Sabrina Schulte INT 201 – Dr. Gallagher 09/28/2017
Book Review – Ideas that Conquered the World
The book “Ideas that Conquered the World” written by Michael Mandelbaum in 2002 deals with “… the global triumph of peace, democracy and free markets...” (p.402). The book is based on the idea of Fukuyama’s text “The End of History” and emphasizes mainly the same idea of democracy and free market being the way to organize the world. However, Mandelbaum adds the concept of peace and says that only with peace one can have a working democracy and a free market. Mandelbaum has more or less the same conclusion, the three concepts of peace, democracy and free markets have no rivals and thus are the best way to organize public, social and international relations. He also states that these ideas are not only western ideologies but universal ideas, because they have spread around the globe and proven to work in a lot of countries. All in all, these three concepts unite the world.
Michael Mandelbaum has a PhD in political science from Harvard University, has worked at the US Department of State (1982/1983), served as an advisor for Bill Clinton and is the Christian A. Herter Professor and Director of the American Foreign Policy program at the Johns Hopkins University. In addition, Mandelbaum is on the board of directors of the Washington institute for near east policy and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Finally, he frequently writes articles for different news sources about foreign affairs and has written more about 10 books on Americas foreign policies. The Foreign Policy magazine named Michael Mandelbaum as one of the top 100 Global Thinkers. All his different works show that he is eligible to judge and discuss the topic covered in the book. His thoughts and ideas are based on a lot of knowledge and experience and therefore I believe that he has a good intuition about politics and events.
The main arguments Mandelbaum uses in the book are separated in three sections. The first section deals with history and its influence on the liberal ideas of democracy and free markets. In this part of the book he talks about the battle of ideas and how the liberal ideas won, naming events like the French Revolution which overthrow the old traditional system or the Cold War which defeated communism. Thus, history shows/proves that democracy and free markets are the “perfect” way to organize the world, as they have outbattled all other ideas to organize the world. The next section of the book is called “The Invention of Peace”, focusing on Europe and how they finally exist in peace. This is only possible because of democracy and free markets, as the countries of Europe are trading partners their economies depend on each other and for this reason you do not want to fight you trading ally. But the free economy is not the only reason for the peace in Europe, another factor is democracy, which lead to more transparency and a redesign of the military. With the...