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Thomas M. Morgan
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
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. the United States has the capacity to correct its evident shortcomings--if it takes full advantage of its considerable strengths in the following six key areas: overall economic strength, innovative potential, demographic dynamics, reactive mobilization, geographic base, and democratic appeal."
He goes on to expand upon these six strengths, apparently unaware that he has anthropomorphized the country itself (see statement above--"if IT takes full advantage of ITS considerable strengths," etc. This is not a solution, it's a wish list. He is correct in everything he says, but it becomes perfectly clear that he is better spoken yet only linguistically superior to the politicians he advises. HE HAS NO REAL ANSWERS. HE IS SHORT ON SOLUTIONS.
This IS slightly unfair. To any specific global problem, it becomes clear he has a specific, defensible recommendation. As you read through that section of the book concerning the problem areas of the globe, you begin to wish he had been a Republican at the side of George W. Bush, whose foreign policy must have originated in some video game designer's studio. Still, he describes virtually every situation calling for sensitive limited engagement. He is without meaningful threat; his style seems to abandon confrontation. It's like he's looking for the KUMBAYAH MOMENT internationally.
Similarly disappointing, is the lack of allowance for major incidence. It's long forgotten that a great deal of the groundwork for the present relationship between the US, (then) Nationalist China, and (then DBA)"Mainland China", was the shelling of the islands of Quemoy and Matsu by the communists. This CHANGED the whole equation, underscoring the value the (then)communists placed upon eventual unification. That provocation went a long way towards establishing the US "one China" policy that Dr. Brzezinski describes eloquently in what comes off as almost a tribute to Deng Xiou Peng. What happens to this carefully crafted strategy towards rolling accomodation if there is a major war between India and Pakistan?
Weaknesses and all, though,you can stack this against any number of similar books and you still come up with a "BUY" recommendation. His analysis is brilliant. His research is spot on. His editing reeks of a fine, well-used blue pencil, and his understanding of differing global values is encyclopedic. In the final analysis, you have to appreciate this book for what it includes in a small, pithy volume, not for what he was sagacious enough to leave out.
49 internautes sur 60 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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"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. The book contains strong recommendations, to incite Europe to bring both Russia and Turkey into an expanded west, the US should install a hedge around China's expansion, without explicitly attempting to contain it.
In his systematic analysis, the trustee of the Center for Strategic International Studies, examines the reasons for the possible decline of U.S. influence, that the enduring US leadership is widely questioned worldwide with sharp criticism, "because of the complexity of its internal and external challenges." He thinks that what he describes as its, "magical twin motivations of idealism and materialism are no longer viable," since America's court is in a chaotic disarray; its economy is suffering, and an increasing popular feeling of social injustice. With little hope for a better foreseeable future, the majority is isolated in frustrating delusion, and what the author describes as 'ignorance about the rest of the world'. Exhausted by a decade of fighting of two remote wars, an unjustified one in Iraq and another unending war in Afghanistan, arousing a worldwide feeling of animosity towards the US.
Meanwhile, Dr. Brzezinski looks at the rising sun of the Orient, in China, India, Japan, Russia, and Turkey, even when his own expectations indicate that due to their growing pains, no new world leader can be ready by 2025. On the other hand, many global hotspots anticipate a negative geopolitical future for Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea, as the most endangered states. Other nations such as Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Taiwan, South Korea, and Israel are confronted with many uncertainties possibly contributed by regional instability. "By harnessing its overall strengths in terms of economic, social and political ranking, superiority of higher education, rich natural resources and population resiliency, America can indeed "rise to the occasion," is Brzezinski final cautionary warning
"Academics, pundits, and advisors have often been mistaken about America's position in the world....two decades ago, the conventional wisdom was that the US was in decline, suffering from 'imperial overstretch'. A decade later...the new conventional wisdom was that the world was a unipolar American hegemony."--Joseph Nye, Jr, Harvard service professor
America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy
19 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
To mention a few scattered points:
To understand Brzezinski's vision, it would probably help to have read some of Michael Klare's books. Control over energy supply is the key to understanding a number of suggested initiatives. The desire to maintain some presence in Afghanistan, the desire to maintain the independent status of Georgia and Ukraine, and the importance of Turkey, are all designed to secure an alternative source of energy supply for Europe, other than Russia. Brzezinski argues that American disengagement will open space for Russia to increase pressure on these states. However, I would argue that pursuit of this strategy also incurs risk . The Russo-Georgia war of 2008 is an indication that the US could get drawn into conflict in the Caucasus. Would you view Mikheil Saakashvili as a stable partner? How about the modern-day 'Phalaris' Islam Karimov? Key to the success of this Eurasian initiative, Brzezinski states, is Turkey finally entering the EU. This does not appear to be likely in the foreseeable future. Just look at the current state of Franco-Turkish relations.
One area Brzezinski rightly points to as critical in the future is the resolution of the issue of Arctic Energy resource allocation. This is a potential source of future dispute with Russia.
The author indicates support at further centralization of power in the EU. The EU "acts as if its central goal is to become the work's most comfortable retirement home"..Brzezinski makes a number of these kind of statements, which would indicate to me that he is in support of austerity measures and is in favor of greater consolidation of power for the banking houses of Europe, since this is the logical outcome of more centralized control. I would go further and say that Brzezinski hints that such sacrifices are in order for America's "cornucopian culture that worships materialism".
The author supports a "mutually acceptable two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While such a solution would incur undoubted advantage to the US, there is no indication such a solution lies in the future. The longer such a delay exists, it can be argued that the potential viability of any Palestinian 'State' is gradually eroded away. It can be argued that the longer impasse exists, the greater possibility the ideas of Brzezinski's former boss will gain currency (Carter's apartheid thesis).
Brzezinski has little to say about the current Af-Pak War (a term he would shy from using). It would seem 'officialdom' has declared the war on a path to conclusion, but one might be excused for seeing this as wishful thinking. Brzezinski, like most foreign policy officials, cite the fear of "the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in nuclear-armed Pakistan" but he offers little advice other than avoiding an expansion of the war (this would have "no clear end in sight"). In regard to Pakistan he tends to stress the role that nation plays in China's strategic calculus. I would have liked to see the author discuss some possible paths towards ending the Afghan war.
As far as South Asia, he is critical of arms sales to India, and cautions against a US-Indian Alliance as too provocative. He advises the US to avoid taking a position on the Kashmir dispute. Another, perhaps intractable dispute. Yet..reaching a solution here, like the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, would do much for regional stability. Brzezinski, regarding India, is not laudatory. I think a mild disdain for India is a long-standing tradition in US foreign policy circles.
In East Asia, he takes a stand on the Taiwan issue, seeing this as perhaps one of the few issues that, mishandled, could result in Great Power conflict. He thinks arms sales to Taiwan only cloud a long-term US-Chinese accommodation and provoke Chinese enmity. He suggests a future where "it is doubtful that Taiwan can reject..a PLA presence on the island". On Korea, he envisions a possible scenario where China facilitates various stages of reunification with a corresponding reduction in security ties to the US.
In general, the author advises avoidance of conflict. On Iran, he takes the view that the US can respond to Iranian acquisition of Nuclear Weapons by simply extending a US Nuclear Umbrella over the Gulf States. This seems a more reasonable approach than the current one adopted by the Administration. The Administration has taken a risk with a forward Naval Deployment into the Persian Gulf in the current tension-filled moment. One over-aggresive naval officer ('Robo-crusiser' anyone?) could end the Obama Presidency.
With regard to China, the author mentions the usually cited issues of contention, such as the Paracel and Spratly Islands. He suggests mutual cooperation to resolution of these outstanding issues. He suggests negotiation to avoid an arms race in the region. Yet this seems to be the path the US has decided upon. Note the recent announcements by the President and Defense Secretary of a 'pivot towards Asia' (while simultaneously negotiating new troop deployments to Australia). How to maintain closer ties with Far Eastern nations, while avoiding the appearance of Chinese strategic encirclement is not so easy to determine. Basically Brzezinski says the US should avoid additional commitments that might result in the US fighting another Asian land War.
In summary, his argument is that the continued engagement by the US globally is in the interests of the US, and the World. Peace would be threatened by the failure of the US to maintain this role. However, Brezezinski paints the argument in terms of US will. In other words, 'Can a US "highly ignorant about the world" overcome their limited knowledge in order to fulfill their global destiny' (my paraphrase). While the author acknowledges the global financial crisis (and argues for reforms) he, in my opinion, underestimates the capacity of the global economy to function as it has been functioning. While he mentions climate issues, population issues, societal structural problems (in Pakistan, India, China, Russia, Mexico etc)...his general view is that the global system will continue because it is desired by all parties that it continue. Yet it is possible that this massive global economic system might come apart. There have been numerous subtle (and not so subtle) indications that this is the future that awaits us all. Perhaps his next book will be suggestions on how to pick up the pieces of what remains?
Brzenzinski compares our national situation to that of Rome in the fifth century. Hmm..I wonder how far away our 'Crossing of the Rhine' moment is, when it simply becomes impossible to avoid a Chaotic denouement of the Global Commons?