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America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy Paperback – Bargain Price, September 1, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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"(E)xcellent...what makes Mr Brzezinski's account interesting - and, in parts, intellectually demanding - is the sense it makes of the great swirl of shifting forces that set the context." Financial Times"

About the Author

Zbigniew Brzezinski 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 at Johns Hopkins University. His many books include the New York Times bestseller Second Chance. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465018017
  • ASIN: B0035G02Q8
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,340,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Bitter, partisan rancor has characterized most discussion of foreign policy in America in recent years. This is a long tradition that has waxed and waned in intensity, depending on the perceived success or lack thereof of the country's involvement in international affairs, since the founding of the Republic. When this rancor runs high, it encourages our enemies, confuses our friends, and makes difficult the formulation and execution of any coherent U.S. foreign policy.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
There is something about this book that compells you to stop reading it for a second and to go to Amazon.com to say "something."

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!

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Format: Hardcover
I had to make myself put this book down every so often as I wanted to read it all in one sitting. So far, I haven't finished the book yet but wanted to comment on it anyway. This is a non-partisan book containing much wisdom.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Refreshing in its candor and broad in scope, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft have put forth sound ideas about how we got to where we are, globally, and where we stand now. Added to that, they have made recommendations for the incoming president. These two men, one Democrat and one Republican, are men of stature and experience and both have been successful negotiators, so when they speak, people listen. It would have been beneficial had the Bush administration heeded their advice in many areas.

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.
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