Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Dangerous Nation

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Dangerous Nation

America's Place in the World from Its Earliest Days to the Dawn of the Twentieth Century

by Robert Kagan

Dangerous Nation by Robert Kagan
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2006, 544 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2007, 544 pages

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Robert Kagan is senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and a columnist for The Washington Post (he writes a monthly column on international affairs). He is also a contributing editor at the Weekly Standard and the New Republic. He served in the U.S. State Department from 1984 to 1988 as a member of the Policy Planning Staff, as a principal speechwriter for Secretary of State George P. Shultz, and as deputy for policy in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs.

He is the author of

  • A Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977–1990.
  • Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order (2003), which remained on the New York Times bestseller list for ten weeks and the Washington Post bestseller list for 14 weeks. It was also a bestseller in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Canada, and has been translated into more than 25 languages.
  • Dangerous Nation: America's Place in the World from Its Earliest Days to the Dawn of the Twentieth Century (2006).

He is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and holds a PhD in American History from American University. He was born in Athens, Greece, in 1958 and is married to Victoria Nuland, currently the U.S. ambassador to NATO. They live in Brussels and have two children, Elena and David.


Interesting Link: Power and Weakness, Kagan's 2002 essay in which he stated that "Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus." and that "it is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world, or even that they occupy the same world". He goes on to say that whereas Europe is turning away from power, "The United States, meanwhile, remains mired in history, exercising power in the anarchic Hobbesian world where international laws and rules are unreliable and where true security and the defense and promotion of a liberal order still depend on the possession and use of military might." This essay was later expanded into his 2003 book, Of Paradise and Power, which ruffled feathers in Europe and was met with applause by American neoconservatives.

This article was originally published in December 2006, and has been updated for the November 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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