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One Nation Under Contract - Stanger, Allison - Yale University Press
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One Nation Under Contract

The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy

  • Allison Stanger
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Received Merit of Special Recognition for the 2010 Charles H. Levine Memorial Book Prize, given by The International Political Science Association's Research Committee on the Structure of Governance.

International relations scholar Allison Stanger shows how contractors became an integral part of American foreign policy, often in scandalous ways—but also maintains that contractors aren’t the problem; the absence of good government is.  Outsourcing done right is, in fact, indispensable to America’s interests in the information age.

Stanger makes three arguments. •The outsourcing of U.S. government activities is far greater than most people realize, has been very poorly managed, and has inadvertently militarized American foreign policy;

•Despite this mismanagement, public-private partnerships are here to stay, so we had better learn to do them right;

•With improved transparency and accountability, these partnerships can significantly extend the reach and effectiveness of U.S. efforts abroad.

The growing use of private contractors predates the Bush Administration, and while his era saw the practice rise to unprecedented levels, Stanger argues that it is both impossible and undesirable to turn back the clock and simply re-absorb all outsourced functions back into government.  Through explorations of the evolution of military outsourcing, the privatization of diplomacy, our dysfunctional homeland security apparatus, and the slow death of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Stanger shows that the requisite public-sector expertise to implement foreign policy no longer exists. The successful activities of charities and NGOs, coupled with the growing participation of multinational corporations in development efforts, make a new approach essential. Provocative and far-reaching, One Nation Under Contract presents a bold vision of what that new approach must be.

Allison Stanger is Chair of the Political Science Department at Middlebury College.

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