cover image A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order

A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order

Richard Haass. Penguin Press, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-0-399-56236-5

This foreign policy overview from Haass (Foreign Policy Begins at Home), president of the Council on Foreign Relations, will draw notice, but little surprise, from policymakers and the international community. Haass maintains that the world that followed WWII has run its course; great-power rivalries are returning, and Europe is newly unstable. With Brexit, which starts Haass’s study, the globalism and limited national sovereignty he has long endorsed seem to be in decline. The first half of the book surveys the world of the early 21st century, which Haass regards as one where borders count for less. The second lays out a nebulous, glibly labeled “World Order 2.0,” followed by rapid-fire policy prescriptions. Haass lists many topics of topical interest, though a few paragraphs apiece on climate change, cyberspace, and other widely publicized concerns are not enough. Informed but derivative, Haass’s self-declared centrism tends toward platitudes; he even invokes Goldilocks as “the ultimate centrist.” He sidesteps rising nationalism and religious conflicts but is thoughtful about U.S. economic policies, warning convincingly of entitlement and debt burdens corroding the dollar. Haass’s sensible policy prescriptions will not disturb prevailing consensus in the international community, nor are they meant to. His volume adds up to well-crafted conventional wisdom from the foreign-policy establishment. [em]Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (Jan.) [/em]