The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives

Zbigniew K. Brzezinski, Author Basic Books $26 (240p) ISBN 978-0-465-02725-5
Not everyone will agree that the U.S. must ""perpetuate [its] own dominant position for at least a generation and preferably longer,"" but former National Security Adviser Brzezinski offers a meticulously detailed argument for how and why we should. He begins with a quick review of every empire in history and how they compare with America, which he concludes is the first truly global power. He then argues that ""Eurasia is... the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played,"" and moves on to equally brief but comprehensive accounts of political developments there, ranging over entire histories and concluding with how America can best balance power in the region. While it seems overly ambitious to attempt to cover this much ground in a short work, Brzezinski succeeds. He is less convincing, however, when he strays from geopolitics and claims that America is internally threatened by being ""fixated on mass entertainment... heavily dominated by hedonistic and socially escapist themes."" Those who are uncomfortable with his initial premise will be relieved by his conclusion: America's ultimate destiny is to give up its primacy in exchange for ""an enduring framework of global geopolitical cooperation."" (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-465-02726-2
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