Guide The Godfather Doctrine A Foreign Policy Parable

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Policymakers can strive at best to manage, not resolve, the inherent tension between these approaches. And indeed, managing that tension is at the heart of the foreign-policy challenges facing our new president.

Hulsman, Mitchell on The Godfather Doctrine: Understanding American Foreign Policy In Brief

Wess Mitchell, Princeton University Press, 85 pp, Spring Mr. Americans do not hold the realist tenet that countries do not have friends, only interests.

A Foreign Policy Parable

Read Next. Wess Mitchell is one of the best foreign-policy 'books' I've read in a long time. They make a good argument, and The Godfather Doctrineis too much fun to be read only by policy wonks. The Godfather has always been a joy to watch; however, given the present changes in the world's power structure, the movie becomes a startlingly useful metaphor for the strategic problems of our times. Louis Post-Dispatch, George Kennan.

John C. Hulsman Enterprises

Henry Kissinger. Michael Corleone? Yes, at this critical historical juncture, the fictional antihero is making a foreign-policy offer that two specialists in the field believe we can't refuse. The Godfather 's 'unlikely wisdom' for our challenging times--as a new president attempts to preserve America's global standing in the face of war, economic crisis, and rising great powers--is elucidated in this funny, smart book, an expanded version of a widely read article John C.

Wess Mitchell published last year. The Godfather Doctrine creatively transposes the iconic film that director Francis Ford Coppola intended as an allegory of American capitalism onto contemporary geopolitics. Through the untinted prism of realism.

Publisher Description

That's what the authors argue. The 'Pax Corleone' allegory, so imperfect and ironic, is their clever yet thought-provoking way of summoning us to become, pragmatically, our best selves.

Dream City, Reality City--can they coexist, even ascend, in peace? For 10 recessionary bucks, The Godfather Doctrine forces us to think about how. Made to resemble a US passport, this slim volume argues for a return to realism in US foreign policy by means of allegory based on the Francis Ford Coppola film The Godfather.

Corleone's circumstances mirror the state of our nation and hold lessons for its future, according to the two international-relations experts who wrote The Godfather Doctrine, out this week. Co-authors John C.

Book review The Godfather Doctrine: A Foreign Policy Parable

Wess Mitchell are a rare pair: entertaining and instructive. Show More Show Less. Pre-owned Pre-owned.


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In the schema Hulsman and Mitchell sketch, Mafia families such as the Tattaglias and the Barzinis are akin to great powers Russia, China , whereas Sollozzo is like a rogue state. The hero of the study is the youngest Corleone son, Michael, a pragmatist whose approach the authors identify with a foreign-policy realism. This outlook is most characteristic of a group of moderate Republicans—figures like former senator Chuck Hagel and retired general Colin Powell, as well as former president George H. Any broad analogy like this invites critics to quibble.

The Godfather Doctrine: A Foreign Policy Parable

For example, the authors produce a labored, unconvincing epilogue that seeks to explain how the climactic bloodbath unleashed by Michael—which seems anything but a triumph of realism—fits into their analytic framework. Such faultfinding, however, misses the forest for the trees. The analogy is intended to be illustrative, not precise, and its thrust—that American foreign-policy makers need to abandon neoconservative dogmatism in favor of flexibility and pragmatism—is clear enough.

But the real trouble with The Godfather Doctrine is its misleading portrayal of liberalism.

Contra the unfailingly centrist analysis of The Godfather Doctrine , the realist tradition has not been simply stranded in the middle as equally wrong ideas on left and right have taken hold. Rather, the realist and liberal conclusions about the way forward have been converging.