America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy

In This Review

America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy
By Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft with David Ignatius
Basic Books, 2008
304 pp. $27.50

Both Brzezinski and Scowcroft are too subtle for easy pigeonholing, but both argued strongly and often effectively against the policies of the George W. Bush administration, particularly those of its first term. Both have served at the highest levels of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. Both represent that establishment at its wisest and best. Like virtually everyone in public life, both men have been wrong, sometimes spectacularly so. But more important, both have frequently been usefully right, and at all times both bring extraordinary insights to the U.S. foreign policy discussion. America and the World is in the form of a conversation between these two statesmen, moderated by the Washington Post columnist Ignatius. Some readers will find the conversational format frustrating; these thinkers have complex worldviews, and the relatively short statements here do not always allow for their full expression. Nevertheless, readers looking for clues as to how the Obama administration might seek to reposition U.S. foreign policy could do much worse than to consult this book; this is a wide-ranging and candid presentation of some of the principal themes in American political thought at this critical moment.

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