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Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower [Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged] [MP3 CD]

Zbigniew Brzezinski , Dick Hill

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Book Description

May 15 2007
America's most distinguished commentator on foreign policy, former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, offers a reasoned but unsparing assessment of the last three presidential administrations' foreign policy. Though spanning less than two decades, these administrations cover a vitally important turning point in world history: the period in which the United States, having emerged from the cold war with unprecedented power and prestige, managed to squander both in a remarkably short time. This is a tale of decline: from the competent but conventional thinking of the first Bush administration, to the well-intentioned self-indulgence of the Clinton administration, to the mortgaging of America's future by the "suicidal statecraft" of the second Bush administration. Brzezinski concludes with a chapter on how America can regain its lost prestige. This scholarly yet highly opinionated book is sure to be both controversial and influential.

Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor; MP3 - Unabridged CD edition (May 15 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400154596
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400154593
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 18.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 68 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,759,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Brilliantly provocative.... Brzezinski covers a great deal of ground with dispatch and verve.... His book is never less than exciting." ---The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Zbigniew Brzezinski served as national security adviser to President Carter from 1977 to 1981.

Reader of over four hundred audiobooks, Dick Hill has won three coveted Audie Awards and been nominated numerous times. He is also the recipient of several AudioFile Earphones Awards. AudioFile includes Dick on their prestigious list of Golden Voices.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  66 reviews
239 of 255 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perceptive, articulate, succinct! March 13 2007
By David W. Straight - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A great book by the finest foreign policy thinker of the past 100 years.

Brzezinski analyzes the foreign policy of the last three presidents

(Bush I, Clinton, Bush II) and provides wonderful insights and coherent

criticism--good and bad--of each. The most relevant material is about

the current situation, but understanding the foreign policy of Bush I

and Clinton is essential if one wants to understand what is happening now.

The book's title "Second Chance" refers to what is needed after 2008 to

try to reestablish the global leadership of the United States.

You are not going to get simplistic answers here--"Us versus Them", "Good

versus Evil", "Our enemies hate freedom". Brzezinski shows that many

of the current views--"Arabs respect force above all else", "Democracy

can be imposed from outside", and the like have no basis in reality.

He also warns of the growing closeness between Russia and China, and

he is concerned that China will become the dominant player in the Middle

East, with a growing market for oil, a willingness to provide weapons,

and the absence of a patronizing attitude. The world is a very complex

place, and there are no easy answers. This is definitely not a feel-good

book. As Brzezinski says, we have created a disaster which with very

careful work can eventually be remedied--but there will be no third

chance.
166 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sets the Stage for our Second Chance in '08! March 16 2007
By Loyd E. Eskildson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Brzezinski is incomparably qualified to explain and comment on foreign affairs in the last two decades, given his high-level academic and experiential backgrounds, and numerous current contacts. "Second Chance" begins by pointing out that the U.S., having emerged from the Cold War as the unquestioned victor, enjoyed an unprecedented degree of international dominance. Unfortunately, the subsequent three presidents squandered a great deal of its power and prestige - especially Bush II. Brzezinski's intent is to lay out all the problems in the hope that America does better when it gets a second chance after the '08 elections.

Before getting into the details, however, Brzezinski also points out that the collapse of the Soviet was NOT the work of a single person (Ronald Reagan), but the consequence of a 40-year bipartisan effort, beginning with Harry Truman, and also aided by Lech Walesa (defied communism for a decade and compelled compromises that ended communist monopoly on power and precipitated uprisings in Czechoslovakia and Hungary), Pope John Paul II (revived spiritual viability), and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Bush I, according to Brzezinski, did a good (B) job overall - his main achievements were dealing positively with Gorbachev and the U.S.S.R.'s collapse, and then building an impressive coalition to handle Hussein. His two criticisms are that Bush could have done more to resolve the Israeli-Palestine rift (though he did forcefully confront Israel's push to expand settlements), and that Bush I left the Iraq problem unresolved.

Clinton, according to "Second Chance" worked well to move former USSR warheads back into the new Russia, preventing proliferation. However, he did not effectively confront North Korea's efforts to build a bomb, and ultimately failed with Pakistan as well (ignored the fact that India's possession put enormous political pressure on Pakistan). As for the Israeli-Palestine conflict, Clinton's bringing the two parties together was a good step, though Rabin failed to renounce continued settlements; the second effort (Barak and Arafat) also failed, with even Barak's foreign minister noting that he would have rejected the offer as "too vague." Perhaps success would have been attained with more time - part of the problem was that Gore did not want pressure put on the Israeli's near his election campaign.) Another Clinton strength, per Brzezinski, was his bringing the U.S. government to surpluses, generating an even greater impression of world power. Overall, Clinton is rated as a "C" in foreign policy.

Bush II, however, is spared no scorn in "Second Chance," and rates an "F." Until '03 the world was accustomed to believing the word of the U.S. president. Our moral standing also suffered via Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo (without high level accountability), and the brutality of counterinsurgency efforts in the midst of hostile civilians. Our failure to decisively prevail further lowered America's esteem, and further helped unite our enemies and creates more terrorists. Resources diverted from the terrorist threat have led to a resurgence in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Pakistan. Taking Iraq out of the picture has also strengthened Iran; our bias towards Israel has increased - further acerbating a major issue within the Muslim world. Meanwhile, Russia and China, with their new economic strength (oil and manufactured goods, respectively), and lacking the constant mentoring and admonishments of the U.S., are becoming stronger and more involved throughout the world. Disrespectful treatment of China's President Hu during his D.C. visit (no state dinner, allowing hecklers outside the Blair House to continue late into the night, playing the Taiwanese anthem by mistake), as well as supporting more nuclear weapons for its neighgor India were also cited as mistakes by the author. Finally, Brzezinski believes our summary rejection of the International Court (even pressing to exempt U.S. personnel from local courts) and the Kyoto proposal also lowered our esteem.

The world is no longer automatically America's to lead, and by 2050 only 15% of the total population will be in North America and Europe. Hopefully, after the 2008 election we begin to regain our influence.

An excellent overview!

Aside: Brzezinski likes to use the word "Manichean." I had to look it up - means presenting or viewing things in "black and white" fashion.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Experience tells all April 16 2007
By Jon Hunt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When Zbigniew Brezezinski speaks people listen. And when he writes people listen with added alacrity. This book is terrific. Fairness in mind, Brezezinski forces open many long-held thoughts...the first President Bush had a number of merits under his cap, President Clinton meant well, but was otherwise disengaged and the current president stands where he should fall...a total loss, not only to our country but to the rest of the world at large.

While it is fascinating to watch the author mow through parts of the past fifteen years...years he correctly assumes as a nano-second in history...he pulls no punches with regard to our last three presidents. "Second Chance" is a critical look at these past few years and the author rightly comes down with a scorecard, saving his best for last...George W. Bush.

It's hard to believe, as Brzezinski points out, how far we've fallen during Bush's presidency. Could the Iraq war be the biggest policy blunder in American history? He seems to think so as echoed by one he sizes up as astute in the book...Madeleine Albright.

"Second Chance" is a sober and hard-hitting look at today's America. I highly recommend it for its dead-on honesty written by one whose integrity is without question.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. A must read as we approach the future election they are boring us with ... June 27 2007
By Kug - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I happen to hear this guy on Charlie Rose the other night and went out and bought his book. The book isnt as interesting as he is in an interview live but its well worth the read.

His analysis of the past three administrations is superb. It is balanced and I think offers great insight into the hits and misses of our leaders. He goes on to explain his views on the world post Russia and our missed opportunites. His close of post 2008 I would love to hear discussed by him and others.

An important book for this country. Get it and read it and act.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Every voter should read Second Chance before casting in 2008 May 14 2007
By Ryan Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Dr. Brzezinski gives a succinct, and as always, disinterested synopsis of the presidencies of Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II. The last 80 or so pages were the most illuminating, laying out the essential tasks for our next president to have a chance to re-establish America's credibility and global leadership. I'm not sure any of the current candidates are up to the task, but the author makes a compelling argument that our very economic survival is in the balance.

After having read Game Plan by the same author in 1987, the arguments and evidence were so compelling I put my credibility on the line by attesting to collegues that the Soviet Union would collapse in less than a decade. They stopped laughing in late 1989.

If Game Plan gave me a glimpse of the future, Second Chance has shown me two windows of America's future. Which window turns out to show our future my well depend on how well our next president appreciate's the message in this book.

(The only reason for 4 instead of 5 stars is I wish the last section were much longer)

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