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Bound for Glory
A review of Ralph Peters' New Glory…
[Gordon Cucullu] 8/24/05

New Glory: Expanding America’s Global Supremacy
by Ralph Peters, Sentinel, 2005, 292pp.

With the conviction of a visionary, Ralph Peters dismisses the negativity of those he accuses of promulgating America’s “bizarre cult of pessimism.” In New Glory: Expanding America’s Global Supremacy, Peters’ latest soon-to-be-bestseller, the author steadfastly expresses a belief in the innate goodness of an America he describes as “the greatest force for freedom and change in history.” But New Glory is no mere paean to an idealized America. There have been mistakes. “We have stumbled forward while looking wistfully over our shoulders at the past,” he acknowledges. Unlike those consumed with the cult of guilt for past sins – real or imaginary – Peters urges readers to “set our eyes firmly on the future once again.” New Glory is a page-turning guide on just how glorious that future could be.

Gordon Cucullu

Former Green Beret lieutenant colonel, Gordon Cucullu is now an editorialist, author and a popular speaker. Born into a military family, he lived and served for more than thirteen years in East Asia, including eight years in Korea. For his Special Forces service in Vietnam he was awarded a Bronze Star, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and the Presidential Unit Commendation. After separation from the Army, he worked on Korea and East Asian affairs at both the Pentagon and Department of State as well as an executive for General Electric in Korea. His first major non-fiction work, Separated at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin, is based in large part on his extensive experience in Korea and East Asia as a governmental insider and businessman. [website] [go to Cucullu index]

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Of all things he has been – soldier, adventurer, historian, intelligence analyst, author, commentator – above all, Peters is a story-telling realist, a rare but unbeatable combination. He sets the stage of an America of “many revolutions” (e.g., women’s emancipation, racial integration, tolerance, family, geriatrics, and more) leading an often reluctant, hostile world into the new century. Peters also speaks to a spectrum of threats and opportunities – those we face now and those still to come. He analyzes America and the world regionally, ideologically, militarily, and in terms of potential good and ill. From there he outlines a national policy that is unapologetically pro-American and, to a degree that will surprise chronic pessimists, pro-the rest of the world, too.

Peters paints with broad strokes. He commands a remarkable breadth and depth of history, and has an exceptional ability to identify critical historic fault-lines. Unlike many Americans, Peters understands that history and destiny have a longer horizon than any single life. One of his many wise recommendations is that America “must cultivate the art of patience.” That advice, I fear, has faint chance of success in our instant gratification society. Nevertheless, Peters, unlike many contemporary analysts, refuses to let readers take the easy path. He demands that we face the bitter, blood-soaked reality of the world as it is, not as politicians, defense manufacturers, bureaucrats, or the think-tankers who serve them would have us believe. And that reality means that we will forever have enemies bent on our destruction, foes we must fight with implacable fortitude and an unwavering commitment to win.

He disdainfully rejects pacifism, which he considers an “abjuration of responsibility toward our fellow human beings,” mere “cowardice masquerading as virtue.” Peters is adamant about the importance of fighting for human rights, arguing that amelioration of gross human rights abuses abroad justifies American military intervention. This places him at odds with right-wing realpolitik types as well as the usual hard-left suspects, albeit for quite different reasons. Peters’ compelling linkage of human rights to strategic issues makes New Glory an ideal companion piece to Natan Sharansky’s The Case for Democracy.

In addition to his impeccable analysis and crisp style – honed as a writer of non-fiction and a tireless columnist – Peters is a highly talented novelist. His story-telling abilities add drama and suspense. On a September afternoon in 1683, for example, the reader suddenly joins tall Polish hussars in a daring cavalry charge that broke the Ottoman siege of Vienna, thereby liberating a chronically ungrateful Europe from the centuries-old threat of Islam. These kinds of historical anecdotes – and their highly relevant links to present-day issues – add a wonderful flavor to the book and will leave the reader wishing for more.

While Peters has the ink of optimistic in his pen, he also dips it into a highly acidic, often darkly humorous condemnation of the cynical, the fanatic, the muddle-headed, and the mad. He offers bare-knuckle analysis of current issues ranging from Islamofascism to chronic French perfidy. He brilliantly contrasts corrupt, feeble Old Europe to the untapped high-energy of the South –South Africa, Latin America, and India - and discusses the role that America must play in a future he envisions as glorious and attainable. But it is a future that comes, as do all human endeavors, with a cost. America, he insists, must be prepared to deal realistically with our enemies and shed blood of heroes in order to promote good for our people and the peoples of the world.

This is not a book to speed-read although you will want to do so. Just as aged sour mash bourbon is not for chugging, New Glory deserves thoughtful contemplation. Peters has produced a dynamic, intellectually challenging, must-read book with cutting edge applicability. It needs to be in the hands of all policy makers - and of everyone who votes for them.tRO

Curious about North Korea? Learn more in Gordon’s best-selling book Separated at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin became the Evil Twin, Lyons Press available at bookstores now.

copyright Gordon Cucullu 2005




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