From Wealth to Power by Fareed Zakaria
(Princeton Studies in International History and Politics)

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Synopsis

What turns rich nations into great powers? How do wealthy countries begin extending their influence abroad? These questions are vital to understanding one of the most important sources of instability in international politics: the emergence of a new power. In From Wealth to Power, Fareed Zakaria seeks to answer these questions by examining the most puzzling case of a rising power in modern history--that of the United States.

If rich nations routinely become great powers, Zakaria asks, then how do we explain the strange inactivity of the United States in the late nineteenth century? By 1885, the U.S. was the richest country in the world. And yet, by all military, political, and diplomatic measures, it was a minor power. To explain this discrepancy, Zakaria considers a wide variety of cases between 1865 and 1908 when the U.S. considered expanding its influence in such diverse places as Canada, the Dominican Republic, and Iceland. Consistent with the realist theory of international relations, he argues that the President and his administration tried to increase the country's political influence abroad when they saw an increase in the nation's relative economic power. But they frequently had to curtail their plans for expansion, he shows, because they lacked a strong central government that could harness that economic power for the purposes of foreign policy. America was an unusual power--a strong nation with a weak state. It was not until late in the century, when power shifted from states to the federal government and from the legislative to the executive branch, that leaders in Washington could mobilize the nation's resources for international influence.

Zakaria's exploration of this tension between national power and state structure will change how we view the emergence of new powers and deepen our understanding of America's exceptional history.

 

About Fareed Zakaria

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American journalist and author Fareed Rafiq Zakaria was born in Mumbai, India on January 20, 1964. He received his B.A. degree from Yale University and his Ph.D. in Political Science in 1993 from Harvard University. Zakaria was the managing editor of Foreign Affairs before becoming the editor of Newsweek International in 2000. He writes a weekly foreign affairs column in the publication and also has a weekly show on CNN called Fareed Zakaria GPS, which premiered in 2008. Prior to that he worked as a news analyst from 2002 to 2007 on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos and hosted the weekly show Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria on PBS. Zakaria has won several awards for his writing and is well known for his Newsweek cover essay, "Why They Hate Us," which was published following the 9/11 attacks. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and Slate and has also published several bestselling books, such as The Future of Freedom and The Post-American World.
 
Published July 26, 1999 by Princeton University Press. 216 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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