A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order (Paperback)
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"A valuable primer on foreign policy: a primer that concerned citizens of all political persuasions—not to mention the president and his advisers—could benefit from reading." —The New York Times
An examination of a world increasingly defined by disorder and a United States unable to shape the world in its image, from the president of the Council on Foreign Relations
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold. The rules, policies, and institutions that have guided the world since World War II have largely run their course. Respect for sovereignty alone cannot uphold order in an age defined by global challenges from terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons to climate change and cyberspace. Meanwhile, great power rivalry is returning. Weak states pose problems just as confounding as strong ones. The United States remains the world’s strongest country, but American foreign policy has at times made matters worse, both by what the U.S. has done and by what it has failed to do. The Middle East is in chaos, Asia is threatened by China’s rise and a reckless North Korea, and Europe, for decades the world’s most stable region, is now anything but. As Richard Haass explains, the election of Donald Trump and the unexpected vote for “Brexit” signals that many in modern democracies reject important aspects of globalization, including borders open to trade and immigrants.
In A World in Disarray, Haass argues for an updated global operating system—call it world order 2.0—that reflects the reality that power is widely distributed and that borders count for less. One critical element of this adjustment will be adopting a new approach to sovereignty, one that embraces its obligations and responsibilities as well as its rights and protections. Haass also details how the U.S. should act towards China and Russia, as well as in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. He suggests, too, what the country should do to address its dysfunctional politics, mounting debt, and the lack of agreement on the nature of its relationship with the world.
A World in Disarray is a wise examination, one rich in history, of the current world, along with how we got here and what needs doing. Haass shows that the world cannot have stability or prosperity without the United States, but that the United States cannot be a force for global stability and prosperity without its politicians and citizens reaching a new understanding.
About the Author
Dr. Richard Haass is president of the non-partisan Council on Foreign Relations. He served as the senior Middle East advisor to President George H.W. Bush and as Director of the Policy Planning Staff under Secretary of State Colin Powell. A recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal, the State Department's Distinguished Honor Award, and the Tipperary International Peace Award, he is also the author or editor of twelve books on foreign policy and international relations. Dr. Haass lives in New York.
"A valuable primer on foreign policy: a primer that concerned citizens of all political persuasions — not to mention the president and his advisers — could benefit from reading."
-Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"A must-read for the new American president and all who are concerned by the state of the world and the prospect of things getting worse. Richard Haass takes the reader galloping through the last four centuries of history to explain how we got to where we are, and then offers an insightful and strategically coherent approach to coping with and managing the challenges before us. Practical and provocative: a book that sets the policy table."
—Robert M. Gates
"Haass’s views demand the highest respect, because he understands that the foremost requirement for stability is that the great nations can deal with each other, and should use diplomacy, an art that recent British governments have almost abandoned in favour of soundbite broadcasts, and that in America threatens to be displaced by a tweetocracy. He understands the limits of power, and of the possible: terrorism must be contained, but cannot be eliminated. China and Russia must be granted respect on the world stage, but a willingness to resist their acts of aggression must be supported by credible western armed forces. America needs to change its Middle East policy, but cannot conceivably walk away from the region. If we had grounds to suppose that the new tenant of the White House was taking Haass’s book to his bed with him, the rest of us might sleep a tad easier in ours."
— Sunday Times
“This is a thought-provoking book that suggests the new foreign policy 2.0 requires more global engagement.”
“Richard Haass’s A World in Disarray is an important primer on the chaotic landscape Trump will inherit."
"In a world where power has become decentralized and respects no borders, we need an updated operating system, one that provides a new method for conducting diplomacy. In this wise and historically grounded book, Richard Haass shows what we need to do at home and in our foreign policy to make this work. It's a brilliant approach for a troubled world."
"With bracing intellectual rigor and a sure feel for the realities of politics and of culture, Richard Haass offers us an invaluable window on a world, as he puts it, in disarray. A wise and engaging voice, Haass is always worth listening to--now more than ever."
"We live in an age when trends once thought irreversible -- globalization, unipolarity, even democracy -- have proven no longer to be. I know of no better guide through these upheavals and toward the new strategies they require than Richard Haass's A World in Disarray. It's essential for anyone trying to understand the new pivotal moment we all inhabit." —John Lewis Gaddis