A World in Disarray by Richard Haass
American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order

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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.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

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 Richard Haass

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Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations since July 2003, was previously director of policy planning for the Department of State, where he was a principal advisor to Colin Powell. From 1989-1993, he was special assistant to President George H. W. Bush and senior director for the Near East and South Asia on the staff of the National Security Council. Haass also served in the Reagan and Carter administrations. The recipient of the State Department's Distinguished Honor Award and the Presidential Citizens Medal, he is the author or editor of twelve other books. Haass lives in New York City.
 
Published January 10, 2017 by Penguin Press. 348 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for A World in Disarray
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
on Oct 05 2016

A highly learned but sometimes-ponderous survey that will appeal to policy wonks. For most readers, a long-form essay would have sufficed.

Read Full Review of A World in Disarray: American... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Jun 23 2017

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.

Read Full Review of A World in Disarray: American... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

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