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The Dollar and National Security: The Monetary Components of Hard Power, Paul Viotti

Reviewed by Daniel W. Drezner



The 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath have sparked new interest in the ways in which international political economy and international security intersect. This is particularly true for those contemplating the economic foundations of U.S. hegemony. During his tenure, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen repeatedly averred that the national debt was the biggest national security threat to the United States. Anxiety mounted over whether the dollar would continue to be the world’s reserve currency. These concerns have jumpstarted research on how waning economic influence might impinge on the global security architecture, and vice versa (Cohen and DeLong 2009; Norrlof 2010; Kirshner 2014).

With a title like The Dollar and National Security, one would expect Paul Viotti’s new book to address this growing demand for knowledge on the political economy of national security. That title is a bit misleading, however; this is a book that looks backwards more than forwards. In the introduction, Viotti states that he aspires to “identify this historic but often overlooked linkage between security and international monetary arrangements that pro­tects domestic stakes in international commerce and helps finance expendi­tures for foreign policy and national security purposes (p.3).” Viotti spends the next 165 pages e

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