THE GRAND CHESSBOARD: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives by Zbigniew Brzezinski

THE GRAND CHESSBOARD: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives

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The former national security advisor is still a believer in geopolitics after all these years. Like most foreign-policy aficionados weaned on the Cold War, Brzezinski (Out of Control, 1993) has been forced by the disintegration of the Soviet Union to broaden his perspective--but not very far. He sees the US as the only global superpower, but inability to maintain its hegemony indefinitely means that ""geostrategic skill"" is essential. To what end is not specified beyond the vague shaping of ""a truly cooperative global community"" that is in ""the fundamental interests of humankind,"" but in this genre, goals are commonly assumed rather than examined. In any case, Brzezinski casts Eurasia as the playing field upon which the world's fate is determined and analyzes the possibilities in Europe, the former Soviet Union, the Balkans (interpreted broadly), and the Far East. Like a grandmaster in chess, he plots his strategy several moves in advance, envisioning a three-stage development. Geopolitical pluralism must first be promoted to defuse challenges to America, then compatible international partners must be developed to encourage cooperation under American leadership, and finally the actual sharing of international political responsibility can be considered. The twin poles of this strategy are a united Europe in the West and China in the East; the central regions are more problematic and, for Brzezinski, not as critical in constructing a stable balance of power. This updated version of East-West geopolitics is worth taking seriously but it is also an amazing example of how a perspective can be revised without actually being rethought.

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 1997
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Basic