Daydream Believers How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power Fred Kaplan Wiley, $25.95, 256 pp.
Heads in the Sand How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats Matthew Yglesias Wiley, $25.95, 272 pp.
Just as the impending departure of the Bush administration threatens to make the “Iraq book” superfluous, along come Fred Kaplan’s Daydream Believers and Matthew Yglesias’s Heads in the Sandto reframe the debate. Mercifully, both Yglesias (formerly a blogger for the Atlantic, now at the Center for American Progress) and Kaplan (military correspondent for Slate) stay off the well-worn track of cataloguing specific Bush administration failures. Instead, their remarkably complementary books expose basic flaws in the administration’s geopolitical assumptions, and suggest an alternative set of ideas to work with in the future—ideas that may mark the beginning of a trend in Democratic Party foreign-policy thinking.