The Godfather Doctrine draws clear and essential lessons from perhaps the greatest Hollywood movie ever made to illustrate America's changing geopolitical place in the world and how our country can best meet the momentous strategic challenges it faces.
In the movie The Godfather, Don Corleone, head of New York's most powerful organized-crime family, is shockingly gunned down in broad daylight, leaving his sons Sonny and Michael, along with his adopted son, consigliere Tom Hagen, to chart a new course for the family. In The Godfather Doctrine, John Hulsman and Wess Mitchell show how the aging and wounded don is emblematic of cold-war American power on the decline in a new world where our enemies play by unfamiliar rules, and how the don's heirs uncannily exemplify the three leading schools of American foreign policy today. Tom, the left-of-center liberal institutionalist, thinks the old rules still apply and that negotiation is the answer. Sonny is the Bush-era neocon who shoots first and asks questions later, proving an easy target for his enemies. Only Michael, the realist, has a sure feel for the changing scene, recognizing the need for flexible combinations of soft and hard power to keep the family strong and maintain its influence and security in a dangerous and rapidly changing world.
Based on Hulsman and Mitchell's groundbreaking and widely debated article, "Pax Corleone," The Godfather Doctrine explains for everyone why Francis Ford Coppola's epic story about a Mafia dynasty holds key insights for ensuring America's survival in the twenty-first century.
"In The Godfather, Mafia don Vito Corleone is shot down on the street by rivals, taken by surprise in a world where the rules have changed and a new course must be charted. Corleone's circumstances mirror the state of our nation and hold lessons for its future, according to the two international-relations experts who wrote The Godfather Doctrine, out this week. Co-authors John C. Hulsman and A. Wess Mitchell are a rare pair: entertaining and instructive."--Boston Globe
"Still, as much as I like The Godfather, I never thought of it as the guide to American foreign policy options in the 21st century. Fortunately, two other guys did. The Godfather has always been a joy to watch; however, given the present changes in the world's power structure, the movie becomes a startlingly useful metaphor for the strategic problems of our times. . . . [A] cute little book."--Kevin Horrigan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"If, as Emerson posited, events are 'in the saddle' and riding humankind, how do Obama and the Americans who turn their lonely eyes to him sort it all out in the world of globalization? Together. Emphatically. Through the untinted prism of realism. That's what the authors argue. The 'Pax Corleone' allegory, so imperfect and ironic, is their clever yet thought-provoking way of summoning us to become, pragmatically, our best selves. Dream City, Reality City--can they coexist, even ascend, in peace? For 10 recessionary bucks, The Godfather Doctrine forces us to think about how."--Gene Krzyzynski, Buffalo News
"It's a fun take on the basic issues of foreign policy."--Michael Maiello, Forbes.com
Table of Contents:
The Godfather Doctrine 21
Epilogue: Critics and Crisis 61
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by A. Wess Mitchell: