America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy

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America's status as a world power lies at a historic turning point. The strategies employed to wind the wars of the twentieth century are no longer working, and the United States must contend with the changing nature of power in a globalized world. In America and the World two of the most respected figures in American foreign policy, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, dissect the challenges facing the U.S. today: whether we should withdraw our troops from Iraq or keep them there; how we should approach ...

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America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy

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Overview

America's status as a world power lies at a historic turning point. The strategies employed to wind the wars of the twentieth century are no longer working, and the United States must contend with the changing nature of power in a globalized world. In America and the World two of the most respected figures in American foreign policy, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, dissect the challenges facing the U.S. today: whether we should withdraw our troops from Iraq or keep them there; how we should approach Iran, Israel, and Palestine; how aggressively we should push to expand NATO to Russian borders; how we can (and must) maintain our role in the Far East; and many other questions. In spontaneous and unscripted conversations the two authors explore their Agreements and their disagreements.

An essential primer on a host of urgent issues, America and the World defines the center of responsible opinion on American foreign policy at a time when the nation's decisions could determine how long it remains a superpower.

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Editorial Reviews

Michiko Kakutani
Mr. Brzezinski and Mr. Scowcroft…incisively discuss the fallout of the Bush administration's war in Iraq, including the empowerment of Iran, the recruitment of more terrorists and the inflaming of hatreds within the region. They also survey the foreign policy landscape as a whole…Their wide-ranging dialogue gives the reader an acute sense of the daunting challenges (including nuclear proliferation, global warming and terrorism) confronted by America in a rapidly changing international environment…What makes these discussions between Mr. Brzezinski and Mr. Scowcroft so bracing is their combination of common sense and an ability to place America's relationship with a particular country in both a historical perspective and a regional context of competing interests and threats. Their book should be required reading not only for the next president elect but also for any voters concerned with the foreign policy issues that will be on the next administration's plate.
—The New York Times
Moises Naim
Given the bitterness of partisan debates about foreign policy, now exacerbated by a tight race for the presidency, one might expect Brzezinski and Scowcroft to disagree vehemently about the challenges America faces abroad, the decisions that have shaped the nation's current travails and what the next president should do. Instead, they seem to see eye to eye on nearly every major foreign policy issue facing the United States…And, contrary to the operative assumption behind Sunday morning TV talk shows, it turns out that two wise interlocutors who concur can be as interesting and informative as experts with completely divergent views…The next president would do well to heed their counsel but should not underestimate the difficulty of sticking to it.
—The Washington Post
Library Journal

Brzezinski (Johns Hopkins Univ.; Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower) and Scowcroft (president, the Scowcroft Group; coauthor, with George H.W. Bush, A World Transformed) were National Security Advisors to, respectively, Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. In this book they are led in a series of conversations by David Ignatius (Washington Post), who is both a journalist and a novelist (Body of Lies), "to see if a prominent Democrat and a prominent Republican...could find common ground for a new start in foreign policy." By and large they do find it, in discussions of China, Russia, Israel and Palestine, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Korea, India, and other focal points, agreeing that Cold War institutions are outdated and that the United States will need renewed leadership, ingenuity, and engagement to meet the challenges of a world being changed by a "global political awakening." They offer an accessible survey of important questions that is recommended for public and academic libraries.
—Bob Nardini

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465015016
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 9/8/2008
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Zbigniew Brzezinski is a counselor and trustee at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a professor of American foreign policy at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. His many books include the New York Times bestseller Second Chance. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Brent Scowcroft is president of The Scowcroft Group, an international business and financial advisory firm. He served as National Security Advisor to both President Ford and President George H.W. Bush and the Military Assistant to President Nixon. He is the coauthor, with former President George H.W. Bush, of A World Transformed. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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Table of Contents

Introduction David Ignatius Ignatius, David

1 How We Got Here 1

2 Crises of Our Own Making 37

3 Two Unsolved Problems 79

4 The Virtue of Openness: China and the Far East 113

5 The State with Unnatural Boundaries 157

6 The Indispensable Partnership 199

7 The Politics of Cultural Dignity 227

8 The First Hundred Days 253

Acknowledgments 275

Index 277

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 16, 2009

    These are the guys everyone should be listening to!

    Imagine: Two masters of foreign policy - two men who have seen its inner workings through some of the most strenuous and trying times in our recent history and have massaged and influenced the outcomes of those events - sitting down at a table with a top columnist and world-class journalist for the Washington Post. There, they all speak their minds and their thoughts are captured and recorded for all who are interested to read. This book captures some of the most important opinions and insights about some of the most important topics facing America and the world today.<BR/><BR/>Zbignew Brzezinski served under President Carter, and Brent Scowcroft did likewise under Presidents George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford as National Security Advisors. Their combined experience is impressive, to say the least. One (Brzezinski) served under a Democrat, the other under two Republicans. Their insights, however, are neither partisan nor overstated. Both men present their views with a common ideal, and with a common concern: America. Both of these men understand like few ever will that foreign policy amounts to doing what is in the national interest, for the national good, and with the support of the national opinion. Both have had to do so at times when the last of those qualities was hard-won.<BR/><BR/>This book covers a lot of important ground. From the current conflicts in the Middle East (Israel and the Palestinians as well as Iraq and Afghanistan) to China and Russia, this is a candid look at the opinions and experience of two foreign policy professors who earned their stripes in the real-world arena of policy implementation. Far beyond the standard snippets you read in the newspapers, these two delve deeply into some of the most pressing issues facing us as a nation. They conclude with their own views on Human Dignity and what it means to truly build and show respect for others.<BR/><BR/>I don't like reviews that include too many spoilers, so I do not intend to write one here. I can say, however, that as a political junkie and as someone who has seen both of these men speak in person, I can say that this book felt like an all access pass with permission to sit at that same table with them and pick their brains. These are questions most Americans unfortunately don't even know to ask, and they are the very questions to which we most need solid answers.<BR/><BR/>At risk of sounding cliche, this is an important book and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    Must read

    Few books deserve the 'must read' designation, this one does.
    It is so refreshing to read a book that actually provides true non-partisan expertise and dialogue on international affairs and Americas past and future roles.

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  • Posted December 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Recommended reading for stability operations

    America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy
    Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft. David Ignatius, moderator.
    Basic Books, New York, 2008


    Overview

    In "America and The World" David Ignatius moderates a discussion between Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft on the state of the State. Ignatius covers old and new ground in a way that is refreshingly antithetical to the current culture of news as sound bite. A veteran Washington Post columnist and political insider, Ignatius leads Brzezinski and Scowcroft from the early cold war years through China's effect on U.S. foreign policy, nuclear deterrence and power generation and an interesting section on cultural dignity. A final comment on the corrosive nature of partisanship is offered as quite damaging to the conduct of statecraft, at home and abroad.

    Current operations

    Although not specifically focused on U.S. involvement in Iraq or Afghanistan, the compass needle swings towards the lodestone of current operations throughout the book. Nowhere is this expressed more concisely than by Brzezinski in the following excerpt:

    'We have a kind of cultural misunderstanding of the terrain, (in the Middle East and Afghanistan). Our involvement is a kind of radicalizing foreign intervention, which then produces unwelcome consequences (Brzezinski, Scrocroft and Ingatius 102)'.

    Relevance

    Released in the middle of U.S. involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the relevancy of the content and timing of this frank exchange on U.S. foreign policy is best expressed in a section entitled 'The First Hundred Days'. In response to Ignatius' query on how the incoming President should approach the Administration's first one hundred days, Scowcroft's answer is couched in recent events and aimed squarely at the Administration, civil servants and the Pentagon:

    'I think what we've learned in Iraq is that you can't pick up a country, create a democracy, turn around and leave (Brzezinski, Scrocroft and Ingatius 101)'.

    America and The World should be part of mid to senior-level readings. As individual and institutional memory of the cold war fades, NCO's, officers and other stability practitioners are operating within a system borne of, and architecturally structured for, that past era. As such, the need for those junior and mid-career practitioners to understand their institution's organizational culture is greater than ever. Ignatius' efforts to draw out lessons from two former National Security advisors provides a timely and concise first-person account of those events from key decision makers who lived through that time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2008

    Correct your Bios

    You printed Bzrezinski's bio twice and left off Scowcroft's. Obviously the key to the interest in this book is the collaboration between two security advisers on the opposite side of the fence.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 18, 2008

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    Posted January 8, 2009

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    Posted January 26, 2012

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