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on June 6, 2015
The title of the book says it all. A primer in the political chessboard that is the US foreign policy. Brzezinski outlines in broad strokes
the template that should direct US foreign relations if the US wishes to remain the dominant world power.Considering this book was first published in 1997, it is amazing in its prescience regarding US policy today , especially vis a vie China, Russia, Ukraine and Europe. For readers interested in politics,this book makes fascinating reading.
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on October 6, 2014
Love to learn from these book !!!!
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on December 3, 2011
Brzezinski seems like an unpolitical chess master when it comes to his views on foreign policy. This book offers a rare insight into one of the most influential players on the global chess-board.
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Brzezinski's study on the future of American geopolitical interests is a very helpful discussion on where the US might be going in the decades ahead as it tries to re-establish its post-Cold War international influence. You can always count on him to advance a thesis that is long term and forward thinking in its objectives. There is a lot of Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" embedded in Brzezinski's thinking. As the present world order breaks up under increasing failure of governments to keep their respective economies and societies stable, America is being forced to assume a large and more untenable role in maintaining international order. As former national security advisor to President Carter, Brzezinski likens the new unfolding world view as a chessboard where the American side is being challenged to reassert itself as a dominant power going into the 21st century. The ability to silence its foes with long-range military strike capacity has now vanished, as witnessed in its lack of success in Iraq and Afghanistan, so the US has to fall back on striking up new alliances in order to avoid being marginalized by new emerging powers like China and Russia. Much of his book is taken up with what these arrangements might look like. One that caught my attention was an American-European accord that would act as a bridge to the rest of the world. While I agree that cozying up to the European Union, which is what Obama is presently trying to do, holds some promise for the US but it is probably more advantageous for Europe as it becomes the new international lynch-pin through which all diplomatic efforts move. Instead of playing one game of geopolitical chess at a time, as it did in the past, the US is now playing multiple games in a room of contenders who sense their chances improving as their grandmaster opponent begins to weary and lose focus. Talk about the deck being stacked against the number one power in the world: a stagnant economy, a growing list of foreign enemies, an inefficient military system, a huge trade deficit, and declining social and educational values. If none of these are addressed effectively during the Obama administration, any efforts to shore up America's foreign presence through forging new alliances will be pointless. No country in its right mind will want to associate with a has-been imperialistic power that can't even keep its own house in order
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on July 19, 2004
I didn't rate the book 5 stars because it's a good book. It got it's rating because it's important that Americans read stuff like this. Brzezinski's globalist views are what's ripping our country apart and it's always important to understand the enemy. In this book, which was written in 1998, brags about how America would be attacked by Afghan terrorists and then a war for global government would then take place in central asia. Prior knowledge a conspiracy theory? Doubt it.
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on June 15, 2004
Dick Cheney was quoted by several publications as loving this book. Pretty spooky seeing the many lies and fabrications that are being told about the Iraq war and 9/11. If you truly care about people of the 3rd world and hate imperialist slime like this administration, you owe it to yourself to be educated on the enemy, by reading things like this book.
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on June 5, 2004
When the power elite write, you better pay special attention to the wording because for better or worse, most are damn brilliant and some possibly dangerous. All through the book I found myself being lulled into the author's vision of "utopia" where American dominance rules on a global scale, tenfold over what it is now, mainly through a system of homogenized regional powers which would extend its hold into the resource rich area of Eurasia and the Middle East. However, Brzezinski's grasp on the mindsets of nations is so staggering that one cannot help but be respectful of his writing per se, even if the book has all the trademarks as the blueprint for the New World Order.
The author is not shy about making his objective known but his wording is such that the reader's apprehensions are assuaged with new mottos skillfully interwoven into his keen insight. Convinced that without American global dominance, the world would decay into international anarchy, the former national security advisor and Trilateral member envisions an assimilation that combines the age old imperial doctrine of "divide, conquer, and rule" veiled with what he terms consolidation of "geopolitical pluralism" and tempered to produce what he envisions as "hegemony of a new type".
Brzezinski's rational, however charming as it may be presented, is flawed as he fails to take into consideration one vitally important and likely scenario. Namely, that future generations of government will always use that power wisely and for the global good. If one ignores the old adage "absolute power corrupts absolutely" then one miscalculates on a global scale
In the end however, no matter whether you agree or disagree with his ideas, the final result is a double-edged sword capable of producing polar results by however the wielding power sees fit. Nothing demonstrates this more dramatically than America's achievements with it's foothold in Japan and Europe after WWII, versus the completely counter productive blowback in Afghanistan where it was Brzezinski himself who convinced the Carter administration to secretly fund the Mujihadeen via the CIA.
That intervention who as now everyone knows produced both Osama and the mutated Taliban, betrayed the strategy behind the book's most quoted paragraph when he wrote:
"To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together."
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on February 19, 2004
I bought this book in 1999 trying to figure out why America was in the Balkans. Why did we finally insert our military might there? The answer to that question, why we invaded Afghanistan, why we have invaded Iraq and why we will invade Iran next are all in this strategy that Brzezinski put forth in the Carter administration. I read an investigative report that put it this way: GOD = Guns Oil Drugs. But the book is about America maintaining status as Super Power and how we must look to the future to see our competitors and move our chess pieces into place.
Ni Hao! China is our great competitor. We have taken Afghanistan under the guise of stopping terrorism, we have invaded Iraq under the guise of stopping WMDs, but Iran? What will convince the American people to invade Iran?
According to the author Iran is on the list of countries America must control in the future. We will invade Iran next or cause a civil war there. Just look at todays headline: **** Feb 18. 2004 - TOKYO (AP) -- Japan and Iran sign basic agreement for a Japanese to develop major oil field in Iran. The negotiations have drawn concern from the United States that the estimated $2 billion investment in Iran could pay for nuclear weapons development and terrorist activities.*****
The author does not predict the future, based on what I have lived through, he wrote it.
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on August 16, 2003
Brzezinski is familiarly precinct, efficient and far reaching. In this book he puts on display his characteristically deep analytic skills on a topic he has spent many years as a professional strategist and lecturer. Though at the time of its publishing, when the world was in a much more optimistic mood and globalism was on the march, his approach seemed to hark back to a bygone era, nowadays in this time of hawkish politics, he does not seem to be that far off the mark. His rationalism should not be confused with the views of the current ideologues on the right though.
Certainly, his take on US [power], and its logic of inevitability, may not be that acceptable to some, but still, it only reflects reality, not necessarily a moral judgment. Regardless, rather than simply focusing on and explaining the present based on recent past, like many professional talking heads do, he has actually made some bold projections into far future.
He points at Asia as the center of this grand chess game and concludes it is there where the final moves will be played out. With his excellent knowledge of Eastern Europe, Russia and Far East, he makes an excellent argument.
His few attempts at placing Middle East and Islam in the picture fall far short though; he fails to go beyond worn-out clichés. When was the last time an Islamic revolution got exported anywhere, really?
This is a valuable and interesting book reveals much about super-power strategic thinking process, written very clearly, and I added the last star for his efforts to draw a map of the future geo-politics. Highly recommended for anyone interested in these topics.
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on April 23, 2003
I'm surprised by the popularity of this semi-sanitized rehash of 19th century Imperialism. Manchester's 'The Last Lion, Winston Churchill' trys to make 19th century imperialism palatable by claiming it was over (Churchill was the last) and it's death-throes saved us happy non-imperialist types from Hitler. Brzezinski uses the same "it's ok because it about over" trick. The concluding paragraph provides an excellent taste of the book's delights: "In the course of the next several decades, a functioning structure of global cooperation, based on geopolitical realities, could thus emerge and gradually assume the mantle of the world's current "regent," which has for the time being assumed the burden of responsibility for world stability and peace. Geostrategic success in that cause would represent a fitting legacy of America's role as the first, only, and last truly global superpower."
Here is what this means: At some unknown time, the United Nations will gradually take over the United States world regency. World regent America is 'ok' because the US will only do it for a few years and no one else will try it, again.
I guess Churchill wasn't the 'last lion,' after all.
After carefully hunting through the book, I don't think the 'temporary' side of imperialism is a serious concern for Brzezinski. His primary concern is insuring American power remains pre-eminent and American business monopolize it's 'regional sphere'. His method of operation involves catering to ethnic mythology at every turn, insuring a maximum of ethnic friction. The blandishments about an emerging 'structure of global cooperation' is just a fig leaf.
There must be a lot the left and right could complain about this vision, but I find it primarily empty headed. Brzezinski's model is the status quo, his style is crisis management. I felt like I was reading a paean to good old days of the 'Grand Game' and aristocratic diplomacy.
I won't go into the content. If you have played the board game Risk, you pretty much know what to expect. Brzezinski merely brings the 1960s game into the new millennium.
I think it useful to consider the book from two alternative views. 1) Has it offered predictive value? 2) Does it help us identify the forces that will influence the future.
On the first point, Brzezinski has no predictive powers. He doesn't peer into the future, he drives while staring at the rear view mirror. Written in the late 90s, he entirely misses the 'blowback' of his own Middle Eastern policy. In the late 70s, when Carter-era national security adviser, Brzezinski walked the Russians it "the Afghan trap." Did he ever imagine that his creation, the mujahideen, would blow up the World Trade Center?Brzezinski's blind spot for Muslim creativity extends to just about everything south of the Alps, Anatolian plateau and Himalayas. Weapons of mass destruction get mentioned as an after thought near the end of the conclusion. Christian and Muslim fundamentalism are ignored. Drug cartels and non-government paramilitaries escape his radar screen.
On the second point, Brzezinski offers no systemic insights for global developments. What is it about the United Nations that makes it a fit 'future' for global government? What are the advantages of legitimizing the United Nations as the court of highest authority? How will Brzezinsk's world of vassals, protectorates and competitors find agreement on global authority? We never find out.
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