A sacred union?
by Tom Bentley
In the January/February edition of Atlantic Monthly the New America Foundationhas collaborated for the second year with the magazine to produce an alternative 'state of the nation' issue. The idea is that in contrast to President Bush's euphemistic address, given in January, leading wonks produce a more genuine assessment of where American society is and the real challenges facing it. For me it brings to mind Demos's 'manifesto for the election after next', published ahead of the 1997 election and designed in part to expose the constraints now placed on party competition.
The New America Foundation is the US think tank whose stated goals are probably closest to those of Demos - aiming to produce long term proposals which reach beyond party boundaries and encourage radical renewal.
This year's edition includes a piece by Francis Fukuyama arguing that nation-building must become a basic part of American foreign policy and concludes "Our "empire" may be a transitional one grounded in democracy and human rights, but our interests dictate that we learn how better to teach other people to govern themselves." One wonders what Robert Cooper, our own prophet of failed states, might make of that.