Thursday, July 24, 2008

Minor book progress

I don't know whether or not I will blog very much about the book I'm writing, and which has been slow to get into digital form even though I have a pretty good picture in my mind of what should be in it. The tentative title is "Beyond Empire," and it will advocate a strategy of what I described in a Register article as "strategic disengagement" from the world outside North America. That wouldn't mean disengagement on the economic, cultural, tourist, and even friend-of-human-rights-level, just on the political and military levels.

I'm happy to say I am rereading parts of Eric Nordlinger's 1994 book, "Isolationism Reconfigured," and thinking what a shame it is that Nordlinger, who taught at Brown, died shortly after he completed the book. I have no idea how effective he would have been on TV, the only medium that seems to matter, but if he had lived I am sure he would have engaged critics and sympathizers alike in ways that would have given his thesis more widespread currency than it has yet attained.

Although passionate in places, Nordlinger's is the book of a polit9ical scientist. Having been a political science major, I have no trouble understanding it, but it's quite academic in tone. My book will be the book of a journalist, which I hope means it will be scrupulous about facts while speaking to newspaper and Internet readers who might be unfamiliar with academic jargon or special academic definitions. Anyway, rereading parts of Nordlinger's book caused me to tinker with the outline a bit, and do some revisions on the introduction. I may offer more fairly frequently, or you may hear little for months.

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