Perhaps internal political tension within our country did not give us the opportunity to carefully analyze this book and, raising our eyes from its lines, look at the events taking place on the international stage from a completely different, new angle. And it was then, in 2012, that everything began to change rapidly.
You can relate to Brzezinski as you like, but he clearly belongs to those authors whose opinion is simply necessary to know in order to understand the direction in which the American (and global in general) geopolitical thought works, an idea that, coming off the assembly line of the knowledge factory, tomorrow may become a new foreign reality. Moreover, this new reality is not developing without the participation of Russia. Zbignev Brzezinski is more unacceptable (neither tactically, nor strategically) considered as such an avid "anti-Soviet", "Russophobe" and generally some kind of linear "enemy". He is an outstanding producer of political thought in the West. It must be read and studied. At least for those two simple reasons that many of his predictions influenced US policy and that his views are clearly evolving, reflecting the evolution of the modern world.
That is why we decided to make an analysis of his book “Strategic Vision”, which is obviously undervalued in Russia, with a new theme for the column “Ideas”. Several materials on Terra America will be devoted to this.
Today we present to our readers the review of our regular author Alexei Kharin, who, recognizing the value of the study of the famous geostrateg, still points to those global processes and phenomena that he deliberately or accidentally overlooks the development of transcontinental ties without the participation of the United States -economic and region-civilizations that do not fit into the logic of national states and their alliances, which Zbigniew Brzezinski consistently operates with.
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The last decade in the United States more and more works appear that describe the deterioration of the domestic situation in America, the weakening of its international position and the reduction of its influence on world processes . In a series of such works, the last book by Zbigniew Brzezinski “Strategic view. America and the global crisis ” is of separate, particular interest. The author is not only a prominent scientist, politician, but also one of the ideologues of the US foreign policy, a person belonging to the heights of the power establishment of this country.
The book will not disappoint the reader. After the introduction, which briefly describes the emerging geopolitical situation, Brzezinski proceeds to the first part with the more than saying title: "Embering West."
The Euro-Atlantic world, incapable of acting as a whole, is drooping. The situation is influenced by a global political awakening, unsuccessful moves of American diplomacy and the fall of faith in the viability of American society. The collapse of the USSR made the West a global leader, but the global crisis showed that the efforts of only a united superpower (a united West within its present limits) are not enough. It is necessary to involve new states, new global players, to expand the areas of responsibility of non-Western partners. According to the author, it was this logic that led to the creation of the “Big Twenty”.
It should be noted that Zbigniew Brzezinski himself was one of the main ideologists of expanding the outdated G-8 format to a wider one - it was proposed “G-14 or even G-16”. Another thing is that the proposal of the former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin to create the G-20 is not quite the same thing as the G-8 expansion.
According to Brzezinski, it is G-8, which most fully represents the West in terms of values, should expand, incorporating new countries and defining, thus, the ways of interaction in the new global world order, while G-20, in any case, is if not an alternative to the G8, then in a fundamentally different way of rebuilding the centers of power. (Ed.).
In addition, there has been a process of Asia’s returning its positions, which it had before the XIX century. China Brzezinski confidently puts in second place in the world hierarchy, but along with it, Japan and India are also working on the world stage. The statement of their rights by this troika means not only a change in the balance of forces in the world, but also “the formation of the scattered nature of geopolitical power”.
Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of Asian countries, as well as the European Union and Russia, the author makes two conclusions. The first, traditionally, is about the danger of dispersing the centers of forces and shifting away from the West, and the second, that such dispersal reflects the cultural diversity in the world more accurately (p. 39). It would seem that here it is close to the conclusion of a multi-civilization world, but in terms of “civilization”, “geocivilization” and so on. Brzezinski does not operate.
How long will such a world order last? Difficult to judge. In one hundred years, there have been five cardinal shifts in the global hierarchy (p. 39-40), and the frequency of redistribution is increasing.
The third chapter of the first part is devoted to "global political awakening." This term was introduced by Zbigniew Brzezinski in his previous work “Second Chance” . Boris Mezhuyev, in his analysis of this book, expressed regret that this concept has not yet received such widespread use in political philosophy as “globalization” and “clash of civilizations”. Well, in vain!
Brzezinski examines the origins of this phenomenon (including the French Revolution), as well as the main factors of global political awakening in our day: the growth of interaction and interdependence in the world, along with the demographic predominance of young people in less developed societies. According to the author, the peculiarities of the current awakening and its first results are such that America must re-learn how to maintain the attractiveness of its system.
And so, having said this, he begins the second part, which is called the “Decline of the American Dream”, that is, in essence, the beginning of the end of this very “attractiveness”.
Brzezinski identifies the main stages of the rise of the United States to world power. The secret of the stability of the attractiveness of the "American dream", in his opinion, lies in the combination of idealism and materialism. On the one hand, a political system that protects "fundamental truths", on the other - the vast expanses of America, opening up opportunities for the acquisition of material goods. The difficulties that had arisen for two centuries could not damage the image of America. And only when she was at the top of the world, “her internal political flaws could no longer escape close critical attention” (p. 71).
In the chapter “Down with self-deception!” The author addresses six main reasons for concern:
But despite these systemic problems, Zbigniew Brzezinski does not consider Chinese and European models capable of creating an alternative to America as a role model (p. 83-84).
As if in continuation of the controversy with supporters of these models, the US’s strengths are further analyzed: general economic strength, innovation potential, demographic dynamism, rapid mobilization, geographical base, the appeal of American democracy. Based on them, the author believes, it is possible to correct the existing shortcomings. But this requires reforms in the economy, financial sphere, education. And, in our opinion, very justifiably, an overestimation of values is necessary - you need to think: is it only the acquisition of material goods that is the meaning of life?
The fourth chapter of the second part is titled "America's Long Imperial War." It is about how America took advantage of the Cold War. On the critical side, its foreign policy is understood after the death of the USSR, especially in the first decade of the 21st century. In general, a negative assessment of the policies of the Bush administration is given, characterized as “demagoguery fueled by fears”.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq dealt a blow to America’s global prestige, plus the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in nuclear Pakistan, the escalation of the conflict with Iran and the new aggravation of the Arab-Israeli confrontation. Thus, America finds itself in isolation and is losing influence. She is also waiting for internal difficulties. There are negative scenarios of the American future. All of these unresolved internal and external problems will lead to the fact that by 2025, America can de facto lose its triumphantly proclaimed leadership in the world.
The third part of the book is called: “The world after America by 2025 year. Not China, but chaos. ” It is immediately clear what will happen if and when America loses its leadership there will definitely not be a successor. The name also indicates that China will not be able to inherit the post-American world.
The alleged collapse of America will affect, first and foremost, the national interests of world leaders: Japan, India, Russia, and the EU countries. Brzezinski describes in detail how, as a result of the weakening of the "beneficial influence of America", the accumulated contradictions between countries are revealed, all sorts of coalitions and blocs are created, which are in conflict with each other. The chapter is called "Post-American Confusion."
The fate of individual states is also unenviable (second chapter: “The most geopolitically vulnerable states”) that are close to the major powers: Georgia, Taiwan, South Korea, Belarus, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, and the Middle East. The decline of America will lead to possible power actions towards them from their neighbors.
In the event of a weakening of America, negative scenarios in relations with Mexico are not excluded (the third chapter: “The End of Good Neighborhood”).
Problems so-called. public domain analyzed in the fourth chapter, “Alienated public domain”. We are talking about global problems of our time - the proliferation of nuclear weapons, struggle for water resources, etc. The weakening of America, it is said to the reader, is also dangerous for this sphere.
Summing up the 3 part, Brzezinski reiterates one of the main points: the US needs to develop a new, timely strategic vision to prevent the world from plunging into turmoil (p. 182).
But is there a positive scenario? Well, it is described in the fourth part, called the “New Geopolitical Equilibrium”. Geostrateg traditionally connects the main problems requiring resolution with Eurasia. It is here, in his opinion, that the main conflict points are still located. And this is not only Afghanistan, Iran and Israel with its Arab surroundings. The situation in the European Union is also extremely dangerous. Yes, and China is a knot of problems.
Brzezinski calls for bringing together Russia and Turkey, tightly linking Russia to NATO, and in the East to incline Japan and China to reconciliation, and to develop friendly relations with India and Indonesia. But the main thing is to build compromises between the old forces of the West and the new forces of the East, given that in the modern world sole dominance is no longer possible.
The following chapters develop theses on America’s relationship with the West and the East. The situation in Russia and Turkey is thoroughly considered, their prospects for entering the expanded West are analyzed, from which they must benefit.
That is, if in the West it is necessary to modernize and territorially expand, then in the East there should be support for the development of major players, primarily India, to strengthen ties with Japan and South Korea, and to expand cooperation with China .
In the Conclusion, the author reiterates the idea of the double role of America (which he outlined in the last part): the United States must become a conductor and guarantor of expanded and strengthened unity in the West and at the same time a peacemaker and intermediary between the major powers of the East. It was proposed to implement this plan when reassessing a number of key factors: innovation, education, the ability to intelligently combine strength and diplomacy, the quality of political leadership and the attractiveness of a democratic lifestyle (p. 276).
The final conclusion is the following:
“Although the modern world is less inclined to obey one power - even the USA, but a stable global order ultimately depends on America’s ability to upgrade and fulfill its roles” (p. 286).
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Zbigniew Brzezinski once again brilliantly spends the argument of his main thought in recent years - America needs to change, to be more adequate to the modern world. You need to change your foreign policy as well. Not for nothing, therefore, considerable attention has been paid to the criticism of the aggressive course of the “hawks” of the Bush administration.
Of interest are also the outlined contours of future contradictions, incl. and in Asia. The author skillfully focuses the reader's attention on the strengths and weaknesses of both the United States and other powers. Its parallels with the past are curious. Nontrivial (although not indisputable) analysis historical cycles of Asia.
Brzezinski truly monitors many trends in global change. Many, but not all! Suffice it to recall that recent years have appeared works on the “new authoritarian wave” or on the “world without the West” .
The conclusion that there will be no single US domination is quite adequate.
At the same time, the new work by Brzezinski raises questions and objections. For example, Brzezinski's weakly reasoned conviction that a world without America will plunge into chaos. Or criticism by the author of a multipolar world, as unstable. Yes, such criticism has been known in the world for a long time. However, now there is a different multipolarity, which Brzezinski, apparently, either does not see, or does not want to see. The processes of globalization are accompanied by regionalization, the formation of “large spaces”: region-economies, empires, civilizations. This is a different world, not a world of nation-states, in categories of which the geostrategy continues to think.
In this regard, his unwillingness for Russia to integrate the post-Soviet space becomes clear - instead, it is proposed to include it in the “expanded West”. By the way, Brzezinski has no abusive for our country theses about the dismemberment of Russia, the transfer of Siberia under the control of the West, etc., as it was in previous books .
But the conviction of Zbigniew Brzezinski that the countries of the world will not be able to interact with each other without America should be dealt with separately.
The UN, although it does not always work effectively, but as the practice of recent months shows, if the world players want to seriously use this platform, it can be very useful. Work and tools for regional integration. Controversial issues are resolved in regional forums: ASEAN, SCO, and others. Intercontinental alliances like BRICS (or Brazil-South Africa-India), on the one hand, are still weak, but on the other - the desire of the participating countries to establish an independent interaction.
At the same time, there are situations when states truly dispense with America. Farid Zakaria noted :
“There are capable volunteers who can do the right thing in a situation in which the United States cannot or will not do so. During the Russian-Georgian conflict, Sarkozy, not Bush, went to Moscow. When Israel and Syria sat down at the negotiating table last summer, Turkey and not Washington acted as a mediator. ”
In this regard, the response of the Indian Foreign Ministry in the spring of 2008 to the prohibitive reaction from the United States over the Indo-Iranian relations  is characteristic:
“Iran and India are ancient civilizations, the history of relations of which goes back centuries. No country has the right to indicate how these relations develop in the future. ”
This rebuke, on the one hand, quite lays down in Brzezinski’s logic about Asia’s return to big politics, but, on the other hand, is some alternative form of such a return, in relation to his ideas.
This does not mean that the world can do without America. Not! The current global world is interdependent. But not every region and not every problem requires the mandatory attention and intervention of the United States.
The world is only learning to do without American hegemony, but when it learns, it is likely that this hegemony will not be needed even in its new, softer quality of the “first among equals”.
Brzezinski is right: the world is different. But how? Without taking into account civilizational diversity and the regionalization of the global world, it indicates only one of the possible models of a stable future.
 See eg: Buchanan P. The Death of the West. - M., 2003; Kaphen C. The Decline of America is coming soon. - M., 2004; Prestovits K. Rogue Country. M., 2005; Zakaria F. The post-American world. - M., 2009.
 M .: Astrel, 2012. 285. In the opinion of the editorial board, a more adequate translation would not be the “Strategic view”, but the “Strategic vision”.
 American Superpower / Zbigniew Brzezinski / Basic Books, 2007.
 Intentionally or not, but here Zbigniew Brzezinski lays down an obvious contradiction in his program: support for India in a regional sense will obviously be (albeit subtly pronounced) anti-Chinese. Perhaps that is why in a different place (p. 252-253) there is a consistent criticism of the American-Indian alliance. - Ed.
 Barma N., Ratner E., Weber S. A World Withaut the West. The National Interest. No. 90. July / August 2007 // http://iis.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/a_world_without_west.pdf;
Gat Azar. The Author Of Great Powers // Foreign Affairs. July / August 2007 // http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/62644/azar-gat/the-return-of-authoritarian-great-powers
 Z. Brzezinski. The Great Chessboard. - M., 2006. - p. 239-240; Selection World domination or global leadership. - M., 2004. - pg. 139-140.
 Zakaria F. The post-American world. - M., 2009. - p. 22.
 Cit. by: Brutents K.N. The decline of American hegemony. The end of the unipolar world and the great geopolitical revolution. - M., 2009. - p. 338.