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Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting America's House in Order
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Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting America's House in Order

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  239 ratings  ·  29 reviews
The biggest threat to the United States comes not from abroad but from within. This is the provocative, timely, and unexpected message of Council on Foreign Relations President Richard N. Haasss Foreign Policy Begins at Home.

A rising China, climate change, terrorism, a nuclear Iran, a turbulent Middle East, and a reckless North Korea all present serious challenges. But
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Basic Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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This is not that great of a book. The author should stick with foreign affairs, which is clearly his strength. I really enjoyed the first 60% or so of this book, which laid out many foreign policy challenges past, present, and future. It's clear Haas knows his history and politics around the world. Domestic politics, however, are not his strong suit.

Let me just say that I agree with his overall premise- if the US takes care of business at home, many foreign policy challenges would become easier
Brady Clemens
May 12, 2013 rated it liked it
I really had higher hopes for this book. I think that his analysis of the current foreign policy situation as well as what we should consider basing our foreign policy on is quite sound. And the factors he identifies as problems at home are important. But his strength is definitely on the foreign policy aspects; when it comes to discussing domestic issues that affect foreign policy Haass is seemingly out of his depth. His opinions on debt and solutions for American educational problems are ...more
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting Americas House in Order by Richard N. Haass

Foreign Policy Begins at Home is a fantastic, succinct and accessible book on foreign policy. American diplomat and accomplished author Richard N. Haass provides the public with a fair and even-handed book, in this edition he advocates for a new foreign policy of Restoration that argues for less foreign policy and a greater emphasis on domestic investment and policy reform. This insightful 212-page
Clint Johnson
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Foreign policy chapters are deconstructed well and are a good primer on the subject, especially from a pro-retrenchment view point. Those sections have also aged decently well despite the number of world events that have happened since this was published. The domestic policy sections are not as well fleshed out and lack a lot of specifics. Deficit spending shifted slightly between FY 2014-18 after this was published which is relevant to some of the domestic proposals.

Notably missing was a
Joe Carpenter
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Written from a much more optimistic place than his latest book (which in many ways was a rehashing of this one, using many of the same examples, source materials, and phrasings). The first half of the book focuses on historical US foreign policy toward specific regions, focusing mostly on the middle east I think owing to the fact that Richard Haass was in the white house during the Iraq war as an adviser.

The second half of the book goes through the weaknesses the US has internally and what can
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: political-books
I was inspired to read this earlier work by Haas after reading World in Disarray. My friends from both sides of the aisle should read this book and consider his "provocative" foreign policy and domestic suggestions.
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Provides interesting insight
David Cooke
Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
The first third of this book is an excellent primer in foreign policy. It discusses clearly the general state of play and how we arrived at this point. The second third, unfortunately, does rehash a lot of the same ideas of the first-third, but it does so in a prescriptive, forward-looking manner, so it's still of interest. And he discusses the very thesis of the book, which is that the times have changed, and we need to rethink our foreign policy strategy, scaling it back, focusing more on Asia ...more
John Daly
Book 13 of 40 in the 2015 Book Challange

I'm a fan of Morning Joe and I've often often agreed with Richard Hass when he is part of the panel.

This book is an expanded outline of his opinions on the state of American foreign policy.

A strong believer in a strong American presence in the world he makes clear that there is a need for us to improve at home in order to sustain our presence as a world power.

He points out that we need to make strong policy improvements in education, immigration,
Ben Jasinski
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a great book, and it gives some really interesting ideas on what is to come for the United States in the ever increasing globalized world. I though the ideas proposed for America and how it can still take a leading roll in the world (basically not losing its global dominance) but refocus on needed areas like latin america and asia are going to be vital to this country in the future. I do how ever disagree with the author on some of the ideas proposed about domestic issues. ...more
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Frustrating. Ends up being a kind of laundry list of specific policy reforms, capped off with the claim that what is needed to bring them about is "real leadership." Well...yes. We know. Now what? I agree with his assessment of many of the problems, and while I would quibble with some of his proposals for addressing them, in general they are sensible and clearly based on thoughtful and informed analysis (though I do not know that he is saying much that is really NEW, either in identifying the ...more
Feb 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Though I disagree with some of the minor points, the overarching message of the book urgently needs to enter popular discourse. Haass' recommendations of thoughtful restraint abroad is sound, as is his emphasis on reform at home. My biggest complaint with the book is its sometimes overwhelming vagueness about how the author's ideal policy would differentiate from those of the past few decades. Still, weighing in at a little less than 200 pages, the book is clearly intended to be more easily ...more
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While there were quite a few good points made, many of which I support. Like getting addressing entitlement programs, investing in our infrastructure, and dealing with the deficit. However, I did think it was a little thin on policy recommendations to really address these problems. It's a good start to begin thinking about these important issues and their relationship to foreign policy. It just needed more!
Nov 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Good summary of inside Washington thinking on foreign policy options. When he turns to the domestic front, becomes more predictably standard issue moderate conservative. The one item not dealt with, one of rising significance is that of the growing distance between rich and poor in the US. Going forward, it is difficult to see how this issue does not affect and constrain US domestic politics as well as the nation's foreign policy.
Matt Connolly
May 18, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
It's one thing to discuss a new, comprehensive grand strategy ("Restoration") and quite another to prescribe specific policies that need to be implemented. Haass understands the issues facing a Post-Post Cold War world, but because they are so complicated he has had a hard time discussing how to tackle them. Besides, the issues are fairly predictable so it's really nothing new. Maybe a good first-book in a foreign policy course, but not nearly as enlightening as I had hoped. 2 stars.
Dec 01, 2013 rated it liked it
When I have more than, say, a dozen, "yeah, no kidding" moments when reading a book, it's probably too rudimentary for me. I admire Haass (even though he's clearly left of center) -- he's very bright, but this book was written for someone who doesn't follow international politics as closely as I do. There were several tidbits of good information but, overall, just more of the same. Regardless, I'm still glad I read it.
Carol Palmer
Aug 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting book pointing out that we need to put more money into the United States instead of wars abroad or "nation building". Most of his solutions are sheer common sense like reining in health care costs and the need for updating our infrastructure. The problem is the current lack of common sense in government today that are the result of "safe" Congressional districts and polarizing cable TV news and blogs.
Peter Podbielski
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
A Well written primer with think pieces on the current conditions facing the U.S. While offering vectors, Haass leaves the implementation and execution to those interested and with vested interest to keep this country vibrant. The challenge for the casual reader, polcy wonk, appointed and elected officials is whether "we the people" will work towards achieving a common good.
May 25, 2013 rated it liked it
The guy gives good brief; 20 excellent memos. Sad that Haass felt book needed to be written at all. Most of what is recommended therein is blindingly obvious and has been implemented by other advanced industrial countries since the early '90s.
Jerry Walz
Sep 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Good review of foreign policy issues. Recommendations include cutting the debt. Most advocates of cutting the debt seem to not mention that Bush did nothing to pay for his wars. He cut taxes and said we should "go shopping" after 9/11. No sacrifices other than the dead soldiers.
Feb 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Some political bias is obvious in the author's commentary. While he has some interesting ideas, he mainly explores one side of the issue enough to make the point. I was hoping for a more balanced approach. However, the larger point of putting our fiscal house in order is very real and clear.
Thing Two
Jul 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to Thing Two by: Stephen Colbert
I picked up this book after watching Stephen Colbert badger the author, and was anticipating an argument for isolationism from this foreign policy advisor who's worked for four presidents. Instead, I found well supported plan I hope is being considered by our current policy makers in Washington.
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is very sensible book. To be able to successfully influence the rest of the world, USA has to show an excellent example by putting its own house in order. It is also likely, that no policy maker will be interested in converting these thoughts into action.
Nick Onopa
Great ideas, and serves more of an introduction than an in depth analysis of US foreign and domestic policy but understand that it is targeted for those "not in the know."
Nov 07, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fiction
for foreign policy class
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
A laundry list of things to be fixed at home. Suggestions were not unwise, just a bit...superficially treated.
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: society
An erudite look at American Foreign policy and the change it needs to take in the 21st century. Isolationism is neither an option nor a solution.
Brian Mullady
rated it it was amazing
Mar 27, 2016
Zahra Biabani
rated it liked it
Dec 31, 2016
Hugh C
rated it really liked it
Mar 28, 2015
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Dr. Richard Nathan Haass is in his fourteenth year as president of the Council on Foreign Relations, an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, publisher and educational institution dedicated to being a resource to help people better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.

In 2013, he served as the chair of the

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“Multi-lateralism's dilemma: that the inclusion of more actors increases the legitimacy of a process or organization at the same time as it decreases its efficiency and utility.” 2 likes
“There are three alternatives to real leadership. One is drift, which is pretty much what this country has experienced for the past decade. Business as usual, though, would likely bring about the second alternative: crisis. It could come in many forms, including an economic disaster imposed by a world that tires of lending dollars to the United States. A third alternative—faux leadership in the form of populism that would deepen social divisions without fixing problems—would be the worst of all outcomes.” 0 likes
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