The overwhelming reality of our time is this: In the opening years of the 21st century, the United States finds itself not only the most powerful nation on earth but the most powerful nation that has ever existed. Given the contradictory roles America plays in the world, we are fated to be the catalyst for either a new global community or for global chaos. If we don't lead, Zbigniew Brzezinski contends, rather than merely dominate by force, we could face worldwide hostility much like the regional hostility now confronting Israel.Brzezinski argues for a more complex and sophisticated view of our global role than much of our media and political leadership are willing to entertain. We are the world's policeman, but we have to be seen as a fair one. We are entitled to a higher level of security than other nations (because we assume greater risks), but we are also the proponent of essential freedoms. We are uniquely powerful, but our homeland is uniquely -and chronically-vulnerable. "Globalization" precludes immunity for even the most powerful. This is an impressively lucid assessment, informed by decades of experience on the front lines of foreign policy, of where we stand in the world and where we should go from here.
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Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, 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, the Johns Hopkins University, both located in Washington, D.C. His many books include The Choice and The Grand Chessboard . He lives in Washington, D.C.From Publishers Weekly:
Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser and the author of The Grand Chessboard, has written a perceptive overview of the disorienting new strategic challenges America faces. Though couched in the sober, nuanced language of policymaking, the book amounts to a point-by-point rebuttal of the Bush doctrine. Brzezinski criticizes what he casts as the administration's rejection of a binding alliance system in favor of ad hoc coalitions, its advocacy of preemptive war, and its refusal to address terrorism's root causes. The underlying problem, says Brzezinski, is turmoil in the "Greater Balkans," the largely Muslim southern rim of central Eurasia. While not ruling out unilateral action by America, Brzezinski believes the ultimate solution to the region's problems involves the slow expansion of the trans-Atlantic zone of prosperity and cooperative institutions. Al-Qaeda's brand of Islamic fundamentalism is in decline, he says, but "Islamist populism," its more pragmatic relation, could cause localized instability. To promote a modernizing impulse in the Muslim world, Brzezinski recommends engagement with Iran, peacemaking in the Middle East and Kashmir, and a regional nuclear nonproliferation pact. In his survey of other security threats, Brzezinski says that as China's economy grows and Japan drifts toward remilitarization, America should help build an equivalent to NATO for the Pacific. Brzezinski warns that globalization's reputation as disruptive, undemocratic and unfair could provoke a virulent anti-American ideology. To avoid becoming a "garrison state," America must establish a "co-optive hegemony," leading a "global community of shared interests." This book makes an exemplary argument for the proposition that idealistic internationalism is "the common-sense dictate of hard-nosed realism."
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