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Imperial Graveyard

Samuel Moyn: Richard Holbrooke, 6 February 2020

Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century 
by George Packer.
Cape, 592 pp., £25, May 2019, 978 1 910702 92 5
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... Richard​ Holbrooke is the only American diplomat since the Vietnam War to have become a full-throttle celebrity, as likely to appear in the tabloids clutching a woman as putting forward a policy proposal in Foreign Affairs. In his thirst for publicity and enthusiasm for the pantomime of statesmanship, only Holbrooke’s nemesis, Henry Kissinger, compares ...

The Mask It Wears

Pankaj Mishra: The Wrong Human Rights, 21 June 2018

The People v. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It 
by Yascha Mounk.
Harvard, 400 pp., £21.95, March 2018, 978 0 674 97682 5
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Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World 
by Samuel Moyn.
Harvard, 277 pp., £21.95, April 2018, 978 0 674 73756 3
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... American liberals​ , Samuel Moyn wrote last year in Dissent, have never broken ‘with the exceptionalist outlook that cast the United States as uniquely virtuous’, but having Trump in the ‘cockpit of American power’ will reveal ‘just how terrifyingly normal a nation we are, with our populist jingoism and hawkish foreign policy ...

Heresy from Lesser Voices

Andrew Preston: The Helsinki Conference, 20 June 2019

The Final Act: The Helsinki Accords and the Transformation of the Cold War 
by Michael Cotey Morgan.
Princeton, 424 pp., £27, November 2018, 978 0 691 17606 2
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... for the individual against the power of the state. But as historians such as Thomas Borstelmann, Samuel Moyn and Daniel Sargent have pointed out, if one side of the individualist coin bore the impression of human rights, the other side was stamped with neoliberalism.* By this time Western countries, especially the US and Britain, had begun the painful ...

Un Dret Egal

David A. Bell: Political Sentiment, 15 November 2007

Inventing Human Rights: A History 
by Lynn Hunt.
Norton, 272 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 0 393 06095 9
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... breezy 38 pages, concentrating on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. The historian Samuel Moyn has taken her to task for these omissions, and particularly for ignoring the 1960s and the Helsinki process, which arguably brought the concept of ‘human rights’ to the centre of modern world politics. Hunt has invited this criticism by ...

Memory Failure

Pankaj Mishra: Germany’s Commitment to Israel, 4 January 2024

Subcontractors of Guilt: Holocaust Memory and Muslim Belonging in Postwar Germany 
by Esra Özyürek.
Stanford, 264 pp., £25.99, March, 978 1 5036 3556 2
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Never Again: Germans and Genocide after the Holocaust 
by Andrew Port.
Harvard, 352 pp., £30.95, May, 978 0 674 27522 5
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... Thunberg openly sympathises with the Palestinians.’ An open letter from Adam Tooze, Samuel Moyn and other academics criticising Jürgen Habermas’s statement in support of Israel’s actions provoked an editor at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to claim that Jews have an ‘enemy’ at universities in the form of postcolonial ...

Warfare State

Thomas Meaney, 5 November 2020

The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities 
by John J. Mearsheimer.
Yale, 320 pp., £20, November 2018, 978 0 300 23419 0
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Republic in Peril: American Empire and the Liberal Tradition 
by David Hendrickson.
Oxford, 304 pp., £25.49, December 2017, 978 0 19 066038 3
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... Aziz Rana, Jeanne Morefield, Nicholas Mulder, Christy Thornton, Daniel Bessner, Stephen Wertheim, Samuel Moyn et al. Their views share a sense of the incapacity of US force to achieve the lofty objectives invested in it, and their prescriptions range from an immediate moratorium on military interventions to a ‘grand strategy for the many’ that seeks ...

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