The Freedom Agenda
James Traub
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Buy *The Freedom Agenda: Why America Must Spread Democracy (Just Not the Way George Bush Did)* by James Traub online

The Freedom Agenda: Why America Must Spread Democracy (Just Not the Way George Bush Did)
James Traub
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
272 pages
Septmber 2008
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Naïveté and hubris

This excellently-written and interesting roundup of the history of America's "Freedom Agenda" - its promotion of democracy abroad - particularly references George W. Bush's "War on Terror" and how that has influenced global opinion on the United States.

Author James Traub looks closely at the experience of democracy in the Philippines, Mali and Egypt, as well as the different ways in which presidents have approached the dissemination of democracy. He covers well the difficulties that Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib have caused in global views of America's brand of democracy and encapsulated much of outsiders' views of the Freedom Agenda as 'naïveté and hubris.'

This book is perhaps a little disappointing in that offers few recommendations for the future under Barack Obama. What's clear from history is that democracy works very differently and takes a very different form depending on the country, and that few successes in one situation can be automatically applied to others. What was also surprising to this British reader is the vast amount of money the U.S. pays to other nations to try to bargain – much of which seems to do little good. It would have been good to explore how this money might be more effectively used, and whether the cost of spreading democracy is considered worthwhile by the average American.

Overall a very good read, The Freedom Agenda provides much food for thought.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Helen Hancox, 2008

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