In This Review

Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower
Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower
By Zbigniew Brzezinski
Basic Books, 2007, 240 pp.

Brzezinski's latest book is a passionate polemic arguing that U.S. foreign policy since 1989 has been deeply flawed. According to Second Chance, the errors and misjudgments of the current Bush administration, although significantly more egregious and damaging than those of its immediate predecessors, proceed at least in part from some common assumptions about the United States' world role following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Brzezinski's ability to see that the problems did not start with the current Bush administration gives his analysis depth and credibility; his critiques of all three post-Cold War administrations score telling points. Yet despite it all, Brzezinski remains optimistic. There are no real alternatives to U.S. world leadership, and most major countries agree that the world still needs a stabilizing leader. That so cogent and frank a critic should find so much latent strength in the United States' international position is a remarkable and perhaps encouraging sign. In any case, Brzezinski's reputation will be further enhanced by yet another lively, sweeping, and learned tour d'horizon of a troubled world.