Friends, Foes, and Future Directions: U.S. Partnerships in a Turbulent World (Strategic Rethink) EBOOK

friends

by Hans Binnendijk

Report evaluates strategies for dealing with U.S. partners and adversaries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East in a time of diminishing defense budgets and an American public preference for a domestic focus.

 

CHAPTER ONE. Introduction; CHAPTER TWO. The Partnership Setting; The Historical Importance of U.S. Partnerships; Global Trends Affecting U.S. Partnerships; Partnerships Increasingly Require U.S. Political Flexibility; Alternative U.S. Approaches to Partnership Engagement; CHAPTER THREE. Anatomy of the Potential Adversaries; China; Russia; North Korea; Iran; Salafi Jihadists; Cooperation Among Potential Adversaries; These Adversaries Create Vulnerable Partners; Back to Bipolarity?
Formidable Adversaries Make U.S. Retrenchment Difficult on Its Partners A Strategy for Dealing with Potential Adversaries; CHAPTER FOUR. U.S. Constraints Limit Assertiveness; U.S. Attitudes Toward Global Responsibility; Shifting Global Defense Spending; Is the United States Overextended?; U.S. Power to Coerce; U.S. Energy Exports to Partners; The Impact of Budgetary Constraints and Public Attitude; CHAPTER FIVE. European Partners and the “Free Rider” Problem; Paradigm Lost; Vulnerable Partners; Declining Capabilities and Will in Europe
Three Pivotal Partners: The United Kingdom, Germany, and Turkey Can Venus Become Mars?; Assessing the Historical “Free Rider” Problem; Transatlantic Trade and Security; Europe in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia; A Regional Strategy for Europe; CHAPTER SIX. Asian Partners and Inadequate Security Structures; The U.S. Pivot to Asia; Strategic Dangers in Asia; Areas of Tension and Vulnerable Nations; Asia’s Security Architecture Is Underdeveloped; Two Pivotal Partners: Japan and India; The Trans-Pacific Partnership; Military Options for Dealing with China
Potential Strategies for Managing China A Regional Strategy for Asia; CHAPTER SEVEN. In Search of a Middle East Partnership Strategy; The Middle East Today; Vulnerable American Partners; Layers of Chaos and Contradiction; Pivotal Partners: Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan; Russia Joins the Fray; Alternatives for a New Middle East Strategy; CHAPTER EIGHT. Conclusion: Choosing an Approach; Abbreviations; References

 

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Club Red: Vacation Travel and the Soviet Dream (EBOOK)

club

by Diane P. Koenker

The Bolsheviks took power in Russia 1917 armed with an ideology centered on the power of the worker. From the beginning, however, Soviet leaders also realized the need for rest and leisure within the new proletarian society and over subsequent decades struggled to reconcile the concept of leisure with the doctrine of communism, addressing such fundamental concerns as what the purpose of leisure should be in a workers’ state and how socialist vacations should differ from those enjoyed by the capitalist bourgeoisie.

In Club Red, Diane P. Koenker offers a sweeping and insightful history of Soviet vacationing and tourism from the Revolution through perestroika. She shows that from the outset, the regime insisted that the value of tourism and vacation time was strictly utilitarian. Throughout the 1920s and ’30s, the emphasis was on providing the workers access to the “repair shops” of the nation’s sanatoria or to the invigorating journeys by foot, bicycle, skis, or horseback that were the stuff of “proletarian tourism.” Both the sedentary vacation and tourism were part of the regime’s effort to transform the poor and often illiterate citizenry into new Soviet men and women.

Koenker emphasizes a distinctive blend of purpose and pleasure in Soviet vacation policy and practice and explores a fundamental paradox: a state committed to the idea of the collective found itself promoting a vacation policy that increasingly encouraged and then had to respond to individual autonomy and selfhood. The history of Soviet tourism and vacations tells a story of freely chosen mobility that was enabled and subsidized by the state. While Koenker focuses primarily on Soviet domestic vacation travel, she also notes the decisive impact of travel abroad (mostly to other socialist countries), which shaped new worldviews, created new consumer desires, and transformed Soviet vacation practices.

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Bending Steel: Modernity and the American Superhero (EBOOK)

bending

by Aldo J. Regalado

“Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound . . . It’s Superman!” Bending Steel examines the historical origins and cultural significance of Superman and his fellow American crusaders. Cultural historian Aldo J. Regalado asserts that the superhero seems a direct response to modernity, often fighting the interrelated processes of industrialization, urbanization, immigration, and capitalism that transformed the United States from the early nineteenth century to the present. Reeling from these exciting but rapid and destabilizing forces, Americans turned to heroic fiction as a means of explaining national and personal identities to themselves and to the world. In so doing, they created characters and stories that sometimes affirmed, but other times subverted conventional notions of race, class, gender, and nationalism.

The cultural conversation articulated through the nation’s early heroic fiction eventually led to a new heroic type―the brightly clad, super-powered, pro-social action heroes that first appeared in American comic books starting in the late 1930s. Although indelibly shaped by the Great Depression and World War II sensibilities of the second-generation immigrants most responsible for their creation, comic book superheroes remain a mainstay of American popular culture.

Tracing superhero fiction all the way back to the nineteenth century, Regalado firmly bases his analysis of dime novels, pulp fiction, and comics in historical, biographical, and reader response sources. He explores the roles played by creators, producers, and consumers in crafting superhero fiction, ultimately concluding that these narratives are essential for understanding vital trajectories in American culture.

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#Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media (EBOOK)

republic

by Cass R. Sunstein

As the Internet grows more sophisticated, it is creating new threats to democracy. Social media companies such as Facebook can sort us ever more efficiently into groups of the like-minded, creating echo chambers that amplify our views. It’s no accident that on some occasions, people of different political views cannot even understand each other. It’s also no surprise that terrorist groups have been able to exploit social media to deadly effect.

Welcome to the age of #Republic.

In this revealing book, Cass Sunstein, the New York Times bestselling author of Nudge and The World According to Star Wars, shows how today’s Internet is driving political fragmentation, polarization, and even extremism–and what can be done about it.

Thoroughly rethinking the critical relationship between democracy and the Internet, Sunstein describes how the online world creates “cybercascades,” exploits “confirmation bias,” and assists “polarization entrepreneurs.” And he explains why online fragmentation endangers the shared conversations, experiences, and understandings that are the lifeblood of democracy.

In response, Sunstein proposes practical and legal changes to make the Internet friendlier to democratic deliberation. These changes would get us out of our information cocoons by increasing the frequency of unchosen, unplanned encounters and exposing us to people, places, things, and ideas that we would never have picked for our Twitter feed.

#Republic need not be an ironic term. As Sunstein shows, it can be a rallying cry for the kind of democracy that citizens of diverse societies most need.

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