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Publisher's Summary

"An incisive, elegantly written, new book about America’s unique role in the world." (Tom Friedman, The New York Times)

A brilliant and visionary argument for America's role as an enforcer of peace and order throughout the world - and what is likely to happen if we withdraw and focus our attention inward.

Recent years have brought deeply disturbing developments around the globe. American sentiment seems to be leaning increasingly toward withdrawal in the face of such disarray. In this powerful, urgent essay, Robert Kagan elucidates the reasons why American withdrawal would be the worst possible response, based as it is on a fundamental and dangerous misreading of the world. 

Like a jungle that keeps growing back after being cut down, the world has always been full of dangerous actors who, left unchecked, possess the desire and ability to make things worse. Kagan makes clear how the "realist" impulse to recognize our limitations and focus on our failures misunderstands the essential role America has played for decades in keeping the world's worst instability in check. A true realism, he argues, is based on the understanding that the historical norm has always been toward chaos - that the jungle will grow back, if we let it. 

©2018 Robert Kagan (P)2018 Random House Audio

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • United States
  • 11-13-18

First Rate But Out of Date

I give this book four stars and recommend it to everyone. However, I offer the following comments as reservations because the author seems to have let his feelings get the better of him concerning recent events.

First, I am a Trumpster and resent being called a white nationalist. True, the wording was lawyerly: 'Trump and his white nationalist supporters' but I prefer deplorables. In addition, I do not remember Trump ever calling for trade victories. Such a representation requires the author to believe either that trade is now fair or in some other way worth the cost. I believe the author holds the second view.

The author also worries over the constitution. I remind him it was a federal judge in Hawaii who unconstitutionally seized American immigration policy (Trump was upheld by SCOTUS). Further, the author seems indifferent to the de-industrialization of the Great Lakes Region. People living in WI, MI, OH, and PA were not. Perhaps the author is a 'global cosmopolitan' who routinely flies over WI, MI, OH, and PA? Just asking.

Incidentally, Islam is incompatible with democracy. Read the Koran then read the new testament one right after the only. Finally, immigration would be less an issue if I did not suspect Democrats wish to import illegals to provide a fresh tranche of natural born citizen Democrats. And remember it was Cesar Chavez who coined the term wetbacks, not white men.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • United States
  • 11-13-18

First Rate But Out of Date

I give this book four stars and recommend it to everyone. However, I offer the following comments as reservations because the author seems to have let his feelings get the better of him concerning recent events.

First, I am a Trumpster and resent being called a white nationalist. True, the wording was lawyerly: 'Trump and his white nationalist supporters' but I prefer deplorables. In addition, I do not remember Trump ever calling for trade victories. Such a representation requires the author to believe either that trade is now fair or in some other way worth the cost. I believe the author holds the second view.

The author also worries over the constitution. I remind him it was a federal judge in Hawaii who unconstitutionally seized American immigration policy (Trump was upheld by SCOTUS). Further, the author seems indifferent to the de-industrialization of the Great Lakes Region. People living in WI, MI, OH, and PA were not. Perhaps the author is a 'global cosmopolitan' who routinely flies over WI, MI, OH, and PA? Just asking.

Incidentally, Islam is incompatible with democracy. Read the Koran then read the new testament one right after the only. Finally, immigration would be less an issue if I did not suspect Democrats wish to import illegals to provide a fresh tranche of natural born citizen Democrats. And remember it was Cesar Chavez who coined the term wetbacks, not white men.