Zbigniew Brzezinski. New York: Basic Books , Reviewed by Craig A. Strategies for an American 'King' on the Grand Chessboard.
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Zbigniew Brzezinski. New York: Basic Books , Reviewed by Craig A. Strategies for an American 'King' on the Grand Chessboard. Zbigniew Brzezinski dedicates this book to his students, in order to help them shape tomorrow's world.
The question that needs to be asked though is just who does he consider to be his students? They could range from the students he teaches at John Hopkins, students of American Foreign policy in general, current and future American policy makers and, finally, to interested members of the American general public.
While I am very sympathetic to the argument that he makes and respect the conclusions he raises, the book is better for the later two than it is for the more academic minded students of American foreign policy.
In this book, Brzezinski adopts a historical approach that at times is very reminiscent of Paul Kennedy. The difference between these various imperial powers is that while the historical empires maintained control through superior military organisation and cultural appeal Romans , efficient bureaucracy and ethnic appeal Chinese , advanced military tactics followed by assimilation strategies Mongols and superior military organisation and cultural assertiveness British , American hegemony is based on economic dynamism, predominant military power, maintaining the leading edge of technological development and cultural dominance.
The American supremacy has also been maintained, because the Americans have been able to construct a series of interlocking international institutions that reflect the features of the American political and economic system itself. Thus, the central argument of the book is that while the United States dominates most of the world and has significant influence on the three peripheries of Eurasia Western Europe, South West Asia, and the Far East , it is from the heartland of Eurasia that a potential rival may emerge.
He argues that the United States must therefore identify those states that may have the potential to shift the international balance-of-power and once identified to formulate policies to counter or co-opt these state, so as to preserve American interests pp.
He identifies several, what he calls, "geostrategic players" Germany, France, Russia, China and to a lesser extent Japan as potential rivals for Eurasian hegemony. He also identifies several "geopolitical pivots" that would be critical for the rise of these potential hegemonic challengers. Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran he argues are crucial for any revival of Russian dominance in Eurasia while South Korea is vital for either a Chinese or Japanese hegemonic challenge pp.
The remainder of the book is taken up with chapters dealing with each of the major areas of Eurasia. In each of these case studies Brzezinski offers a detailed examination of the current trends occurring in each region.
He then offers his analysis of how America policy should be directed in this area in order to ensure continued American influence. To return to the more pedagogical aspects of the review, the book reads more like an extended Foreign Policy article than a scholarly research text. While for many this is not an issue and indeed may open the book to a wider market, that is the general American public, the style does pose problems for the more academic-minded reader.
There are very few references and no bibliography in the book. Moreover, Brzezinski does not formulate the theoretical basis of his argument. This is not to say that the analysis is not deeply embedded in the neo-liberal institutionalist school of thought, but that there is no discussion of the theoretical assumptions that influence and shape the analysis.
As a teaching tool I would not hesitate to include it in the reading list of any graduate level American Foreign Policy course or even a European or Asian Security course. Indeed I will be adding it to the recommended reading list of my Master's level course on European Security Issues.
I do, however, have serious reservations about including it in an undergraduate course as the students would not have sufficient analytical tools to question many of the un-referenced "facts" as they are presented in the book or the theoretical assumptions that are made in the analysis.
The book is a must, though, for the current American Foreign Policy decision-makers. New York: Vintage Books, Copyright c by H-Net, all rights reserved. This work may be copied for non-profit educational use if proper credit is given to the author and the list.
For other permission, please contact H-Net h-net. Citation: Craig A. H-Teachpol, H-Net Reviews. March, For any other proposed use, contact the Reviews editorial staff at hbooks mail. Job Guide. Discussion Networks. Reviews Home. Subscribe to H-Review. Review Guidelines. Review Standards. Reviews Planning Committee. Search The review you are about to read comes to you courtesy of H-Net -- its reviewers, review editors, and publishing staff.
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The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives
Regarding the landmass of Eurasia as the center of global power, Brzezinski sets out to formulate a Eurasian geostrategy for the United States. In particular, he writes that no Eurasian challenger should emerge that can dominate Eurasia and thus also challenge U. Much of Brzezinski's analysis is concerned with geostrategy in Central Asia , focusing on the exercise of power on the Eurasian landmass in a post-Soviet environment. In his chapter dedicated to what he refers to as the "Eurasian Balkans," he uses Halford J. Mackinder 's Heartland Theory. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Books portal United States portal Politics portal Geography portal s portal.
The Grand Chessboard
Quotes [ edit ] Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power. The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book. How America 'manages' Eurasia is critical. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa's subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world's central continent.