Three new books focus on domestic and foreign politics

April 12, 1995

ANN ARBOR— American foreign policy in the Third World, global changes in political and social attitudes, and presidential elections in France and the United States are topics of three new books by University of Michigan political science faculty members.

Published by the U-M Press, the books are ” Peripheral Visions: Deterrence Theory and American Foreign Policy in the Third World, 1965-1990″ by Ted Hopf, assistant professor of political science; ” Value Change in Global Perspective” by Ronald Inglehart, U-M professor of political science, and Paul Abramson, professor of political science at Michigan State University; and ” Choosing the Chief: Presidential Elections in France and the United States” by Roy Pierce, U- M professor emeritus of political science.

In ” Peripheral Visions,” released last January, Hopf repudiates the core assumptions of deterrence theory, one of the central aspects of U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War.

He asserts that military strength is not the most effective way to deter an opponent. For example, he says that America’s credibility in the Middle East was not strengthened by U.S. military actions, but by adroit use of military and economic aid and diplomatic leverage.

Further, he adds that the United States need not worry about ” unimportant” areas of the globe, should not use military force when non-military means will do, and should act as much as possible through indigenous and autonomous forces.

” In a nutshell, I argue that the Vietnam War and most other involvements in the Third World, were unnecessary to maintain U.S. credibility during the Cold War,” Hopf says. “Deterrence theory, in general, exaggerates the role of military force in communicating credibility and wrongly ignores other sources of power. ”

In ” Value Change in Global Perspective,” Inglehart and Abramson examine global attitude changes in more than 40 societies on five continents representing about 70 percent of the world’s population.

They contend that the gradual shift from ” Materialist” values (the desire for economic and physical security) to ” Post-materialist” values (the desire for freedom, self- expression and the quality of life) is a global phenomenon.

” The same processes that contribute to value change in advanced industrial societies appear to contribute to similar change in all societies that have experienced enough economic growth in recent decades for younger cohorts to have had significantly more security in their formative years than older cohorts had,” Inglehart says.

In ” Choosing the Chief,” Pierce describes and compares presidential elections in France and the United States by focusing on the central theme of how candidates emerge and how voters perceive and evaluate them.

He presents a complete picture of how constitutional frameworks, electoral laws, party systems, social structures and pivotal historical developments have converged to produce distinctive patterns of presidential politics in the two countries.

For more information about any of these books, call Michael Kehoe, U-M Press, (313) 764-4330.