Review: Ideas and Foreign Policy: Beliefs, Institutions, and Political Change

4 Star, Diplomacy, Information Operations
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4.0 out of 5 stars Too general for modern application, January 19, 2008

Judith Goldstein

+ Ideas as roadmaps.

+ Ideas embedded in institutions “take over” in the absence of innovation

+ Decolonialization was an example of new ideas taking over (this really set me off, since I have a passing familiarity with wars of national liberation, CIA's legacy of ashes in Africa and elsewhere, blood diamonds, mercenary and gutter rats using war as their only path to wealth, women and wine, and of course the proxy wars and the rush by the US, UK, and Russia to sell arms indiscriminately to anyone [US sells three times more than UK and five times more than Russia].

+ Better example would be Yale and apartheid. When sub-state actors started shunning South African stock, *and* the white minority realized they could be over-run and exterminated by the black majority, the two in combination led to the release and rise of Nelson Mandela and the somewhat conniving and less than convivial collaboration of De Klerk.

+ Ideas can be especially strong in times of crisis.

+ Ideas create culture; culture defines truth (social construction of reality) and truth as it is perceived defines policy and behavior.

On balance this book disappoints. I raise it from three to four stars to provide for the possibility that I am at fault in failing to appreciate the totality of the book. It is not a five because for over a decade OSS.Net has been operating at the neighborhood and tribal levels of granularity, and for the past five years, pioneering the monitoring of sermons by province, and family beliefs and networks across tens of nations. Domestically we follow “the new political compass” of Paul Ray, and observe the nuanced changes as left-right agree on civil liberties, and Walll Street=0Ecotopia begin to agree on green chemistry, beneficial bacteria, and green to gold operations.

Other books I recommend:
Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography
Manufacture of Evil: Ethics, Evolution, and the Industrial System
Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West
Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin
Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth'
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming
A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq

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