Title The Sovereignty Wars (With a New Preface)
Subtitle Reconciling America with the World
Author Stewart Patrick
ISBN 9780815737810
List price USD 27.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 330
Book size 153 x 229 mm
Publishing year 2019
Original publisher Brookings Institution Press
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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“Stewart Patrick unpacks a complex subject in a short, clear book that could not be more timely. The stakes in the “sovereignty wars” he describes are high and rising for the United States and the world.”

Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America


“With lucidity and verve, Stewart Patrick shows how the right-wing fixation with alleged threats to U.S. sovereignty—from the UN, foreign courts, human rights organizations and other demonic forces--has damaged rather than enhanced American power. I implore the nationalist crowd to overcome its resistance and read this book.”

James Traub, columnist, Foreign Policy, and author of John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit


“Stewart Patrick has written a perfect Guide to the Perplexed that helps sort through the muddled arguments being thrown about today regarding perceived threats to American sovereignty and shows how international engagement often enhances rather than limits U.S. influence.”

Frank Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University


“Can Washington best advance its interests and values through international institutions or through its own national efforts and ad hoc partnership? At times, as Patrick illuminates in this cogent and timely book, this debate has turned into “sovereignty wars,” heated controversies over whether the United States should accept constraints on its autonomy and freedom of action. . . . Cutting through the hyperbole and inflamed rhetoric that tends to surround this subject, Patrick argues that when the United States signs a treaty or ties itself to other countries, it is exercising its sovereign authority, not abdicating it.”

G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs


“Patrick (Council on Foreign Relations) addresses the subject of state sovereignty and its controversial role in US foreign policy—past and present. The book is well-researched and written. Highly Recommended.”



“Some of us look at the U.S., mighty superpower that it still is, and wonder just what in the world is going on. Fake news, Russia-gate, rampant anti-Trumpism, America First rhetoric, citizen polarization and pugnacious confrontations with other nations. How might we make some sense of this? Stewart Patrick’s ambitious book, The Sovereignty Wars: Reconciling America with the World provides some answers.”

Michael Welton, New York Journal of Books


Americans have long been protective of the country’s sovereignty—all the way back to George Washington who, when retiring as president, admonished his successors to avoid “permanent” alliances with foreign powers. Ever since, the nation has faced periodic, often heated, debates about how to maintain that sovereignty, and whether and when it is appropriate to cede some of it in the form of treaties and the alliances about which Washington warned.

As the 2016 election made clear, sovereignty is also one of the most frequently invoked, polemical, and misunderstood concepts in politics—particularly American politics. The concept wields symbolic power, implying something sacred and inalienable: the right of the people to control their fate without subordination to outside authorities. Given its emotional pull, however, the concept is easily high-jacked by political opportunists. By playing the sovereignty card, they can curtail more reasoned debates over the merits of proposed international commitments by portraying supporters of global treaties or organizations as enemies of motherhood and apple pie.

Such polemics distract Americans from what is really at stake in the sovereignty debate: the ability of the United States to shape its destiny in a global age. The United States cannot successfully manage globalization, much less insulate itself from cross-border threats, on its own. As global integration deepens and cross-border challenges grow, the nation’s fate is increasingly tied to that of other countries, whose cooperation will be needed to exploit the shared opportunities and mitigate the common risks of interdependence.

The Sovereignty Wars is intended to help today’s policymakers think more clearly about what is actually at stake in the sovereignty debate and to provide some criteria for determining when it is appropriate to make bargains over sovereignty—and how to make them.




Preface to the Second Edition

Chapter 1. Introduction: The Sovereignty Wars

Chapter 2. There’s No Place Like Home: Sovereignty, American Style

Chapter 3. Power and Interdependence: U.S. Sovereignty in the American Century

Chapter 4. Do as I Say, Not as I Do: American Sovereignty and International Law

Chapter 5. Don’t Fence Me In: The Use of Force, Arms Control, and U.S. National Security

Chapter 6. Stop the World, I Want to Get Off: Globalization and American Sovereignty

Chapter 7. Good Fences Make Good Neighbors: Immigration and Border Security

Chapter 8. Don’t Tread on Me: The United States and International Organizations

Chapter 9. Conclusion: American Sovereignty and International Cooperation



About the Author:

Stewart Patrick is the senior fellow and director of the program on International Institutions and Global Governance (IIGG) at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). His areas of expertise include multilateral cooperation in the management of global issues; U.S. policy toward international institutions, including the United Nations; and the challenges posed by fragile, failing, and post-conflict states. Patrick writes the blog, The Internationalist.

Target Audience:

This book is intended to help today’s policymakers think more clearly about what is actually at stake in the sovereignty debate and to provide some criteria for determining when it is appropriate to make bargains over sovereignty—and how to make them. It is useful for people interested in political science and foreign affairs.


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