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Power Rules: How Common Sense Can Rescue American Foreign Policy Hardcover – March 17, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Gelb, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the New York Times, sets out guidelines for stewarding American power through the 21st century in this thoughtful, comprehensive and engaging examination. Drawing on Machiavelli's The Prince, the author addresses current leaders and their real-world choices, aiming his critiques at the soft and hard powerites, America's premature gravediggers, the world-is-flat globalization crowd, and the usually triumphant schemers who make up the typical U.S. foreign policy roundtable. Gelb writes that America remains the world's most powerful single nation, but this does not mean that the U.S. has absolute or even dominant global hegemony. Along with other major nations, it must accept the principle of mutual indispensability, and work toward global objectives with the full cooperation of Russia, China and other emerging powers. Gelb's bulleted rules and clear advice to President Obama distill his moderate strategic thinking on the future of America: a poised, posed, and credible sword, wrapped in diplomacy and economic power. It is a vision of a pragmatic but responsible global U.S. presence that eschews partisan politics and should find favor in the coming political clime. (Apr.)
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Les Gelb, one of America's most distinguished practitioner-observers of foreign policy, brilliantly explains how a series of administrations weakened our nation's security, and shows how we can reverse this trend. . . . Power Rules is an indispensable book for the new era. --Richard Holbrooke
This book is a must-read not just for President Obama, but for anyone who wants to understand how the new administration can improve its odds of strategic success. -- Jacob Weisberg
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of Strategic Services in WWII and the early Cold War, this is the by far the
best book on how America should and could conduct foreign policy. Gelb served in
the Pentagon, the State Department, as an assistant tthe Natinal Security advisor,
and wrote for the New YOrk Times, winning a Pulizer Prize and even was editgor of
their op-ed page for a time. No one has a background of both serving in government
and writing about it as comprehensive as Leslie Gelb's. Updating Machievvall's 500
year old classic on how to excercise power in foreign relations was a coup.
For the general reader, Power Rules succinctly discusses current foreign policy problems and places the policies of GW Bush within the American foreign policy tradition. His recommendations are presented in common sense fashion that provides a context for further analysis by the reader. Power Rules is recommended for those interested in the war on terror, global warming, and how our foreign policy is evolving to meet these challenges.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this book is that Gelb has modeled it after that renaissance classic of political philosophy, "The Prince" by Niccolo' Machiavelli. Gelb astutely recognizes that "The Prince" is essentially on how a ruler can acquire, retain, and effectively use power to achieve state (as well as his own)goals. The book provides the best advice that Machiavelli can muster as a gift for newly reinstalled rulers of Florence, the Medici family. It was the only gift Machiavelli could afford and is based on his study of history, his experience as a government official, and his shrewd insights into human behavior. Gelb with a similar background and a love of country equal to Machiavelli's love of Florence has written a 21st Century version of "The Prince" that is indeed a worthy successor to the original classic.