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Superpower: Three Choices for America's Role in the World

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  755 ratings  ·  101 reviews
From the bestselling author of The End of the Free Market, the story of three provocative choices facing the world’s sole superpower.

Global policy expert Ian Bremmer calls for a complete rethink of America’s role in tomorrow’s world. In an increasingly volatile international environment, the question has never been more important. Bremmer explores three choices, each with
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 19th 2015 by Portfolio
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Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have to think about it, some answers to the questions author asks are hard to answer. Keep changing my mind. Going to read some parts again before writing a review.
Terry Tucker
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
If you are an experienced Pol Sci major with experience in conflict countries, this book provides you nothing new or insightful. If You are new the field, it offers a diplomatic look at high level foreign policy with suggestions for operational execution- this is invaluable for you. The difficult part for the newcomers to the field has been how to operationalize the strategy.
Sadly, perhaps in hindsight, Bremmer offers suggestions that he was strictly advised against in Iraq .
All in all, not a
Nathan Albright
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge
This is a thoughtful book on political worldview, and a far better book than a reader has any reason to expect given the subject matter and given the sorry state of contemporary politics.  The author is pretty unsparing on the failures of our leaders to decide what kind of country we need to be for the rest of the world, and gives three perspectives on how we should be with regards to the world at large given our economic and military strength and the apparent wishes of our people.  Until I got ...more
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One quote from the conclusion sums up the power of this book: "...much of what Americans see, hear, and read these days is designed to persuade us that one argument is clearly superior to all others and that it's a moral outrage that others don't see it that way. Rigid opinion, self-righteously expressed, whether from liberals or conservatives, has badly damaged this country."

First key premise: America has not had a coherent foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. Second premise: there are
Andrew Barkett
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
A superficial and not very academically aware overview of foreign policy challenges facing the US circa 2014. Also a roundabout defense of a lot of Obama's foreign policy choices (with criticism of the 'red line' comment thrown in for faux objectivity). Bremmer's annoying misuse of the Moneyball concept grated. ...more
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Useful especially given the current state of politics in the US. Allows for informed thinking about how America should represent itself on the global stage and why it's critical that we demand this from our politicians. ...more
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Foreign-policy decisions look to be among the most daunting issues that Americans face in the next presidential election. How convenient that we have a book delivered now by Ian Bremmer that is written for us, the electorate of the United States. This fast-paced book is the ultimate self-help primer for the bewildered to assist in formulating opinions as to the desired direction for US foreign-policy in the next presidential election and beyond.

Bremmer cogently presents three alternative foreig
Taylor Ramirez
I appreciate that Bremmer is giving the three different ways to go about foreign policy as unbiased as he could and then give his opinion. I find it annoying when people don’t give their perspective.

My original answers:

1A 2C 3C 4A 5C 6A 7C 8C 9B 10A

Independent America Score: 1 (5C)

Moneyball America Score: 6 (2C, 3C, 4A, 6A, 8C, 10A)

Indispensable America Score: 3 (1A, 7C, 9B)

So after reading this book, I’m now incredibly conflicted. Bremmer really sold me on the whole Independent foreign policy s
Bremmer argues that our presidents have improvised American foreign policy since the fall of the Cold War and that we no longer have the power, prestige, resources or desire to continue. America needs an overarching strategy as we face the challenges of the next decades. He offers three options, 1. “Independent America”, 2. “Moneyball America”, or 3. “Indispensable America”. Bremmer is clear that each strategy has costs and benefits.

Why I started this book: I've been overwhelmed with library ho
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Bremmer puts forth an interesting notion: by failing to choose a single coherent foreign policy grand strategy since the end of the Cold War, the US has made the world, including itself, less stable and less safe. He then describes three positions the country might adopt going forward: "Independent America," which largely withdraws from the international community and invests in rebuilding itself; "Moneyball America," which employs strict cost-benefit calculations in making policy decisions to o ...more
Vikas Datta
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cogently argued and more than its subject, tells you about how everything can have a compelling rationale..
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In “Superpower”, Ian Bremmer lays out several logical foreign policy approaches the United States could choose to follow going forward, and frames them in a way to help the reader decide for him or herself which might be the best choice. There isn’t necessarily a best or worst policy, just three different approaches, each with positives and negatives. Bremmer does not tell you what the best policy choice might be, just outlines approaches helping the reader to formulate their own decision.

Jul 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: foreign-policy
If you are a frequent reader of foreign policy, it's fair to say that Ian Bremmer's book won't bring anything new to you. It feels more like a long-form essay than a book, which is not a criticism - it's just the level of depth warranted by his analysis, and it feels quite right.

His attempt at creating three "choices" feels incomplete and not super insightful from a political science perspective, but this is expected of any attempt to reduce a spectrum of strategies and policies into three separ
Josh Fern
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Bremmer presents three arguments for an American foreign policy path forward: Independent, moneyball, and indispensable. Tediously, and with authority, Bremmer takes on each perspective as an unabashed advocate to give the reader a full, unadulterated range of the arguments. He concludes with his choice for a path forward. This was smartly written, and convincing.

My one criticism is that Bremmer does seem to choose the independent view early on in the book as he argues it more fervently than the
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
To be an interventionist or isolationist America?
Chad Manske
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bremmer authors a great book of choices for how to view America’s role in n the world, and equips the reader to decide. The first argument reflects America as Indispensable, the sectioned—Moneyball, and the third, Independent. He provides clarity and cogency to each argument, stopping at the end of each chapter entitled by each of these choices to ask the reader to evaluate where they now stand in relation to questions designed to capture their opinion. Bremmer himself admits he believes the Ind ...more
Ian Kloester
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's a great summation of the choices America has in front of it and the potential impact of each on the world and its allies.

I've sometimes asked people who are certain about what American Presidents should or should not do, if they could imagine themselves in his/her shoes, carrying that load of responsibility, and that weight of consequences, if they really can ever be so certain about what is right or wrong, in often difficult situations. Nobody has summed that all up better for me at least
Scott Lee
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Bremmer makes a great case for the need for a coherent philosophy to guide our foreign policy. He then proceeds to present three alternatives that he characterizes as Independent America, Moneyball America, and Indispensable America. Each gets its own chapter and the full weight of Bremmer's considerable ability in its support. He says his primary goal is to convince the reader of the necessity to choose a coherent philosophy, and to provide the options as he sees them, and I think he accomplish ...more
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a long time fan of Bremmer, I knew I had to pick up this book. His cutting wit and simple explanations of world politics and their interconnectedness won me over as a reader.

He posits that America has three options going forward. While they are all realistic options and well fleshed out, I found the best (and most convincing) writing to be present in the isolationist chapters. It could be my own bias and preference while reading. However, my thoughts are later confirmed that in the conclusion
Jason Jauron
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's a quick read - which I appreciate.
And it's not a difficult read - which I appreciate.
The vocabulary is not daunting - so this is more of a mainstream book.
Nothing real earth shattering here, but I appreciate the foreign policy mini lesson and the author's insights.
And when you consider what President Obama has done recently with Iran, you wonder if he hasn't skimmed the book.
Definitely thought provoking, and a conversation starter, without being written above the heads of the average Joe's
Brenden Siekman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bauer Evans
I was introduced to the author on "Charlie Rose" and have not stopped listening and reading him. This is a 'primer' into how Dr. Bremer thinks about the US's foreign policy choices in the world. While you may not agree with his conclusions, his perspective is a helpful tonic to the hollow banter so often heard on cable news and talk radio. Enjoy! ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Compelling arguments
Noelle Prignano
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I teach AP Government and I plan to do a lot more with foreign policy this year. This book is a great intro to foreign policy, if you’re like me and don’t know much about it.
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I found this pretty incoherent. Bremmer's larger point that one should be wary of simple solutions to complex issues is absolutely valid, and there are lots of little snippets that are interesting or that make a good point. But the overall construct of exploring three separate foreign policy visions while arguing that any one of them is better than a hybrid approach is poorly executed (full disclosure, I thought it was gimmicky going in, but tried not to be biased by that opinion).

My biggest com
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Very interesting overview for someone like me who has avoided as much news as possible since 2017. I was really interested to read a strong argument for all 3 points of view, not because I had trouble empathizing with any of them as it was, but because I didn't know the arguments for them (see: avoiding news).

I've always leaned towards pacificism, fewer wars the better, and let's keep our nose out of other people's business. But I'm also highly empathetic, and it kills me to sit by while other
Nov 25, 2016 rated it liked it
A nation such as the United States cannot--and should not--improvise its foreign policy. There needs to be a model for how a superpower responds to crises; Superpower examines three such models. What's good about the book is that it begins with a quiz for the reader which is then referenced throughout the text. Also impressive is that, when discussing each of the three models, Bremmer argues as earnestly and as intelligently as he can that the model in question is the best one. This creates a ki ...more
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
If I were less ignorant of current affairs, I probably would have given two stars. The bits of historical overview were useful to me.

Of the three options presented, the author's choice seemed to have the weakest arguments. He didn't even really respond to the objections that he himself raised in his other chapters.

It also seems like you could choose your "moneyball" utility function to land anywhere on the continuum from isolationist to globe-trotting white knight. Having a utility function woul
Bryan Mcquirk
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bremmer presents three well thought out paths that the United States should choose from in pursuing our commitment to a foreign policy. While I do not agree with his personal choice as to which of the three the U.S. should make, I think he is mostly correct on the three path layout.
It is interesting to read this three year old summary, and how it applies to current affairs. Bremmer repeatedly discusses what the next president will have to decide, and here we are discussing President Trump's fore
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Ian Bremmer (born November 12, 1969) is an American political scientist specializing in US foreign policy, states in transition, and global political risk. He is the president and founder of Eurasia Group, a leading global political risk research and consulting firm, and a professor at Columbia University. Eurasia Group provides financial, corporate, and government clients with information and ins ...more

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“Our superhero foreign policy draws rivers of taxpayer dollars toward the center, empowering Washington at the expense of local governments. It also empowers the president at the expense of Congress in ways that upset the balance that the authors of the Constitution took great pains to design.” 1 likes
“During his final year in office, at the height of the Cold War, the U.S. government posted a more than $1 billion surplus. In 2013, the federal deficit topped $680 billion, down from $1.1 trillion in 2012. As of this writing, the U.S. national debt has surpassed $18 trillion. For perspective, in 1960, the national debt was about 52 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. By 1970, that figure had fallen to 34 percent. On October 17, 2013, it passed the 100 percent mark. In other words, the national debt now exceeds the value of America’s entire economic output.” 0 likes
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