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An invaluable primer from Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, that will help anyone, expert and non-expert alike, navigate a time in which many of our biggest challenges come from the world beyond our borders.
Like it or not, we live in a global era, in which what happens thousands of miles away has the ability to affect our lives. This time, it is a Coronavirus known as Covid-19, which originated in a Chinese city many had never heard of but has spread to the corners of the earth. Next time it could well be another infectious disease from somewhere else. Twenty years ago it was a group of terrorists trained in Afghanistan and armed with box-cutters who commandeered four airplanes and flew them into buildings (and in one case a field) and claimed nearly three thousand lives. Next time it could be terrorists who use a truck bomb or gain access to a weapon of mass destruction. In 2016 hackers in a nondescript office building in Russia traveled virtually in cyberspace to manipulate America's elections. Now they have burrowed into our political life. In recent years, severe hurricanes and large fires linked to climate change have ravaged parts of the earth; in the future we can anticipate even more serious natural disasters. In 2008, it was a global financial crisis caused by mortgage-backed securities in America, but one day it could well be a financial contagion originating in Europe, Asia, or Africa. This is the new normal of the 21st century.
The World is designed to provide readers of any age and experience with the essential background and building blocks they need to make sense of this complicated and interconnected world. It will empower them to manage the flood of daily news. Readers will become more informed, discerning citizens, better able to arrive at sound, independent judgments. While it is impossible to predict what the next crisis will be or where it will originate, those who read The World will have what they need to understand its basics and the principal choices for how to respond.
In short, this book will make readers more globally literate and put them in a position to make sense of this era. Global literacy--knowing how the world works--is a must, as what goes on outside a country matters enormously to what happens inside. Although the United States is bordered by two oceans, those oceans are not moats. And the so-called Vegas rule--what happens there stays there--does not apply in today's world to anyone anywhere. U.S. foreign policy is uniquely American, but the world Americans seek to shape is not. Globalization can be both good and bad, but it is not something that individuals or countries can opt out of. Even if we want to ignore the world, it will not ignore us. The choice we face is how to respond.
We are connected to this world in all sorts of ways. We need to better understand it, both its promise and its threats, in order to make informed choices, be it as students, citizens, voters, parents, employees, or investors. To help readers do just that, The World focuses on essential history, what makes each region of the world tick, the many challenges globalization presents, and the most influential countries, events, and ideas. Explaining complex ideas with wisdom and clarity, Richard Haass's The World is an evergreen book that will remain relevant and useful as history continues to unfold.
An examination of a world increasingly defined by disorder and a United States unable to shape the world in its image, from the president of the Council on Foreign Relations
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold. The rules, policies, and institutions that have guided the world since World War II have largely run their course. Respect for sovereignty alone cannot uphold order in an age defined by global challenges from terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons to climate change and cyberspace. Meanwhile, great power rivalry is returning. Weak states pose problems just as confounding as strong ones. The United States remains the world’s strongest country, but American foreign policy has at times made matters worse, both by what the U.S. has done and by what it has failed to do. The Middle East is in chaos, Asia is threatened by China’s rise and a reckless North Korea, and Europe, for decades the world’s most stable region, is now anything but. As Richard Haass explains, the election of Donald Trump and the unexpected vote for “Brexit” signals that many in modern democracies reject important aspects of globalization, including borders open to trade and immigrants.
In A World in Disarray, Haass argues for an updated global operating system—call it world order 2.0—that reflects the reality that power is widely distributed and that borders count for less. One critical element of this adjustment will be adopting a new approach to sovereignty, one that embraces its obligations and responsibilities as well as its rights and protections. Haass also details how the U.S. should act towards China and Russia, as well as in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. He suggests, too, what the country should do to address its dysfunctional politics, mounting debt, and the lack of agreement on the nature of its relationship with the world.
A World in Disarray is a wise examination, one rich in history, of the current world, along with how we got here and what needs doing. Haass shows that the world cannot have stability or prosperity without the United States, but that the United States cannot be a force for global stability and prosperity without its politicians and citizens reaching a new understanding.
A rising China, climate change, terrorism, a nuclear Iran, a turbulent Middle East, and a reckless North Korea all present serious challenges to America's national security. But it depends even more on the United States addressing its burgeoning deficit and debt, crumbling infrastructure, second class schools, and outdated immigration system. While there is currently no great rival power threatening America directly, how long this strategic respite lasts, according to Council on Foreign Relations President Richard N. Haass, will depend largely on whether the United States puts its own house in order.
Haass lays out a compelling vision for restoring America's power, influence, and ability to lead the world and advocates for a new foreign policy of Restoration that would require the US to limit its involvement in both wars of choice, and humanitarian interventions.
Offering essential insight into our world of continual unrest, this new edition addresses the major foreign and domestic debates since hardcover publication, including US intervention in Syria, the balance between individual privacy and collective security, and the continuing impact of the sequester.
When should the United States go to war?
It is arguably the most important foreign policy question facing any president, and Richard Haass -- a member of the National Security Council staff for the first President Bush and the director of policy planning in the State Department for Bush II -- is in a unique position to address it. Haass is one of just a handful of individuals -- along with Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Bob Gates -- involved at a senior level of U.S. government decision making during both Iraq conflicts. He is the first to take us behind closed doors and the first to provide a personal account. The result is a book that is authoritative, revealing, and surprising. Haass explains not only what happened but why.
At first blush, the two Iraq wars appear similar. Both involved a President George Bush and the United States in conflicts with Saddam Hussein and Iraq. There, however, the resemblance ends. Haass contrasts the decisions that shaped the conduct of the two wars and makes a crucial distinction between the 1991 and 2003 conflicts. The first Iraq war, following Saddam Hussein's invasion of neighboring Kuwait, was a war of necessity. It was limited in ambition, well executed, and carried out with unprecedented international support.
By contrast, the second Iraq war was one of choice, the most significant discretionary war undertaken by the United States since Vietnam. Haass argues that it was unwarranted, as the United States had other viable policy options. Making matters worse was the fact that this ambitious undertaking was poorly implemented and fought with considerably more international opposition than backing.
These are the principal conclusions of this compelling, honest, and challenging book by one of this country's most respected voices on foreign policy. Haass's assessments are critical yet fair -- and carry tremendous weight. He offers a thoughtful examination of the means and ends of U.S. foreign policy: how it should be made, what it should seek to accomplish, and how it should be pursued.
War of Necessity, War of Choice -- part history, part memoir -- provides invaluable insight into some of the most important recent events in the world. It also provides a much-needed compass for how the United States can apply the lessons learned from the two Iraq wars so that it is better positioned to put into practice what worked and to avoid repeating what so clearly did not.
The opportunity thus exists for unprecedented cooperation among the major powers. This is good, because they share vulnerabilities. Globalization, which promotes trade and investment and eases travel and communication, also facilitates the spread of viruses (human and computer alike), weapons, terrorists, greenhouse gases, and drugs. And the United States, for all its strength, cannot defeat these threats alone.
But opportunity is not inevitability. The question is whether the United States will be able to integrate other countries into global efforts against terrorism, the spread of nuclear weapons, genocide, and protectionist policies that jeopardize global economic prosperity. This compelling book explains why it must and how it can.
The next U.S. president will need to pursue a new strategic framework for advancing American interests in the Middle East. The mounting challenges include sectarian conflict in Iraq, Iran's pursuit of nuclear capabilities, failing Palestinian and Lebanese governments, a dormant peace process, and the ongoing war against terror. Compounding these challenges is a growing hostility toward U.S. involvement in the Middle East. The old policy paradigms, whether President George W. Bush's model of regime change and democratization or President Bill Clinton's model of peacemaking and containment, will no longer suit the likely circumstances confronting the next administration in the Middle East. In R estoring the Balance, experts from the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution and from the Council on Foreign Relations propose a new, nonpartisan strategy drawing on the lessons of past failures to address both the short-term and long-term challenges to U.S. interests. Following an overview chapter by Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center, individual chapters address the Arab-Israeli conflict, counterterrorism, Iran, Iraq, political and economic development, and nuclear proliferation. Specific policy recommendations stem from in-depth research and extensive dialogue with individuals in government, media, academia, and the private sector throughout the region. The experts include Stephen Biddle, Isobel Coleman, Steven A. Cook, Steven Simon, and Ray Takeyh from the Council on Foreign Relations and Daniel L. Byman, Suzanne Maloney, Kenneth M. Pollack, Bruce Riedel, ShibleyTelhami, and Tamara Cofman Wittes from Brookings' Saban Center.