Nancy Soderberg

Nancy E. Soderberg served as a senior official in the Clinton administration and is the author of The Superpower Myth, the Use and Misuse of American Might

Recent Articles

Learning from Iraq

Sands of Empire: Missionary Zeal, American Foreign Policy, and the Hazards of Global Ambition by Robert W. Merry ( Simon & Schuster, 320 pages, $26.00 ) Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq by Larry Diamond ( Times Books, 369 pages, $25.00 ) As the insurgency rages on in Iraq and the costs in American blood and treasure grow, the debate continues at home about the war and America's role in the world. These two new books plunge into that debate, drawing lessons from Iraq about the dangers of misusing American power. Robert W. Merry's Sands of Empire offers a broad philosophical context for the Iraq War, warning against President George W. Bush's missionary zeal in spreading democracy. Unfortunately, Merry's answer is for the United States to withdraw from the world beyond Europe. In contrast, Larry Diamond's Squandered Victory examines America's many mistakes in Iraq but defends a strong international role for the United States...

Ambassador or Embitterer

U.S. policy over the last four years has been driven by the false belief that, as the lone superpower, the United States is powerful enough to bend the world to its will, and John Bolton embodies this dangerous hegemonic ideology. It is a costly myth that has made the superpower burden heavier, not just in having to handle the insurgency in Iraq on its own but also in seeking to garner world coalitions to counter threats from terrorism and proliferators. And the fact that, in recent years, anti-Americanism has spiked to unprecedented levels around the globe has made achieving these goals infinitely harder. Back to Bolton: As the top arms-control official at the State Department, he spent the last four years undermining the very arms control regimes needed to protect the United States in this new age of terrorism. Claiming that he does not “do carrots,” Bolton has consistently undermined efforts to negotiate deals to end the North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons programs. The result...