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Hot Spots: American Foreign Policy in a Post-Human-Rights World Hardcover – October 11, 2012

2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1412849630 ISBN-10: 1412849632

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Editorial Reviews


“Surveying the hardest cases in U.S. foreign policy, Etzioni presents himself as a sort of referee, clarifying the debates and identifying reasonable paths forward. In this collection, his essays on China are particularly penetrating. Etzioni sees China neither as a great threat to the Western-led global order nor as a reliable stakeholder in that order. China, he argues, is seeking to protect its national autonomy and pursue economic development, making it quite comfortable with Westphalian norms of sovereignty and suspicious of liberal interventionism. In the United States’ confrontations with radical Islamist regimes, Etzioni counsels restraint in the hope that moderation will prevail in the end. To address the fiscal and political dysfunctions of the Western postindustrial world, especially in Europe, Etzioni urges a return to the traditions of political solidarity and collective governance within liberal democracies. If there is an overarching theme in the book, it is that the American-led world order is not in upheaval, nor breaking apart into a multipolar system, but rather devolving into more distinct regional groupings. The United States will have less control over events, but no rival state is emerging to impose a new order.”

—G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs

“One need not be a political scientist, war historian or China expert to grasp this analysis. Professor of international relations and Director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies at George Washington University, author of two dozen books, Etzioni writes about complex issues with ease and assurance. . . . I applaud a thoughtfully informed, stimulating, clear, wide-ranging discussion of big topics. Amitai Etzioni at 83 is still relevant, an exemplary scholar, distinguished teacher, ethically centered, and worthy o fthe honor of being among the top 100 American intellectuals.”

—E. James Liberman, Metapsychology

“Amitai Etzioni takes the reader on a tour de force of the world’s ‘hot spots’—from Asia in assessing China’s rise, to the long-term repercussions of the Arab Spring on the Middle East; from a European Union whose very future is in doubt, to the nooks and crannies of the new global disorder. He shows us why neat and quick solutions to the complex foreign policy issues of the twenty-first century—simply deploying drones, task forces, and Marshall plans—is not feasible, especially in this new age of austerity. But he goes on to lay out strategies that can manage and mitigate these challenges over the long haul. In contrast to other books in recent years prescribing remedies for international ills, which are quickly dated or overtaken by events, Etzioni provides a perspective that will remain relevant and useful for years to come.”

—Nikolas K. Gvosdev, senior editor, The National Interest; professor of national security affairs, US Naval War College

“Here is a book that tells us how to combine humanitarian values with a tough-minded approach to security issues. Etzioni is a liberal realist, and his sober and well-researched book never loses sight of the moral goals which should inform US foreign policy in a period of rapid change and increasing uncertainty. A must read, especially in a presidential election year.”

—Shlomo Avineri, professor of political science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 391 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers (October 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1412849632
  • ISBN-13: 978-1412849630
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,753,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

After receiving his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1958, Dr. Amitai Etzioni served as a Professor of Sociology at Columbia University for 20 years; part of that time as the Chairman of the department. He was a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution in 1978 before serving as a Senior Advisor to the White House from 1979-1980. In 1980, Dr. Etzioni was named the first University Professor at The George Washington University, where he is the Director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies. From 1987-1989, he served as the Thomas Henry Carroll Ford Foundation Professor at the Harvard Business School.

Dr. Etzioni served as the president of the American Sociological Association in 1994-95, and in 1989-90 was the founding president of the international Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics. In 1990, he founded the Communitarian Network, a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to shoring up the moral, social and political foundations of society ( He was the editor of The Responsive Community: Rights and Responsibilities, the organization's quarterly journal, from 1991-2004. In 1991, the press began referring to Dr. Etzioni as the 'guru' of the communitarian movement.

Outside of academia, Dr. Etzioni's voice is frequently heard in the media. In 2001, he was named among the top 100 American intellectuals as measured by academic citations in Richard Posner's book, Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline.

Also in 2001, Dr. Etzioni was awarded the John P. McGovern Award in Behavioral Sciences as well as the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. He was also the recipient of the Seventh James Wilbur Award for Extraordinary Contributions to the Appreciation and Advancement of Human Values by the Conference on Value Inquiry, as well as the Sociological Practice Association's Outstanding Contribution Award.

Dr. Etzioni is married and has five sons.

If you would like to join Dr. Etzioni's mailing list, with the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies, visit:

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tzvi on November 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wish there would be some forum in which one could debate the main thesis of Etzioni's new book, The Hot Spots. If he is half right the U.S. is about to commit another major strategic blunder, of special interest to those of us in the Middle East. It shifting its focus and military resources from the Middle East to the Far East, especially to face off China. Etzioni shows, in ways I at least find deserve more attention, is that the main threat to U.S. security is Pakistan, in which terrorists already made several attempts to get their hands on nuclear arms. Next is Iran which is threatening not merely Israel but also Saudi Arabia and other so called `Sunni' states. And Afghanistan is far from stable.
In contrast Etzioni shows that China is preoccupied with its own domestic problems, hence no global designs of the kind the USSR had, and a weak military. To be fair, Etzioni does not deny that China may become one day a threat, however he argues that there is time for what he calls the `China hedge' in which one can try to work with China to deal with many issues in which East and West have shared interests. He hence calls the shift to the Far East "premature".
As I said, there may be good reasons for the `pivot' to the Far East, for this latest major change in strategy by the U.S. -however one wonders if it has been thought out or merely is the result of the pressure to find an enemy, now that the US is being driven out of the Middle East.
Tzvi Gutman
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rascal on November 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
One of the sharpest and most inquisitive minds in America looks at the key U.S. foreign policy and global moral challenges and asks questions that many of us ask ourselves and search painfully for answers. Is China a definite foe or could it become a friend? How should we respond to its ascendance? What are the risks of nuclear Iran? How did the Arab spring affect the position of the United States? Are we right to assume that for a nation to be democratic it must adopt our kind of institutions, including the separation of religion and state? What are the lessons of Libya?

Political, economic and military considerations are accompanied by moral ones. Imagine that Taliban offers America a deal: "we put an end to all terrorist activities and guarantee that no attack on America is launched from our territory - if we don't deliver, you could bomb us to oblivion. But get out of here and accept that we run the country they way we like it, end all that schooling for girls, sending them back home, where they belong. The sharia law is instituted in Afghanistan". What is our response? How do we balance our national security interests with the global moral obligations, if we have any?

The book informs, stimulates and forces to reflect on complexities of contemporary world and our place in it.
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