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

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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 its own benefits and drawbacks:
“Independent America” argues that it’s time for Washington to declare independence from the responsibility to solve everyone else’s problems. Instead, America should lead by example by investing in America’s enormous untapped potential.

“Moneyball America” acknowledges that we can’t manage every international challenge but asserts that we must defend U.S. interests wherever they’re threatened. It looks beyond phony arguments about American exceptionalism with a clear-eyed assessment of U.S. strengths and limitations.

“Indispensable America” insists that only Washington can promote the values on which global stability increasingly depends in our hyper-connected world. Turning inward would threaten America’s security and prosperity.

Bremmer makes his best pitch for each scenario, offers his own conclusions, and challenges the reader to choose.

240 pages, Hardcover

First published May 19, 2015

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About the author

Ian Bremmer

26 books279 followers
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 insight on how political developments move markets. Bremmer is of Armenian and German descent.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 106 reviews
Profile Image for Tulay.
1,202 reviews2 followers
October 13, 2017
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.
152 reviews1 follower
January 2, 2016
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 great book, but, not entirely bad. I would rather suggest someone check put the free RAND Publications on this topic before suggesting that anyone buy this book in any form. Two good book for purchase or download from RAND:
1. Vistory has a Thousand Fathers (Download both volumes)
2. War By Other Means: Buidling Complete and Balanced capabilities for Counterinsurgency

Lastly, the old standard, Political order in Changing Societies by Samuel Huntington, 1968, is also an invaluable book - at least the first 100 pages. The cost of the book, despite its age is worth it just for the first 100 pages.

Profile Image for Michael Huang.
818 reviews35 followers
March 12, 2023
The book’s central claim is that after the Cold War, the US is having an incoherent foreign policy and we ought to have a clear principle articulated so that both allies and adversaries know what the US would and would not do. Bremmer then sets out 3 different guiding principles and at the end revealed his own. At the very beginning, he asked 10 multiple choice questions with answers representing these 3 yet-to-be-discussed principles and invite you to answer them. These are not the best worded questions/choices, but it was a good exercise to clarify our own preference.

He first recapped what the international stage was like (back in 2015). There was considerable disagreement within the transatlantic alliance, cost issues within the EU, disagreement about how to treat Russia, and wide-spread anti-American sentiment. (Putin’s 2022 invasion, of course, changed the picture quite a bit.)

He then listed a number of cases to show our incoherent foreign policies after the Cold War: the stumbling in Somalia, the subsequent hasty retreat that emboldened al Qaeda, the pushing of NATO (and naïvely hoping Putin will understand); overestimating the power of economic development changing the nature of the Chinese regime; W’s enormously costly global war on terror; and Obama’s sound strategy is taken over by events. A very clear picture that emerges in this review was that all presidential candidates promised to focus domestically (probably all sincerely) but all face international events (and the pressure to do something as the leader of the free world) that force a reaction on these inexperienced presidents.

Next Bremmer lists 3 different philosophies/guiding principles of US foreign policies that he calls the independent, moneyball, and indispensable America. The arguments for each principle are roughly:
• Declaring independence from international commitments: military interventions make us vulnerable; US often demonstrates double standards, the people don’t always trust our own government, why should others trust their issues with the US; in any case, we have no right or hope to micromanage global politics and really should lead by example — perfect our democracy at home; the heavy involvement internationally robs us the resources to build at home, it also creates an apparatus that can even harm our democracy (what are the 17 intelligence agencies doing and who’s overseeing them?)
• To protect and promote US interests (Moneyball): our foreign policy should be a cold-blooded calculation of return of taxpayer investment.
• Indispensable America argues that we must lead and promote democracy because it is the right thing to do.

In the end, Bremmer reveals that he’s team “Independent” which kind of explains why the arguments for the other two positions to be quite a bit weaker. Maybe the 3 choices are not the correct or only choices. Maybe you don’t agree with Bremmer’s choice. But he asks that we should all choose. Given that the democratically elected government ultimately reflects (to some extent) what the populace supports, Mr. Bremmer at least has a point there.
Profile Image for Nick.
474 reviews18 followers
November 6, 2016
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 optimize near-term payoffs, and "Indispensable America," which assumes a position of moral leadership in the world with the goal of shaping the future world order.

The problem is, while Bremmer intends to put forth the strongest possible argument for each position, I don't think he really takes the time to consider the weak points of each, and in some places this is glaring. In support of the "Indispensable America" position he points out that only the US has the clout to support something like the Nonproliferation Treaty, but never explains how something like the NPT would survive in the world of "Independent America." The entire concept of "Moneyball America" assumes that our leaders can accurately assess the near-term costs and benefits of an intervention and marshal the political will to act accordingly. As a result, Bremmer's ultimate recommendation feels less like a rigorously-supported argument and more like his personal opinion. A little more time and space would have developed this book nicely, but as it is I don't think it's much more than a thought experiment.
31 reviews
December 25, 2015
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 three broad policy options to be considered in creating a cogent national policy. America can pursue policies of 1) isolationism, 2) pragmatic and selected intervention in our own self-interest or 3) broad engagement across the world to promote American values.

This is a thoughtful book, and it's arguments resonate based on careful construction, not on the decibel level of their delivery. The reader is invited - encouraged - to make up his own mind.

I would consider this required reading for anyone trying to filter through the posturing and bravado of the current election cycle.
Profile Image for Andrew Barkett.
56 reviews17 followers
March 21, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Leigh.
27 reviews
October 10, 2016
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.
Profile Image for Nathan Albright.
4,419 reviews97 followers
October 1, 2016
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 to the end of the book I was in some doubt as to the author's own thoughts and opinions, and was surprised to hear that they mirrored my own, so well did he disguise his own personal views in the book until that point by seeking to give each of the three views its best possible argument.  One may not like to hear what this author has to say about what Americans apparently want from the rest of the world and what they want to be, but this is a book which I can definitely support.  If anything, and this is important to note, the author's use of the trilemma [1] is an inventive one, and it tends to give a far more noble meaning of what it means to support an Independent America than is commonly held either by that worldview's adherents or detractors.  Given the fact that Donald Trump himself appears to be seeking the support that particular group particularly strongly through his views on immigration and trade and so forth, this book has a far greater importance than may appear to be the case given its modest size and obscurity.

In roughly 200 pages, the author gives a discussion that ought to be held in political science courses in undergraduate studies and even American Government classes on the high school level.  More than most people, this is an author who seeks to understand the assumptions that drive the thinking people have about foreign policy and domestic politics [2], when they think about it at all, and begins his book with a discussion of his intents and background and a quiz on foreign policy where the answers provided are emblematic of one of the three worldviews he discussed.  I found for myself that while taking this test that there were many questions where I thought more than one answer was applicable, which I suppose is part of the point as well.  Then the author, in grand commentary style, spends the next three chapters and roughly half of the book discussing each of these views:  Independent America, Moneyball America, and Indispensable America.  Independent America is portrayed as a place of people who want to make America strong and noble and focus on beginning with ourselves before seeking to reform the world, a classier version of the stereotype of isolationism.  Moneyball America is portrayed as a sharp-minded, coldly rational view of the world seeking to serve our own interests as most other nations do.  Indispensable America is portrayed as an idealistic nation spreading democracy and freedom to the rest of the world and intervening in the human rights crises of other nations.  After discussing how the nation is currently divided and how many of our recent political leaders have refused to choose wisely and consistently with regards to such matters, the author makes his own appeal for America's leaders to support independent America, not least because that appears to be mood of the general populace, a surprising conclusion but a relatively accurate one.

In reading this book, a certain sense of the malaise of our country can be seen among its political class.  There is a divide between the policies that political leaders support and the behaviors they take in office and the clearly expressed will of the people.  Moreover, there appears to be a great divide between a public that has an intuitive sense of what it wants or, more often, does not want in the foreign policy of leaders but who lack a strong understanding of the worldview that they belong to or the vision that worldview has and a political class that has a worldview distinct to the American public and therefore not trusted, but lacks understanding in what Americans are willing to support for the long haul, or even a focus on being coherent in their own worldview.  This book, by being straightforward and thoughtful, manages to combine instruction with exhortation for Americans and their leaders to choose what they want us to be, and to act accordingly.  It is the desire to want to be everything rather than to choose what one is and act accordingly that represents our current state in so many aspects of life.

[1] See, for example:




[2] See, for example:






65 reviews2 followers
June 16, 2015
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 foreign policy directions, none of which alone is necessarily the right one or any of which is mutually exclusive of the others. His point is that whatever the foreign policy of the next president, it needs to be formulated and communicated to give Americans, our allies, and even our enemies a better understanding of our direction. What is so refreshing about this book is that its intent is to engage the reader in a nonpartisan way to make his or her own choices about where America needs to position itself in this dangerous world.

I agree with Bremmer that taking no position in the world and remaining purely reactive is probably worse than having some form of articulated strategy regardless of whether or not one agrees with it. Our strength, both at home and abroad, depends greatly upon the ability of our president to take firm, consistent, and principled positions on global events. Although foreign policy must remain flexible, sound strategy may help anticipate what direction makes sense as events unfold in the future.

Bremmer frames issues in terms of modern conflicts, with numerous references to the most challenging past global conflicts that intertwined with our own history. But what might be right for the world today is not necessarily right for the world tomorrow, and Bremmer is therefore on target in keeping his arguments largely focused on current global issues.

There are academics who may scoff at this book as being oversimplified and lightweight. That matters not. Americans are well served by having an accessible source on which to rely in formulating their views on what to expect from their president in terms of engaging in the world beyond our borders. It is generally not dense, jargon-laden tomes written by foreign-policy wonks that will be helpful to us. Of course, books such as "Superpower" are no substitute for keeping informed on a daily basis of world events. But Bremmer's book can enhance our ability to make some sense of it all.

By the time I finished Bremmer's book, I was ready to take his quiz again and start focusing on my own foreign policy position with a better context in which to formulate my opinions. I assume others will have a similar experience after reading this book. And therein lies the reason I place Bremmer's "Superpower" it in the rubric of successful self-help books.
Profile Image for Vikas Datta.
2,178 reviews128 followers
October 15, 2016
Cogently argued and more than its subject, tells you about how everything can have a compelling rationale..
Profile Image for Taylor Ramirez.
482 reviews26 followers
February 8, 2017
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 strategy and usually I really like that strategy but…it just feel so unrealistic. All these ideas feel really unrealistic. Independent is because America is always for some reason or another going to be forced into a conflict. Moneyball because if someone wants to be involved in a conflict they’re going to get it, they could lie about Weapons of Mass Destruction, where there’s not or something. Going off a list isn’t going to work, also it’s funny that most of my answers on the quiz were Moneyball but I really did not like that section of the book. Then Indispensable is unrealistic because America isn’t always going to be a mighty superpower. What happens is we have economic crash back at home and we can’t afford to be the World Police? Societies will just crumble.

While I think Independent is too idealistic, Bremmer really did sell me on the idea. It sounded the nicest, probably because that’s the one he wanted to do. I wish that put the Independent last, like first Indispensable, Moneyball and then Independent so that the reader is less bias going through the book. Other than that I really enjoyed this book and now I’ve got to write a paper on it. Kill me.
Profile Image for Maria.
3,929 reviews101 followers
September 21, 2017
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 holds this week and this was a great book to jump on. Short and interesting it was the perfect title to cross off first.

Why I finished it: This was a fascinating book written while Barack Obama was president. And it is one of the first respectful books that I've read that pointed out Obama's faults and missteps. (It's hard to find any without the frothing, as it were.) However, reading this book while Donald Trump is hosting crisis after crisis puts a whole new spin on it.

Read along with: The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder and The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made to compare and contrast different recommendations for the future and reasons why we had a coherent strategy in the past.
Profile Image for Ray.
1,047 reviews46 followers
November 4, 2015
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.

Bremmer identifies an America First approach, a Stretegic Cost-Benefit approach, and a Democracy Promotion approach, and details what each involves. Before getting into the details of each, he asks the reader several multiple-choice questions to help focus on their own attitudes. Then, when describing the various general approaches toward foreign policy, he tries to tie the elements of those approaches back to the reader’s attitudes. As we enter an election year, helping the reader focus on what approach might be best may help voters make a better decision when casting their ballots in presidential primary elections. The important thing, per the author, is that the next president needs to outline a consistent set of principles, articulate his or her approach, and follow the stated policy.
Profile Image for Fernando.
44 reviews2 followers
July 9, 2020
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 separate, discrete categories. It is natural that these groupings are flawed, but exploring the how each strategic imperative varies along that spectrum helps the reader to understand the limits of possibilities, and to slowly "grade" the effectiveness of each foreign policy imperative.

By far, the most interesting aspects of reading that book in 2020 are: (1) the author's conviction that America has the tools and the capacity to contain a health pandemic like SARS or Ebola, but maybe the developing countries do not (in July 2020, with COVID-19 out there, I would say this is very far from what's really happening); and (2) the fact that probably very few political analysts imagined that Donald Trump would have done what he has done to the American immigration policy, the dismantling of both the TPP and the Iran Nuclear Deal, the US-China trade wars, climate change, the relationship with Russia (or specifically, with Vladimir Putin), and so on and so on. It helps to understand how outrageous and outlandish is the current US administration, so far removed from any reasonable and well-informed prediction and political calculus.

My main criticism to the book's analysis is the author's prompt pointing of "failures" in foreign policy in the most recent (at the time of writing) Republican and Democratic administrations. I feel that this was gratuitous, and justified only by the author's individual beliefs, not sound actual evidence or consensus. But since he decided to go that way, let me return the favor: how could you have missed so utterly the rise of far-right populism in the United States, and an extension to that, in Europe, Latin America, and other places that were historically bastions of democracy (both nascent and mature)? This is a major failing, and that shows how your opinion does not necessarily guide you towards the truth, so you should be more humble when judging the "failings" of both Bush and Obama. And no, the "implosion" of North Korea is not inevitable. Before that becomes a humanitarian crisis, others will appear e.g. North Africa. What about the plan of sharing technology with China willingly? That underestimates Xi's ambition.

Overall, an enjoyable read that could be a special column on any respectable newspaper, and more suited to people who don't follow foreign policy rather than frequent globalization (or anti-globalization) enthusiasts.
Profile Image for Josh Fern.
129 reviews3 followers
November 10, 2017
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 others. This makes sense as, comparatively, the argument is emotional and weighs human capital more heavily than the other 2 perspectives do.
Profile Image for Ian Kloester.
121 reviews2 followers
August 29, 2017
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 than Ian Bremmer.

It's an easy read that starts with a quiz that helps determine where your view of Americas role sits before you consider the debate Ian lays out for you. It seems he and I differ, in the end, on what role America should play but this succinctly written book strikes me as an extremely considered and intelligent precis.
Profile Image for Benjamin.
349 reviews1 follower
May 21, 2018
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 complaint is that for three-quarters of the book, I understood the visions to be Independent (sort of a thoughtful isolationism), Indispensable (sort of a thoughtful United-States-knows-best), and Moneyball (sort of a pragmatic middle-ground). As such, these just seemed like three points on a isolationist/interventionist spectrum, as opposed to three distinct visions. (Attempts to succinctly describe the the philosophies are further muddied by the fact that all three are strongly tempered by acknowledging the need to allow loopholes around slavishly following the rulebook.) Near the end of the book (well after the Moneyball chapter), I started to suspect that the Moneyball was actually meant to have some economic component that distinguished it from just being the middle ground from the other two viewpoints. (In my defense, there are multiple passages that claim to characterize the "main" difference between Moneyball and Indispensable.)

Either way, I don't see how he can offer up a philosophy of do-what-the-moment-demands as a serious submission to a contest that predicated on finding an explicit guiding agenda. (On the other hand, I also don't understand how one can possibly pass up the choice "do whatever is best" if that option is offered to you.)

Two issues that Bremmer did make me think about more carefully were the legacy of Obama's foreign policy and the fact that domestic appetite for intervention needs to be an explicitly acknowledged variable in determining foreign policy. (For the moment, forget that he also argues the need for more-knowledgeable politicians/experts to stick to their principles when less-informed people disagree; he would claim that this apparent paradox is resolved by reading it as a demand for better communication from our leaders).

my favorite quote: "We don't hate or fear Russia. Washington is angry at one particular Russian."
238 reviews12 followers
February 6, 2018
I was a bit disappointed in this book after hearing the author interviewed on the news. I thought he was a bit one-sided in his criticism of Obama and gave a pass to the younger Bush, especially on the Iraq war.

The one president he applauded the most was Eisenhower, and I agreed with his assessment of Ike's warnings about the military industrial complex and the futility of ill-conceived wars.

All in all, he gave a good description of the problems we face and, as he admittedly, he had difficulty supporting the conflicting solutions and didn't know which one he would choose in the end analysis. I didn't agree with his choice because I thought it was too isolationist, especially in our current presidential/congressional crisis. I understand his budgetary concerns but think they're displaced in some ways and think we need to change our priorities on how we spend our taxpayer money. I also don't think we benefit from becoming too isolated in our ever-shrinking economic and cultural world.

Even though he chose the isolationist road in the end, he made very strong arguments for the TPP and NAFTA. He seemed especially concerned that without TPP we will lose our influence in the Asia Pacific to our detriment. We need to strike a balance with China and others and he paints a tenuous picture if we do not achieve that balance with China.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Holly.
305 reviews25 followers
November 11, 2019
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 people are being tortured, starving, etc.

So I thought I knew where I would land at the end of this book. It was very interesting to have some lightbulb moments of "Ohh, that makes sense now" and "Huh, wouldn't have looked at it that way" while reading. However, my biggest takeaway from this book and the (very well done) arguments for each path froward, is that:

Everyone lies.

There are excellent points for each point of view, but those points of view are carefully ignored by people who champion the other two points when they tell their reasons. It's all so nuanaced that it's tough to choose only one path. But he makes a good argument for making that choice.

Anyway, it was an interesting read. I enjoyed it. I'm not a political scientist, but despite my avoidance of news, I'm not uninformed or unaware of socio political issues, either.
Profile Image for James.
475 reviews9 followers
November 25, 2016
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 kind of suspense, since the reader is told that he will learn Bremmer's opinion at the very end. And, kudos to him, he doesn't weasel out of choosing one of the models, nor does he argue that we need elements of each. He chooses definitively and defends his reasoning. The book also moves along at a quick pace; it's never dull.
Profile Image for Bryce.
11 reviews
February 21, 2018
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 would make you more predictable than having an abstract ideal that you can't practically live up to in all circumstances. Behaving predictably was the through-line of all the options presented.

Not great.
Profile Image for Bryan Mcquirk.
292 reviews18 followers
October 14, 2018
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 foreign policymaking strategy, or lack of a clear one. I am curious how Bremmer would handle the decidedly large difference between his views on dealing with trade, and our current policy. Perhaps that will be the next book.
Profile Image for Jim.
674 reviews
May 4, 2022
The author addresses the rudderless foreign policy that the United States has been living with for far too long and provides recommendations on how to change it to an independent America in regards to this policy. The author addresses many good points but in many areas it sounds like returning to a more isolationist policy similar to the America of pre World War Two which I am not sure it is the way to go but continuing to be the global police force is not the way to go as well but a middle ground must be found sooner than later and I am not sure we are on a path to change past behavior today. Well worth the time investment to read.
4 reviews
March 14, 2018
A pragmatic look at the options for America's future in the early 21st century as other countries (looking at you, China) vie for power and spaces traditionally held by the United States. Bremmer's three choices (Independent, Moneyball, and Indispensable) will arm respective proponents with evidence, rhetoric, and counter-arguments to articulate any of the three as viable options. The only wrong option, as Bremmer argues, is to be indecisive and choose none (or, worse, some bastardized hybrid of all 3).
Profile Image for AC.
27 reviews
August 4, 2020
I learnt from this book, which is always good. However, I felt that it was repetitive. It probably could have been an extended article in a publication as several chapters repeated the new to choose and what the choices available to the US are. I read it from the point if view of a Geography teacher as superpowers forms part of A-level. Selected reading, or all, would be useful for teachers and students.
Profile Image for Soarent.
14 reviews
October 10, 2017
A pretty basic overview of a topic I was just learning about in school. It isn't to difficult to follow or understand and is presented quite nicely. This was my first time really trying to read a political book so it was a pretty new experience for me. It was pretty short which let me learn something new quick.
November 5, 2020
Nice critics to the role of america in the world, I loved the format in which he presented the different questions, and walked on the different options. Even if you don't agree with his view, as he presents his conclusions and picks a side. You have been presented with most of the arguments for the 3 roles he presents
March 1, 2023
As advertised, the author lays out three broad approaches to US foreign policy and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each. While I am not entirely convinced by his summary argument, he succeeds in getting the reader to see how these ideas interact in the design of policy and the potential consequences for America and the World. Clear writing that respects the readers time.
1 review
March 18, 2023
An insipid love letter to the rotting leviathan of neo-colonialism and imperialism that is the USA. If one wanted a non biased, apolitical take on the current state of America upon the world stage look else where. If you’re an America first jingoist you may enjoy this metaphorical stroking of Americas d- ego. Otherwise avoid.
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