America's status as a world power remains at a historic turning point. The strategies employed to win the wars of the twentieth century are no longer working, and the US 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 US today: the Middle East, Russia, and China, among others. In spontaneous conversations the two authors explore their agreements and disagreements. Defining the center of responsible opinion on American foreign policy, America and the World is an essential primer on a host of urgent issues at a time when our leaders' decisions could determine how long our nation remains a superpower.
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About the Author
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.
Table of Contents
Introduction David Ignatius vii
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
About the Authors 291
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
At risk of sounding cliche, this is an important book and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Foreign Policy Roundtable DiscussionSo far, one of the better books I've read for 2009 in terms of international relations and US foreign policy. The book design is an interesting format in that it is basically a transcript of a roundtable discussion between US foreign policy heavyweights in Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, moderated by David Ignatius.From an IR perspective, both would most probably fall under realists, as both start from national interest and work outwards. Interestingly enough, they discuss their ideological influences and both deny that they are either a realist or an idealist.As for the topics discussed, they are wide ranging. From the middle east, to China, to Russia, to Europe. If there was one part I felt that they left out, it was Latin America, where Mexico is barely touched with the rest all but ignored. This is a big omission considering how important Latin America was as a part of the overall US foreign policy strategy for the last 100 years. Think Cuba or Venezuela.Though they claim at the end that the discussions were mostly bipartisan, I certainly felt reading throughout the book, Zbig stayed along Democratic lines while Scowcroft remained primarily Republican. Also, throughout the book I kept making notes where either Zbig or Scowcroft omitted details, but I don't fault either of them for that, in an impromptu oral discussion, things tend to get missed.Overall, I thought this was a very important book to read, especially with a new President in the White House in 2009. Though certainly not a complete discussion on US foreign policy, this is a good start for the new year.
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.
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.
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.