Old Gods, New Nations celebrates a life lived intensely on the far horizons of the world while America built something like an empire on the ruins of World War II and the victory of the Cold War.
As a Marine Corps fighter pilot, author Eugene ("Rocky") Staples flew Corsairs in combat against the Japanese in World War II. As a journalist and foreign service officer in the postwar years, he reported on and subsequently fought in the political and propaganda wars of the Cold War in Latin America and the Soviet Union. Staples then devoted his career to institution and nation-building in Asia and the new republics emerging from the wreckage of the Soviet Union.
Drawing on those decades of experience, Staples suggests how we might reorder our foreign affairs priorities more effectively. The American response to the challenge of terrorism rests heavily on military and security approaches. It devotes little serious attention to the long-term questions of how best to go about nation-building or how to fight propaganda wars.
Staples believes we have little choice but to reform that approach. The new challenges in foreign policy won't go away, and only rarely is the military option the right answer. Foresight, patience, pragmatism-and international cooperation-are the names of the cards we must play.