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Bending History: Barack Obama's Foreign Policy (Brookings FOCUS Book) Hardcover – February 3, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is an extremely thoughtful and intelligent analysis of the Obama administration's foreign policy—a model of serious research on contemporary foreign affairs. It is the best account of the Obama foreign policy that I have read."—Fareed Zakaria, CNN, host of "Fareed Zakaria GPS"



"This is the single best assessment to date of the Obama administration's foreign policy. Although praising the policy as competent and pragmatic, the authors seek to explain why it has generally failed to live up to the visionary goals of the Obama 2008 presidential campaign. A must read to understand the foreign policy challenges that will face whoever is sworn in as President in January 2013."—Stephen J. Hadley, former U.S. national security adviser



"A perceptive and incisive review of President Obama's foreign policy through the end of 2011, with the successes and failures clearly explained, explored, and exposed. The three authors bring to the volume deep and up-to-date expertise in the fields about which they write, sharing trenchant analysis and conclusions which readers will find new and interesting. An unusual 'group book' which hangs together and presents an integrated picture."—Thomas R. Pickering, former U.S. under secretary of state for political affairs

About the Author

Martin S. Indyk is vice president and director of Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution.

Kenneth G. Lieberthal is director of the John L. Thornton China Center and senior fellow in Foreign Policy and Global Economy and Development at Brookings. Both Indyk and Lieberthal were top foreign policy staffers for President Bill Clinton.

Michael E. O'Hanlon is a senior fellow and the director of research in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, where he holds the Sydney Stein Jr. Chair.

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Product Details

  • Series: Brookings FOCUS Book
  • Hardcover: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press; 1 edition (February 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081572182X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815721826
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #653,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Barack Obama spent much time on the campaign trail proposing a dramatic vision to change not only the United States for the better, but also the world.

The candidate outlined a new, multilateral global order with America still leading, particularly regarding hard power, but sharing more burdens with others. There was a strong "anything but Bush" flavor in many of Obama's campaign-trail foreign policies, such as his opposition to the Iraq war, his willingness to pragmatically negotiate with dictators, and his emphasis on a multilateral dimension to American foreign policy. He wanted--at least rhetorically--to bend the arc of history towards justice, freedom, progress, and prosperity.

Has he fulfilled his vision during his first three years in the Oval Office? That is the question addressed by Bending History, a new book that offers a timely and insightful analysis of Obama's foreign policy performance and what he could do if he wins a second term.

Vision and Reality

According to the authors, Obama should be seen as a "progressive pragmatic" or a "reluctant realist." Obama has recognized that America's future will be inextricably tied up with Asia, the most crucial region in the world for American prosperity in the long run. With U.S. troops withdrawn from Iraq and (one hopes) in the process of being withdrawn from Afghanistan, the president called for a "strategic pivot to Asia" last November, a move not only to assert the U.S. role as a Pacific power but also to boost U.S. trade in the region. In his vision for a multi-polar world with the emerging powers sharing more responsibilities, Obama has been trying to get China and India on board to manage the "global commons" through combating climate change and promoting trade and development.
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By Bartosz on September 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very interesting book. It shows very well the mistakes USA made in the Middle East. Also there is a very good description of US policy toward China. The last two chapters aren't very good, even a bit boring, but generally this book is worth reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fits both informed readers and scholars looking for a compact and well balanced evaluation of Obama's foreign policy, its successes and failures.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a sober and insightful look at what Obama has accomplished in foreign policy in his first term. It has a lot of detail and useful analysis.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The insight of the author and his knowledge of foreign affairs is outstanding. The book gives an unbiased view of Middle East foreign policy for the present
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