The biggest threat to the United States comes not from abroad but from within. This is the provocative, timely, and unexpected message of Council on Foreign Relations President Richard N. Haass’ Foreign Policy Begins at Home.
A rising China, climate change, terrorism, a nuclear Iran, a turbulent Middle East, and a reckless North Korea all present serious challenges. But U.S. national security depends even more on the United States addressing its burgeoning deficit and debt, crumbling infrastructure, second-class schools, and outdated immigration system.
Foreign Policy Begins at Home describes a 21st century in which power is widely diffused. Globalization, revolutionary technologies, and the rise and decline of new and old powers have created a "nonpolar" world of American primacy but not domination. So far, it has been a relatively forgiving world, with no great rival threatening America directly. How long this strategic respite lasts, according to Haass, will depend largely on whether the United States puts its own house in order.
Haass argues for a new American foreign policy: Restoration. At home, the new doctrine would have the country concentrate on restoring the economic foundations of American power. Overseas, the U.S. would stop trying to remake the Middle East with military force, instead emphasizing maintaining the balance of power in Asia, promoting economic integration and energy self-sufficiency in North America, and working to promote collective responses to global challenges.
Haass rejects both isolationism and the notion of American decline. But he argues the United States is underperforming at home and overreaching abroad. Foreign Policy Begins at Home lays out a compelling vision for restoring America’s power, influence, and ability to lead the world.
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Fantastic social and political commentary
While the book started out a bit slowly, Richard Haass does a great job at laying out clearly and succinctly the problems facing our country today. He details our current foreign policy strategy, and where we should take it, before moving into the domestic side of the puzzle. All issues addressed are, when thought about, pretty much common sense common sense. Should be required reading for all our politicians.
Haass lays out, in a convincing manner, a straightforward and clear path that the United States can take to ensure retention of its dominance on the world stage.
The way I see it, a narrator does a great job if you don't take much notice of them - which was the case for this book. Stillwell does a very good job, enough so that I was able to listen to the book at 2x speed with no problem.
The structure that Haass laid out for examining foreign policy, based on current potential primary motivations: democracy promotion, human rights, counterterrorism, and integration - all considered, but eventually leading to that of Restoration.
Additionally, a convincing argument for the existence of non-polarity in today's global international dynamics.