Yale University Press, $27, 336 pp.
I attended a concert about ten years ago at the Moscow Conservatory with a Russian friend. The orchestra played a mix of Russian and American classics. Halfway through Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring, my friend turned to me and whispered, “It’s so optimistic.”
I had to agree, particularly when what had preceded the Copeland was a discordant, politically ambiguous symphonic work by Dmitri Shostakovich, whose lifetime coincided almost exactly with Copeland’s.
I was reminded, vividly, of this incident on reading Anne-Marie Slaughter’s latest book, The Idea That Is America. Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, has written a highly readable, optimistic manifesto that makes the case for putting America’s values at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy. Thoroughly discouraged by what she sees as the Bush administration’s bungling of our relations with the rest of the world, Slaughter identifies seven principles that, in her view, are...