SEIZE THE MOMENT by Richard Nixon


America's Challenge in a One-Superpower World
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Liberal (with a capital L) doses of realpolitik from an elder statesman whose shrewd and unsentimental approach to foreign affairs remains well worth heeding. Accepting the premise that nations have no friends, only interests, Nixon suggests a wealth of policy initiatives the US could take to ensure that the 21st century brings such millennial blessings as peace, freedom, and progress. If the former President misses few chances to remind readers of his wide acquaintanceship among world leaders past and present, he nonetheless offers an activist agenda whose broad guidelines are informed by idealism as well as clown-to-earth pragmatism. In blueprinting the role America might play in what remains of the USSR, for example, the author warns against aid to centrists (like Gorbachev) "who carry the baggage of the Communist past." Instead, he argues, Washington should help erstwhile Soviet republics and satellites establish the institutions needed to make free markets work. Asserting that arms control (not disarmament) still ranks among the Global Village's most urgent priorities, Nixon next turns his attention to Europe. He characterizes the industrialized members of the EC as closet protectionists while cautioning that the Continent, historically, has proved appreciably less stable than the Middle East. Covered as well are the Southern Hemisphere, the widening Muslim world, and the Pacific Basin. While Nixon harbors few illusions (noting, for example, that "Democracy is not a potted plant that can be transplanted into any soil"), he subscribes to the beguiling notion that Japan and the US share any number of democratic and economic values. Back on a tougher-minded track, the author closes with a wide-ranging series of proposals for home-front renewal, designed to guarantee that America maintains and exercises superpower influence on its own account as well as for the greater good. A geopolitical catechism that's worldly wise and thought-provoking.
Pub Date: Jan. 27th, 1992
ISBN: 0-671-74343-0
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1991


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