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Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power [Kindle Edition]

Zbigniew Brzezinski
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)

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Book Description

By 1991, following the disintegration first of the Soviet bloc and then of the Soviet Union itself, the United States was left standing tall as the only global super-power. Not only the 20th but even the 21st century seemed destined to be the American centuries. But that super-optimism did not last long. During the last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century, the stock market bubble and the costly foreign unilateralism of the younger Bush presidency, as well as the financial catastrophe of 2008 jolted America – and much of the West – into a sudden recognition of its systemic vulnerability to unregulated greed. Moreover, the East was demonstrating a surprising capacity for economic growth and technological innovation. That prompted new anxiety about the future, including even about America’s status as the leading world power. This book is a response to a challenge. It argues that without an America that is economically vital, socially appealing, responsibly powerful, and capable of sustaining an intelligent foreign engagement, the geopolitical prospects for the West could become increasingly grave. The ongoing changes in the distribution of global power and mounting global strife make it all the more essential that America does not retreat into an ignorant garrison-state mentality or wallow in cultural hedonism but rather becomes more strategically deliberate and historically enlightened in its global engagement with the new East. This book seeks to answer four major questions:

1. What are the implications of the changing distribution of global power from West to East, and how is it being affected by the new reality of a politically awakened humanity?
2. Why is America’s global appeal waning, how ominous are the symptoms of America’s domestic and international decline, and how did America waste the unique global opportunity offered by the peaceful end of the Cold War?
3. What would be the likely geopolitical consequences if America did decline by 2025, and could China then assume America’s central role in world affairs?
4. What ought to be a resurgent America’s major long-term geopolitical goals in order to shape a more vital and larger West and to engage cooperatively the emerging and dynamic new East?

America, Brzezinski argues, must define and pursue a comprehensive and long-term a geopolitical vision, a vision that is responsive to the challenges of the changing historical context. This book seeks to provide the strategic blueprint for that vision.



Editorial Reviews

Review

“An estute, elegant appraisal of the waning of America’s ‘global appeal’ and the severe consequences of the shifting of power from West to East. . . . Brzezinski provides a powerful cautionary tale. . . . An urgent call for ‘historic renewal’ by one of America’s sharpest minds.”
       —Kirkus Reviews (Kirkus Reviews)

“[An] elaborately woven plot serves the story well, peppering the novel with moments of lingering beauty and shocking violence.”
       —Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)

“A clear-eyed, sharp-tongued assessment of this hinge moment in time.”
       —New York Times (New York Times)

Review

“Brzezinski’s latest book reflects his talent for unraveling complex historical issues and his strength in advocating long-term solutions for them.”
       —Jimmy Carter, former U.S. President (Jimmy Carter, former U.S. President)

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
137 of 149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Clear and Rational Vision for America's Global Future January 25, 2012
Format:Hardcover
In "Strategic Vision," Zbigniew Brzezinski, a foreign policy expert and former National Security Adviser, offers a concise and cogent analysis of the reasons behind the decline in America's global standing, and the dangers that are sure to follow if we let that decline continue. The book is well-written, readable and at 225 pages fairly short for a a book written by someone of Brzezinski's stature on such a broad subject.

Brzezinski provides the expected analysis of America's rise as a global power and a brief comparison to other empires throughout history, as well as the most important reasons behind the recent decline in U.S. influence. He argues strongly that a strong United States is vital to global stability for the foreseeable future. He does not think that China, for example, will be in a position to assume the current U.S. role even by 2025 and beyond.

If the U.S. fails to maintain its stabilizing influence, Brzezinski foresees global chaos, uncertainty and increased tensions between nations. Countries will be less apt to cooperate and more inclined to pursue pure self-interest, and this will happen during a time when collaboration on issues like climate change and terrorism will be more and more crucial. Brzezinski calls for the U.S. to fulfill a "dual role" going forward: First it must secure and strengthen the countries that make up the West. Second it needs balance and mediate between the rising powers in the East, especially China, India and Japan. In order to do this, of course, the U.S. needs to fix its domestic problems and regain credibility.

Once thing I really liked is that fact that, even in a fairly short book on global issues, the author gave an entire chapter to the issue of the U.S. domestic and economic problems.
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great analysis, questionable solutions January 31, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm a Morning Joe regular, and I've long admired Dr. Brzezinski. However, this prolonged memo (it's really too short to be called a "book".) makes a case for considering multiple points of view. The other reviews (when I bought the book there were none, now there are five) struck me as articulate, but leaning towards sycophancy. There's a lot to like, but it's not beyond criticism.

For example,he explains the present belief of America's decline by saying: "Six critical dimensions stand out as America's major, and increasingly threatening, liabilities:". Thefirst is an unsustainable national debt, the second our "flawed financial system", third, "widening income inequality coupled with stagnating social mobility", fourth is decaying national infrastructure, fifth is "a public that is highly ignorant about the world", while sixth is "America's increasingly gridlocked and highly partisan political system."

You've got to agree with this analysis (even though I think the analysis in WINNER TAKE ALL POLITICS by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson presents the same problems with root causes much more effectively). Brzezinski makes all these points quite cogently without belaboring the analysis. The dialogue is fast, crisp and, best of all, decidedly un-wonkish. Anyone can understand the difficult concepts.

Unfortunately, instead of providing solutions to what many economists, political scientists and social comentators have labelled "insoluble", he says that "the foreseeable future is still largely America's to shape.
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48 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
*****
"One of America's precious few master strategists paints a convincing picture of an increasingly messy world ahead and presents a U.S. policy to manage it -- going to strength by building an expanded Europe and keeping a burgeoning Asia stable. Succinct, sharp, and sensible."--Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations
*

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor, a key architect of America's cold war strategy, calls for an urgent need of a historic review of US Strategic Vision (an enduring theme at the U.S. Army War College). He looks back to the optimism following the fall of the USSR Communist Empire and regrets America's missed opportunity. Assessing a detailed analysis, he outlines a new strategy, by which the United States can reassert its position of strength. Monitoring the tottering of the West as the lone superpower, Dr. Brzezinski has warned in his book, "Second Chance, 2007," about the 'Crisis of the American Superpower'. Now, he looks carefully at the expected shift in global power as Europe declines, and draws a bold strategy making way for an accommodating global picture.

The visionary thinker focuses on the change of global power distribution, to counteract the West powers receding due to Europe economics, and the waning of U.S. influence, making way for new entrants from China, India, and Brazil, motivated by their awakened perception of an active global political participation. His analysis prescribes remedies to assert America's place in that new scheme, balancing the shift in global power, especially in relation to China. Brzezinski, exposes bold views, on the future of America and the Crisis of Global Power conveying his hawkish approach.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed the pre-insights of the author
I enjoyed the pre-insights of the author. If someone younger did not live through the last few decades, understanding the nuances may be challenging.
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
OK
Published 27 days ago by Kostyra Kostyrzewski Lech
4.0 out of 5 stars A book filled with useful facts and some new insights. But not all...
This book provides new insights into world politics, power struggles and what it means to be a world leader. It is full of interesting facts and insightful diagrams. Read more
Published 1 month ago by David G
5.0 out of 5 stars AN IMPORTANT BOOK
Brzezinski's book is painfully honest. Students of Iranian history would do well to read it.
Published 1 month ago by Robert Kavanaugh
5.0 out of 5 stars Strategic vision seems to be useful in the terms of turmoil between...
I am now reading it. Strategic vision seems to be useful in the terms of turmoil between the West and Russia over Ukraine. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Razi Nurullayev
5.0 out of 5 stars Great strategic thinker - but biased toward liberal views.
Great strategic thinker - but biased toward liberal views.
Published 2 months ago by William Champ
4.0 out of 5 stars High quality book that I appreciated reading. The author ...
High quality book that I appreciated reading. The author shows he has been up-keeping his research and sharpening his views.
Published 2 months ago by Florida windsurfer
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked it however nothing new was revealed here
Liked it however nothing new was revealed here, just a good reminder how different the world is today after globalization.
Published 2 months ago by cici
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Should be a required primer for all 'wannabes' going into politics or foreign service!
Published 3 months ago by Jack D Ward
3.0 out of 5 stars Where was the vision?
I was very disappointed in the book. He gave a view of the future that tended to chaos - like what is happening now in the middle east. Read more
Published 4 months ago by E Stokes Fishburne
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