Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's Security Adviser between 1977 and 1981, is currently a member of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is also a Professor at Johns Hopkins University and used to teach at Harvard and Columbia.
The Grand Chessboard American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives' was published in 1997. It is one of the most important books of international relations published after the end of the Cold War. Brzezinski's approach is different from Fukuyama's and Huntington's. According to Francis Fukuyama, the end of the Cold War is also the end of history (The End of History and the Last Man, 1992) because it generates a remarkable consensus concerning the legitimacy of liberal democracy as a system of government.
This is not the point of view of Samuel P. Huntington, who still considers the contemporary world as conflictual; instead of USA vs. USSR, it is going to be the West vs. the Islamic and Confucian world. Brzezinski does not try to describe the hypothetical new nature of international relations. His ambition is much more pragmatic.
The defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union was the final step in the rapid ascendance of a Western Hemisphere power, the United States, as the sole and, indeed, the first truly global power [...]. It is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America. The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book.
This thesis is presented in the introduction. It is then developed in six chapters. The first chapter presents the characteristics of the American hegemony, which is a hegemony of a new type. The second chapter depicts the Eurasian chessboard. The third chapter qualifies Western Europe as the democratic bridgehead. The fourth chapter shows the black hole left by the collapse of the Soviet Union. The fifth chapter presents the geopolitical stakes of the Eurasian Balkans. The final chapter presents the US need for the Far Eastern anchor.
Tags: Francis Fukuyama,Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives'
[...] But what is mostly striking in Grand Chessboard' is the way Brzezinski presents his purpose. Indeed, he clearly asserts that everything must be done to make American hegemony last as long as possible. Even if this is a widespread point of view, it is pretty rare to read it so crudely. Brzezinski does not kow-tow to “politically correct”. This might be explained by the fact that Brzezinski refers several times to the theory of the benevolent hegemony, according to which American domination is not an evil domination. [...]
[...] Brzezinski also points out the stability insured by the US: “America's withdrawal from the world because of the sudden emergence of a successful rival would produce massive international instability.” The US legacy to the world According to Brzezinski, “America is not only the first, as well as the only, truly global superpower, but it is also likely to be the very last” because of the very nature of American hegemony, which permits the spreading of power because it is not dictatorial. [...]
[...] The American situation is original: the first time ever, a non-Eurasian power has emerged not only as a key arbiter of Eurasian power relations but also as the world's paramount power.” This “basic theory has basic consequences for the US if it wants to remain the hegemonic power: put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.” This theory has been criticized for its deterministic and almost mechanist dimension. [...]
[...] chapter shows black hole” left by the collapse of the Soviet Union. The fifth chapter presents the geopolitical stakes of Eurasian Balkans”. The final chapter presents the US need for Far Eastern anchor”. Grand Chessboard' can be presented, analyzed and criticized in three points. In the first place, it is necessary to understand why the US plays the central role on the chessboard and should keep on playing such a role. Then, it will be useful to describe the Eurasian chessboard more precisely, in order to understand why it is vital to control it, which must be understood before considering the moves the US should make on this chessboard. [...]
[...] An economic alliance with Japan, in order to give Japan the status of international power without pushing it to an alliance with China. A political alliance with China, which would hinder a Russia-China alliance. The most important is to avoid an anti-China coalition, because it is not in the US interest to clash with such a power. Conclusion Grand Chessboard' has often been criticized, and not only from an academic point of view. This book is supposed to be the perfect manual of American imperialism. Indeed, Zbigniew Brzezinski does not hide his opinion: the US should dominate the world. [...]
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