecedented crisis," he recounts how presidents and FBI officials exploited concerns about foreign-based internal security threats.
Drawing on information sequestered until recently in FBI records, Theoharis shows how these secret activities in the World War II and Cold War eras expanded FBI surveillance powers and, in the process, eroded civil liberties without substantially advancing legitimate security interests.
Passionately argued, this timely book speaks to the costs and consequences of still-secret post-9/11 surveillance programs and counterintelligence failures. Ultimately, Abuse of Power makes the case that the abusive surveillance policies of the Cold War years were repeated in the government's responses to the September 11 attacks.
Consequences of Diversity in Federal Evaluation Studies
As social action programs in health, education, and welfare have expanded, interest has grown in evaluating their implementation and effectiveness. Policymakers and social planners--at all levels of government and in the private sector--are currently confronted with the problem of evaluating the large number of human service programs that compete for available resources.
Academic and Entrepreneurial Research presents a systematic study of the expenditure of federal funds for evaluation research. It reviews federally-supported evaluations of programs, including evaluations of social change experiments and research-demonstration programs funded by the various executive departments of the federal government. Evaluation studies of these large-scale programs vary in scope, quality, and potential utility. Bernstein and Freeman examine all projects initiated during fiscal year 1970 in order to understand better the methods employed, the types of persons engaged in such research, and expectations regarding the utilization of findings.
The book provides data about "high" and "low" quality evaluation research and contains recommendations for restructuring the entire evaluation research enterprise in light of the findings.
Transforming Governance Through Technology
Successful democracies throughout history--from ancient Athens to Britain on the cusp of the industrial age--have used the technology of their time to gather information for better governance. Our challenge is no different today, but it is more urgent because the accelerating pace of technological change creates potentially enormous dangers as well as benefits. Accelerating Democracy shows how to adapt democracy to new information technologies that can enhance political decision making and enable us to navigate the social rapids ahead.
John O. McGinnis demonstrates how these new technologies combine to address a problem as old as democracy itself--how to help citizens better evaluate the consequences of their political choices. As society became more complex in the nineteenth century, social planning became a top-down enterprise delegated to experts and bureaucrats. Today, technology increasingly permits information to bubble up from below and filter through more dispersed and competitive sources. McGinnis explains how to use fast-evolving information technologies to more effectively analyze past public policy, bring unprecedented intensity of scrutiny to current policy proposals, and more accurately predict the results of future policy. But he argues that we can do so only if government keeps pace with technological change. For instance, it must revive federalism to permit different jurisdictions to test different policies so that their results can be evaluated, and it must legalize information markets to permit people to bet on what the consequences of a policy will be even before that policy is implemented.
Accelerating Democracy reveals how we can achieve a democracy that is informed by expertise and social-scientific knowledge while shedding the arrogance and insularity of a technocracy.
Politics, Policy, and Risky Technologies
Complex and risky technologies--technologies such as new drugs for the treatment of AIDS that promise great benefits to our society but carry significant risks--pose many problems for political leaders and the policy makers responsible for overseeing them. Public agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration are told by political superiors not to inhibit important technological advances and may even be charged with promoting such development but must also make sure that no major accidents occur under their watch. Given the large costs associated with catastrophic accidents, the general public and elected officials often demand reliable or failure-free management of these technologies and have little tolerance for the error. Research in this area has lead to a schism between those who argue that it is possible to have reliable management techniques and safely manage complex technologies and others who contend that such control is difficult at best. In this book C. F. Larry Heimann advances an important solution to this problem by developing a general theory of organizational reliability and agency decision making. The book looks at both external and internal influences on reliability in agency decision making. It then tests theoretical propositions developed in a comparative case study of two agencies involved with the handling of risky technologies: NASA and the manned space flight program and the FDA's handling of pharmaceuticals--particularly new AIDS therapies. Drawing on concepts from engineering, organizational theory, political science, and decision theory, this book will be of interest to those interested in science and technology policy, bureaucratic management and reform, as well as those interested in health and space policy. C. F. Larry Heimann is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University.
2000 and After
Conant explores how the transformation of oil from a commercial commodity to a strategic raw material have changed the face of world energy politics. In an increasingly interdependent world, Conant questions the right of any nation to withold vital supplies from other countries.
Economics and Culture of Transition in Mitteleuropa, the Baltic and the Balkan Area
Besides providing a historical record of the long road from the economic agenda of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution to the present transition from communism, this book can be considered a staunch defense of market capitalism and liberal democracy. Any celebration of the current transition in Eastern Europe necessarily affirms the superiority of a market system over a non-market one and of a democratic system over a non-democratic one. The author does not deny the failures, shortcomings or imperfections of market economy and democracy. Nor does he take the survival of market capitalism and liberal democracy for granted. On the contrary, by highlighting the valiant and painful process of transition and attempting to understand its economics and culture, he seeks to contribute to the theoretical (academic) and practical (political) defense of Western civilization.
Justin Champion is Chair of the History Department at Royal Holloway College, University of London.David Womersley is Thomas Warton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford.