the spirit of community: rights, responsibilities and the communitarian agendaby amitai etzioni

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  • The Spirit of Community: Rights, Responsibilities and the Communitarian Agenda by AmitaiEtzioniReview by: Andrew J. PierreForeign Affairs, Vol. 72, No. 4 (Sep. - Oct., 1993), pp. 151-152Published by: Council on Foreign RelationsStable URL: .Accessed: 16/06/2014 11:07

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  • Recent Books

    on International Relations

    Political and Legal ANDREW J. PIERRE

    Bridging the Gap: Theory and Practice in

    Foreign Policy, by Alexander

    george. Washington: United States

    Institute of Peace Press, 1993,162 pp.

    $24.95 (paper, $14.95). This gem of a book should be of com

    pelling interest to the many in the foreign affairs community who have an interest in

    both policy and theory. Only a seasoned

    scholar who has also networked in the

    policy arena, as has Alexander George,

    could have written it. Bridging the Gap is a

    well-chosen title. George addresses the

    values and needs of the two cultures, academia and government, in their

    respective searches for knowledge and

    action. He suggests what might be differ

    ent types of policy-relevant knowledge by

    examining six strategies that the United

    States pursued toward Iraq in 1988-91. All

    but one of these were ineffective, he

    argues, due to the weak knowledge base

    underlying the strategy. The trick for

    analysts is not only knowledge as such,

    but its presentation in a

    policy-relevant manner to the decision-maker, who often

    must act on the basis of many still unfold

    ing and unknown factors.

    The Spirit of Community: Rights, Respon sibilities and the Communitarian Agen da, by AMiTAi ETZiONi. New York:

    Crown Publishers, 1993,313 pp. $22.00.

    This is a book for the 1990s. An eminent

    sociologist and political thinker, Amitai Etzioni senses the pervasive

    unease in

    our present society and calls for a new

    social movement based on the spirit and

    action of community. The "communitari

    an" approach he advocates involves

    mutual obligations between parent and

    child as well as moral education in

    schools. It is an appealing vision that

    seeks improvement in our social and

    political environment, emphasizing

    responsibilities to others as well as indi

    vidual rights. Certainly, it is a far cry

    from the "me first" philosophy of the

    1980s. Yet Etzioni's imaginative thesis

    falters when it comes to implementation.

    Call for any book reviewed or advertised in Foreign Affairs

    Every book reviewed or advertised in Foreign Affairs can now be ordered through Book Call.

    Prompt shipment worldwide, express service available. Major credit cards welcome. Mailing

    address: Foreign Affairs, c/o Book Call, 59 Elm Street, New Canaan, CT, U.S.A. 06840.

    Call 1-800-255-2665. Worldwide: 203-966-5470. Fax: 203-966-4329.


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  • Recent Books

    Here he calls for reforming American

    politics by reducing the influence of spe cial interests, banning political action

    committees, and a variety of measures to

    reduce the corrupting flow of money in

    politics. This is most desirable, but the

    spread of "communitarianism" risks a

    slow start if it is depends on first trans

    forming the political system.

    National Identity, by Anthony d.

    smith. Reno (NV): University of Nevada Press, 1991,198 pp. $29.95

    (paper, $12.95). Nations Without Nationalism, by julia

    kristeva. New York: Columbia

    University Press, 1993,102 pp. $18.50. We have entered a period of renewed

    nationalism and ethnic conflict in the

    post-Cold War world. But what exactly is

    nationalism? Anthony Smith, a British

    sociologist, is a longtime student of this

    question. His latest book, examining the

    nature, causes and consequences of

    national identity, could not be more rele

    vant to our times. Nations and national

    ism, he argues, are not simply political bodies and ideology, but cultural phe nomena. They are multidimensional and

    encompass language, sentiments and

    symbolism. Thus the Basques, Kurds and

    Tamils form a clear national identity even

    without a state of their own, recognition of which contributes to turmoil and con

    flict. Julia Kristeva addresses the question from quite another perspective, that of a

    French psychoanalyst and linguistics expert. She writes about people's feelings of "otherness" or "strangeness." When

    confronted with an environment different

    from their own, they withdraw into their

    familiar ethnicity. Nationalism then

    becomes a form of "defensive hatred" and, in her thinking, is associated with jingo

    ism, skinheads and extremes. In this

    short, very personal essay she appeals for a

    cosmopolitanism that transcends today's more virulent forms of nationalism.

    The Promises We Keep: Human Rights, the Helsinki Process and American Foreign

    Policy, by William KOREY. New York:

    St. Martin's Press, 1993,518 pp. $45.00. This is a long, detailed and knowledge able history of the Helsinki process, from the origins of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe to the recent

    past. The author, who served for many

    years as Director of International Policy Research at B'nai B'rith, concentrates

    almost wholly on the human rights com

    ponent of the process; the important eco

    nomic and security dimensions will be

    the work of another author. He tells the

    story extremely well, having closely fol

    lowed the issues through the years and

    been personally acquainted with many of

    the participants. Initially the United

    States was quite skeptical and played a

    passive role in the Helsinki process, Sec

    retary of State Kissinger viewing it as

    either inconsequential or a Soviet ploy. But its value as an instrument with which

    to press for improved human rights in the

    Soviet Union and Eastern Europe even

    tually made for a turnaround in the

    American approach. How this came

    about is at the heart of this tale.

    Multilateralism Matters: The Theory and

    Praxis of an Institutional Form, edited


    Columbia University Press, 1993, 474

    pp. $60.00.

    [152] FOREIGN AFFAIRS Volume72No.4

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    Article Contentsp. 151p. 152

    Issue Table of ContentsForeign Affairs, Vol. 72, No. 4 (Sep. - Oct., 1993), pp. I-VI, 1-194Front MatterEditor's Note [pp. V-VI]Comments: Responses to Samuel P. Huntington's "The Clash of Civilizations?"The Summoning: 'But They Said, We Will Not Hearken' [pp. 2-9]The Dangers of Decadence: What the Rest Can Teach the West [pp. 10-14]The Case for Optimism: The West Should Believe in Itself [pp. 15-18]Civilization Grafting: No Culture Is an Island [pp. 19-21]The Modernizing Imperative: Tradition and Change [pp. 22-26]

    EssaysBuilding a New NATO [pp. 28-40]The Collapse of 'The West' [pp. 41-53]Japan's Non-Revolution [pp. 54-65]Can NAFTA Change Mexico? [pp. 66-80]Oil: Reopening the Door [pp. 81-93]The Battle for Egypt [pp. 94-107]Freedom and Its Discontents [pp. 108-125]Holding Together South Africa [pp. 126-136]

    ReviewsReview EssayReview: Playing a Good Hand: The Secrets of Shultz's Success [pp. 138-143]Review: The End of Churchillmania? Reappraising the Legend [pp. 144-150]

    Recent Books on International RelationsPolitical and LegalReview: untitled [p. 151-151]Review: untitled [pp. 151-152]Review: untitled [p. 152-152]Review: untitled [p. 152-152]Review: untitled [pp. 152-153]Review: untitled [p. 153-153]Review: untitled [pp. 153-154]

    Military, Scientific and TechnologicalReview: untitled [p. 154-154]Review: untitled [pp. 154-155]Review: untitled [p. 155-155]Review: untitled [pp. 155-156]Review: untitled [p. 156-156]Review: untitled [p. 156-156]Review: untitled [p. 156-156]Review: untitled [pp. 156-157]

    Economic, Social and EnvironmentalReview: untitled [p. 157-157]Review: untitled [pp. 157-158]Review: untitled [p. 158-158]Review: untitled [pp. 158-159]Review: untitled [p. 159-159]Review: untitled [p. 159-159]Review: untitled [p. 159-159]

    The United StatesReview: untitled [p. 160-160]Review: untitled [pp. 160-161]Re


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