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A rising China, climate change, terrorism, a nuclear Iran, a turbulent Middle East, and a reckless North Korea all present serious challenges. But U.S. national security depends even more on the United States addressing its burgeoning deficit and debt, ...
A rising China, climate change, terrorism, a nuclear Iran, a turbulent Middle East, and a reckless North Korea all present serious challenges. But U.S. national security depends even more on the United States addressing its burgeoning deficit and debt, crumbling infrastructure, second class schools, and outdated immigration system.
Foreign Policy Begins at Home describes a twenty-first century in which power is widely diffused. Globalization, revolutionary technologies, and the rise and decline of new and old powers have created a “nonpolar” world of American primacy but not domination. So far, it has been a relatively forgiving world, with no great rival threatening America directly. How long this strategic respite lasts, according to Haass, will depend largely on whether the United States puts its own house in order.
Haass argues for a new American foreign policy: Restoration. At home, the new doctrine would have the country concentrate on restoring the economic foundations of American power. Overseas, the U.S. would stop trying to remake the Middle East with military force, instead emphasizing maintaining the balance of power in Asia, promoting economic integration and energy self-sufficiency in North America, and working to promote collective responses to global challenges.
Haass rejects both isolationism and the notion of American decline. But he argues the United States is underperforming at home and overreaching abroad. Foreign Policy Begins at Home lays out a compelling vision for restoring America’s power, influence, and ability to lead the world.
“A must read for aspiring diplomats.”
“Haass’s call for getting America’s domestic house in order should be listened to.”
—New York Times Book Review
"Haass is one of Americas most astute foreign policy analysts. His previous 12 books are gems of wisdom and this one is no exception.... The slim volumen is an excellent primer about the world in which the US operates today.... Haass should be read by everyone."
“Haass persuasively shows that United States continues to be the indispensable nation.... Haass’s writing style is straightforward and uncluttered by jargon. My academic colleagues will not find reference to ‘hegemonic transition theories’ or ‘postmodernism,’ which makes the book much more accessible to a wider readership.... Whether Haass chooses to run for office one day or not, a presidential candidate would do well using his realism as a platform.”
"Deft and wise book”
—The Daily Beast
“[Haass] argues brilliantly . [his] prescription says charity starts at home.” —UPI.com
“This informative, well-written book is a necessary addition to any collection providing either experts or citizens with new and rational discussion of America’s place in the world today.”
“Lessons learned from the recent past and presented thoughtfully as a viable new course.”
“Richard Haass has long been a keen observer of the US position on the world stage, and his must-read book is no exception. Haass rightly explains that if the United States is to continue fulfilling the leadership role it has had since World War II, our country must be more restrained in what it does abroad and put its house in order at home by defusing the looming fiscal debt bomb that threatens our national security and global standing.”
—James A. Baker, III.
“A concise, comprehensive guide to America’s critical policy choices at home and overseas. Richard Haass writes without a partisan agenda, but with a passion for solutions designed to restore our country’s strength and enable us to lead.”
—Madeleine K. Albright
“A perceptive diagnosis and common sense prescription for what ails us as a nation. It is a practical guide for those who believe America's continued global leadership is critical in the twenty-first century, but who believe it must be anchored in restoration at home and more effective use of all the tools of American foreign policy abroad.”
—Robert M. Gates
“Richard Haass is one of America’s most insightful and experienced thinkers. In Foreign Policy Begins at Home, Haass explains why our ability to wield power and influence abroad will depend on our confronting pressing challenges at home. He offers a sobering look at the domestic policies that are undermining our international competitiveness and a thoughtful roadmap for strengthening America’s position on the global stage.”
—Michael R. Bloomberg
“Richard N. Haass shows us that maintaining America's leadership in the world will require significant reforms within our own borders. Full of insight but without polemics or preachiness, it clearly demonstrates that our ability to inspire, influence, cooperate with or deter others depends upon our ability to promote shared prosperity and social progress at home.”
—William Jefferson Clinton
Posted May 2, 2013
Richard Haass is a worrier, as well he should be. In this finely crafted, highly readable and brilliant analysis of where we are today in the world, the articulate Council on Foreign Relations President and former national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush, argues that America is losing its ability to influence other nations. He sees correctly that there is no nation in the world, which can replicate American leadership, not China, not Russia, not Japan, and not Europe. And without American leadersip, the world inevitably will be in an unstable, chaotic condition that no one wants. America's loss of international leverage comes from shared perceptions that our government has become all but totally dysfunctional. He warns that we are rapidly losing ground as Washington can't agree on such basic matters as budgets, immigration policy, education and how to deal with our domestic economy. The President creates a bi-partisan commission to get our fiscal house in order; it amazingly reaches agreement on what must be done; and the President dissolves and disavows the commission. The President squanders almost all of his political capital on gun control, and has little left for energy policy, environmental regulation or tax reform. The world watches as Washington wrangles and twists in the wind. And, this does little to elevate our status as leader of nations. This book will be widely read by policy makers, academicians and governmental leaders, as well it should. But it is required reading for every literate American, who is as worried as the author about America's primacy.
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Posted November 1, 2013
First of all, let's speak of the book's pluses. I, like the majority of our citizenry, am not a political science major, and I came to the book with both interest and concern -- interest because I am citizen of the world and concern over the fact that the book would sail high over my head. It was, however, very readable even for a foreign policy novice like myself. It achieves both clarity and brevity without being over-simplified or condescending. To that end, I would recommend the book to any person interested in today's nuances and complications of foreign relations.
There is also another praise for the book: It is fact-driven and therefore generally bipartisan in its presentation. Absent are long discertations rooted in a particular party's ideology or platform. Haass's delivery is matter-of-fact, as if to say here is the current condition or situation occurring in our world, here is what has worked or not worked with regards to that condition or situation, here is the current path we are on and here is the path we need to be on.
His premise is that the US remains to be a leader in the world community. In order to maintain that standard and the trust of foreign nations necessary to lead the world, we need to have a plan and take actions to correct our domestic challenges here at home. His ideas are divided into themes we have all heard from one time to another: Deficit reduction, trade balance through increased exports, paying down the national debt, energy independence, domestic job creation and investment.
All of these are solid ideas to assist us in putting our house back in order. Environmentalists will not appreciate his recommendations regarding the Canadian oil pipeline, fracking for natural gas and re-commitments of treasure and reliance of nuclear energy. In the author's opionion, we need to do and invest all we can in measures to reduce debts and create jobs and revenues as well as promote a future independent of reliance upon foreign oil. Humanists will not appreciate his views that nations need to qualify for (via a series of twenty preset criteria) personnel and / or military interventions. Again, in his opinion, we can commit to involving ourselves in foreign lands only when it is absolutely necessary in the preservation of American interests and those of her allies. Regional difficulties like those of Darfur, Libya and Syria are observed, studied and scrutinized, but only threatening nations and terrorist cells are to result in military intervention after all diplomatic tract have been attempted.
Thus, this book is not the panacea for all our ills. Nor is it the perfect road map for successful navigation in a future that will not be short on challenges. It is a starting place and a good one at that. I recommend it highly.
Posted June 14, 2013
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