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America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy Paperback – Bargain Price, September 1, 2009
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About the Author
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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Top Customer Reviews
But there is another tradition as well, involving agreement on broad principles - the Monroe Doctrine, the containment policy of the Cold War - as well as restraint in name-calling and judging motivations - dissent is not termed un-American and intelligence mistakes are not called lies - combined with a vigorous bipartisanship that actively seeks consensus.
When this tradition is ascendant, as it was, for example, in the 1940s, American foreign policy tends to be more successful than when it is not, for example, in the Vietnam era and since 2003.
This book, as defined in its introduction, is "an experiment to see if a prominent Democrat and a prominent Republican - speaking only for themselves and not for or against either party - could find common ground for a new start in foreign policy." The experiment succeeded, and it produced what its dust jacket blurb correctly calls "a deeply informed and provocative book that defines the center of responsible opinion on American foreign policy."
The book consists of a series of discussions during the spring of 2008 between Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter, and Brent Scowcroft, who held the same position under Gerald Ford and George H. W.Read more ›
I love the format. You feel like you are sitting with Brzezinski, Scowcroft and Ignatius just listening as a child who seemingly should be in bed would sit on the stairway listening to grownups talk about important issues in the living room below.
What I especially like is the way you can stop and ponder what they are saying, or look up a point that is unfamiliar to you on the internet. I am new to foreign policy, and I'm hooked. A glossary or endnotes and a map would have been nice since many events, terms, etc. are new to me (what is the "green zone" or the "Perm Five", etc.) but this should not deter anyone.
I also like the gentlemenly way they discuss differing points of views as well as how they agree with each other. And you can almost smell the leather chairs... Enjoy!
The authors are so knowledgeable and so wise about about how America can be a positive influence on world affairs (and how we have failed at times in the past). They both are highly critical of the attitude that America can push people around and go to war with anyone that we think is a threat.
They offer so much hope for our country and the world if we are led by people who truly understand the best way to go about our foreign poilicy. But to do that, we will need leaders who are willing to take the time to read and listen and be willing to explore a new way of being part of the world.
If most Americans would take the time to read and think about the important ideas in this book, we would have a so much better informed electorate when choosing those who will get our vote.
Washington Post associate editor, David Ignatius, "chairs" the discussion, in that he set up a series of interviews with the two and plays the role of moderator. He's good at it, too, gently prodding them with his own thoughts. That Brzezinski and Scowcroft agree on most of the larger issues comes as little surprise. It hearkens back to the day when foreign policy had a bipartisan component...something that has all but disappeared.
The book covers such topics as Iraq, Israel and Pakistan, ("two unsolved problems") China, (and Asia) Russia and Europe. They comment on the changing world situation and if there is one person who is largely absent from their discussions, it is President Bush. Brzezinski is more open in his disdain for the current president and one gets the feeling that Scowcroft's impressions of Bush are similar but just under the surface. They do disagree to an extent about the timetable of withdrawal from Iraq and the European Union and NATO, with regard to Russia.
Each chapter is riveting and no words are wasted. Brzezinski and Scowcroft are clearly two who have thought long and hard about America and have some disheartening feelings about America's loss of respect around the world.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked the book, but, it just didn't seem to have sufficient depth for a discussion between two such heavyweight personalities.Published on July 10, 2013 by Bruce Forinash
Very good and enlightening historical perspective, but unfortunately dated. Very interesting to read their perspective on Democracy and why it didn't make sense at this time in... Read morePublished on March 28, 2013 by Paul Huber
Even though this was written before Barack Obama was elected, these two former top Foreign Advisors and Mr. Read morePublished on November 20, 2012 by riccoker
The book is a discussion between to prominent realists- although once you read the book you won't be calling them as such - on the past, present and most importantly future of... Read morePublished on August 19, 2011 by No Name
This was a question and answer transcript. It rambled all over the geo-political landscape, and I found difficult to grab salient points.Published on February 21, 2011 by snowball
One of the great foreign-policy minds. His knowledge and wisdom is sorely needed today. Though some are critical over his decision to enlist what has morphed into al-Qaeda, at that... Read morePublished on November 7, 2010 by Bruce G. Richardson
In all of our history there hasn't been a more intelligent yet most dangerous man as Brzezinski.Why? Just read his books and articles and figure out his philosophy. Read morePublished on January 3, 2010 by D. Katusic