Dr Sandra Steingraber

In the timely new book (Yale University Press; publication date October 27, 2009; $26), Allison Stanger provides a definitive and disturbing look at one of the most important trends in politics: the privatization of American foreign policy and its consequences. Michael Ignatieff, the Leader of the Liberal Party in Canada calls the book "a clarion call to bring the business of government under more effective public control."

Much has been said of the unprecedented numbers of private contractors in U.S. government activities under President George W. Bush, but the growing use of private contractors actually predates Bush's era. Stanger argues it is both impossible and undesirable to turn back the clock and simply reabsorb all outsourced functions back into government. Through explorations of the evolution of military outsourcing, the privatization of diplomacy, the 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.

Stanger is the Russell Leng '60 Professor of International Politics and Economics and Director of the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs at Middlebury College. She is co-editor and co-translator (with Michael Kraus) of Irreconcilable Differences? Explaining Czechoslovakia's Dissolution (foreword by Václav Havel) and author of numerous articles and essays. Her op-eds about the privatization of American power have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Financial Times.

Venue: Valley Players Theater in Waitsfield, 7 p.m. start. Following a presentation of Stanger's research and conclusions there will be a book signing. Copies of the book will also be available for purchase. The public is welcome to attend this free event.