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Smart Power: Toward a Prudent Foreign Policy for America (Washington, Cato Institute, 2008)

The United States confronts a host of foreign policy problems in the 21st Century, yet the Republic's security strategy is increasingly muddled and counterproductive.  The litany of misplaced priorities and policy failures grows ever larger.  More than five years after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, Amercian forces remain mired in an expensive nation-building mission in Iraq.  Washington's goal of making Iraq a united, secular, democratic model that that would transform the political environment of the Middle East looks today like a fool's errand.  Instead, the U.S. invasion of Iraq destablized that country and removed the principal regional strategic counterweight to Iran, greatly strengthening Tehran's power and influence and serving as the perfect recruiting poster for al-Queda.

Disagreements over Iraq policy as well as other matters have soured Washington's relations with its longtime European allies.  NATO is foundering in Afghanistan and displays a growing lack of cohesion and relevance.  At the same time, tensions are growing between the United States and Russia, North Korea, and Iran. The Taiwan issue has the potential to cause serious trouble in the coming years.

These and other foreign policy challenges that America confronts in the 21st century are discussed in this book, along with a diagnosis of what is wrong with Washington's current approach and an outline of an laternative strategy that would protect America's security while avoiding unnecessary and unrewarding military adventures.  Purchase this book

America's Coming War with China: A Collision Course Over Taiwan, (New York: Palgrave/ Macmillan, 2006)

One issue could lead to a disastrous war between the United States and China in the next decade or so: Taiwan.  In early 2005, China passed an anti-secession law that authorized the use of force against Taiwan should it declare independence, raising tensions in a region where emotions are already running high.  Many see the move as one step closer to war breaking out between China and Taiwan.  A growing number of Taiwanese want independence for their island and regard mainland China as an alien nation.  Mainland Chinese believe Taiwan was stolen from China more than a century ago, and their patience about getting it back is wearing thin.  Washington officially endorses a "one China" policy but also sells arms to Taiwan and maintains an implicit pledge to defend it from attack.  That policy invites miscalculation by both Taiwan and China.  The three parties are on a collision course, and unless something drramatic changes, an armed conflict is likely at some point.  In America's Coming War With China, Carpenter warns what the United States must do--quickly--to avoid being dragged into war.   Purchase this book

The Korean Conundrum:America's Troubled Relations with North and South Korea, coauthor, (New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2004)

For over fifty years, one of America's key security commitments has been to protect South Korea from North Korea.  A product of happenstance brought on by the end of World War II and frozen in time by the Cold War, the division of the peninsula once played a key role in America's containment of global communism.  Now, over ten years after the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of communism as a serious threat to liberal democracy, the tensions between the two Koreas are a problem from another era.  With two heavily armed opponents, North Korea's nuclear pretensions, and a sizeable contingent of U.S. forces added to the mix, Korea remains an unstable and dangerous flashpoint.

The United States seems to be heading toward a confrontation with North Korea, as Koreans in the South and nations around the world anxiously witness mounting tension.  Carpenter and Doug Bandow take a look at the twin crises now afflicting U.S. policy in East Asia: the reemergence of North Korea's nuclear weapons program and the growing anti-American sentiment in South Korea.  They question whether Washington's East Asia security strategy makes sense with American forces spread thin with the Iraq war and with the looming prospect of U.S. troops stationed in South Korea becoming nuclear hostages.  Carpenter and Bandow put forth the most provocative solution yet to this gnarled and dangerous situation.  Purchase this book.

Bad Neighbor policy: Washington's Futile War on Drugs in Latin America (New York: Pelgrave/Macmillan, 2003)

The domestic phase of Washington's war on drugs has received considerable criticism over the years from Milton Friedman, William F. Buckley, Kurt Schmoke, and other luminaries who have catalogued its destructive effects on American society.  More recent converts such as New Mexico governor Gary Johnson have proclaimed the same.  Until recently, however, most critics have not stressed the damage that the international phase of the drug war has done to our Latin American neighbors.  That lack of attention has begun to change, and some disenchantment with the hemispheric drug war has been heard. 

Some prominent Latin American political leaders have dared to criticize Washington's actions and even hint that the option of legalization should be considered.  At the same time, the U.S. government seems determined to perpetuate, even escalate, the antidrug crusade.  The $1.3 billion military aid package to Colombia approved by Congress in the summer of 2000 confirms that the international phase of the campaign against drugs still has powerful support in Washington.

Spending on federal antidrug measures also continues to increase, and both the domestic and international tactics employed by the government in the name of an uncompromisingly drug-free society bring the inflammatory metaphor of war closer to reality.  Ending the prohibitionist system would produce numerous benefits for the United States and Latin America alike.  In this hard-hitting book, Carpenter takes a broad view of the fiasco that is Washington's drug war and provides a candid portrait of the situation in Latin America.  Bad Neighbor Policy is a must-read for anyone interested in the real story behind our relationship with the countries south of our border.  Purchase this book

Peace & Freedom: Foreign Policy for a constitutional Republic (Washington: Cato Institute, 2002)

The articles in this book are a representative sample of Carpenter's writings on a wide range of foreign policy topics for newspapers, magazines and policy journals.  They present a comprehensive view of what America's strategy should be in dealing with the rest of the world.  This approach, which Carpenter calls "strategic independence", emphasizes a vigorous defense of America's vital interests and a rigorous adherence to America's fundamental values.  Strategic independence rejects the notion that the United States should intervene militarily when vital interests are not at stake.  Promiscuous global interventionism places needless burdens on American taxpayers, entangles the United States in an assortment of irrelevant quarrels, and ultimately puts the lives of all Americans at risk.

Most of Carpenter's conclusions have stood the test of time.  His prediction that the drug war in Latin America would prove to be an endless futile crusade seems even sounder today than when first made in the mid-1980's.  His warnings that Washington's victory in the Persian Gulf War would be merely the beginning of a long and frustrating mission in that region, that nation-building enterprises in such places as Somalia and the Balkans would prove disappointing, and that America's NATO and East Asian allies would continue to free ride on the U.S. security guarantee have been borne out as well.  Most notably, his argument that the United States needed a more coherent and effective strategy to deal with the threat of terrorism seems all too evident in the light of the events of September 11.  These and many other issues are discussed in this book with a combination of historical perspective, strategic insight, and common sense.  Purchase this book

Other Books Written by Ted Galen Carpenter

The Captive Press: Foreigh Policy Crises and the First Amendment (Washington: Cato Institute 1995)  Purchase this book

Beyond NATO: Staying Out of Europe's Wars
(Washington: Cato Institute, 1994  Purchase this book

A Search for Enemies: America's Alliances After the Cold War (Washington: Cato Institute 1992)
Purchase this book

Books Edited by Ted Galen Carpenter

NATO Enters the 21st Century (London:Frank Cass Ltd. 2001)  Purchase this book

China's Future: Constructive Partner or Emerging Threat? co-editor, (Washington:Cato Institute, 2000)
Purchase this book

NATO's Empty Victory: A Postmortem on the Balkan War (Washington:Cato Institute, 2000)  Purchase this book

NATO Enlargement: Illusions and Reality, co-edited, (Washington, Cato Institute, 1998)  Purchase this book

Delusions of Grandeur: The United Nations and Global Intervention (Washington: Cato Institute, 1997)  Purchase this book

The Future of NATO (London: Frank Cass, Ltd., 1995)

The U.S.-South Korean Alliance: Time for a Change, co-edited, (New Brunswick, N.J.:Transaction, 1992)  Purchase this book

America Entangled: The Persian Gulf Crisis and Its Consequences (Washington: Cato Institute, 1991)
Purchase this book

NATO at 40: Confronting a Changing World (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1990)  Purchase this book

Collective Defense or Strategic Independence: Alternative Strategies for the Future (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1989)  Purchase this book