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Great Powers: America and the World after Bush

Great Powers: America and the World after Bush

by Thomas P.M. Barnett

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The author of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller The Pentagon's New Map brings us a remarkable analysis of the post-Bush world, and America's leadership role in it.

In civilian and military circles alike, The Pentagon's New Map became one of the most talked about books of 2004. “A combination of Tom Friedman on


The author of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller The Pentagon's New Map brings us a remarkable analysis of the post-Bush world, and America's leadership role in it.

In civilian and military circles alike, The Pentagon's New Map became one of the most talked about books of 2004. “A combination of Tom Friedman on globalization and Carl von Clausewitz on war, [it is] the red-hot book among the nation's admirals and generals,” wrote David Ignatius in The Washington Post. Barnett's second book, Blueprint for Action, demonstrated how to put the first book's principles to work. Now, in Great Powers, Barnett delivers his most sweeping— and important—book of all.

For eight years, the current administration has done much to disconnect or alienate America from the world, but the world has certainly not been standing still. Now, with a chance to start over, what do we do? Where's the world going now, and how do we not only rejoin it but become a leader again in what has become the most profound reordering of the globe since the end of World War II?

In Great Powers, Barnett offers a tour de force analysis of the grand realignments that are both already here and coming up fast in the spheres of economics, diplomacy, defense, technology, security, the environment, and much more. The “great powers” are no longer just the world's major nation-states but the powerful forces, past, present, and future, moving with us and past us like a freight train. It is not a simple matter of a course correction but of a complete recalibration, and the opportunities it presents are far greater than the perils. Barnett gives us a fundamental understanding of both, showing us not only how the world is now but how it will be.

There are those writing now who say America is in decline . . . and we just have to deal with it. Barnett says no. Globalization as it exists today was built by America—and now it's time for America to shape and redefine what comes next. Great Powers shows us how. Bibliography. Notes. Index.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Barnett (The Pentagon's New Map) offers a comprehensive catalogue of the failings of the Bush administration and a strategic roadmap for American foreign policy in this sweeping text. The author takes a broad approach to the contemporary political landscape, surveying U.S. history from the Revolution through the end of the Cold War and applying lessons from that history to the present. Drawing on a variety of secondary sources and his personal and professional experiences as a national security specialist and consultant, Barnett argues in favor of cooperation with rising powers such as China and India and continued movement in the direction of globalization; he distills his central thesis down to the contention that "America must dramatically realign its own post-9/11 trajectory with that of the world at large." Barnett writes in a conversational style. Despite the text's vast scope, it has a clear, straightforward structure, even featuring a glossary of key terms, and it provides an accessible and engaging foray into global grand strategy. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Political consultant Barnett (Blueprint for Action: A World Worth Creating, 2005, etc.) evaluates the Bush administration's failures, offers prescriptions for correcting them and pleads with America not to mess things up now that everything is going our way. His excoriating first chapter limns "The Seven Deadly Sins of Bush-Cheney," starting with Lust (for world primacy). A sensible grand strategy, even for a superpower, must attract more allies than it repulses, he notes, yet the Bush administration broke treaties and advocated preemptive wars, then complained when Russia and China refused to help in Iran, Iraq or Afghanistan. Proceeding with catchy titles, Barnett delivers "A Twelve-Step Recovery Program for American Grand Strategy" in the second chapter. We must begin by admitting our powerlessness over globalization, he writes. We opened that Pandora's box long ago, and it's ridiculous to denounce other nations' cheap labor and protectionist trade policies, because that's how American growth began. Unlike many world-affairs gurus, but in line with Fareed Zakaria's The Post-American World (2008), Barnett is an optimist, pointing out that free-market capitalism is now the world's default system, the middle-class is increasing and poverty is diminishing. Attacking Bush's fixation on the "global war on terror" (Sin No. 2: Anger), he stresses that it's merely one of a half-dozen world problems, more easily solved by rising prosperity than military action. Naivete, not anger, led to Bush's painfully unsuccessful efforts to spread democracy. Looking back, Barnett reminds readers that America was a one-party autocracy until the 1820s and that freedom doesn't happen when a government grants itbut when an increasingly assertive, and prosperous, citizenry demand it. China's rise mirrors the American model more than we realize, he contends, and Iraqis won't demand a bill of rights until they have jobs. Stands out for its in-depth analysis, historical acuity and delightfully witty prose. Author events in New York and Washington, D.C.

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.38(w) x 6.22(h) x 1.53(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Thomas P. M. Barnett regularly advises the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), Special Operations Command, and Central Command, and routinely offers briefings to senior members of the four military services, the intelligence community, and Congress. Dr. Barnett is now the senior managing director of Enterra Solutions and formerly served as senior strategic researcher at the Naval War College and as assistant for Strategic Futures in OSD's Office of Force Transformation. He is a contributing editor for Esquire, and writes a weekly column for the Scripps Howard News Service. Barnett holds a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.

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