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The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  2,060 ratings  ·  139 reviews
As the twentieth century draws to a close, the United States has emerged as the world's only superpower: no other nation possesses comparable military and economic power or has interests that bestride the globe. Yet the critical question facing America remains unanswered: What should be the nation's global strategy for maintaining its exceptional position in the world? Zbi ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 18th 1998 by Basic Books (first published October 9th 1997)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Jul 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Zbigniew Brzezinski is a technocrat on the same plain as a Henry Kissinger. He has been National Security Adviser, Started the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller and he was responsible for arming Afghanistan to fight the Russians which has fueled the extreme fundamentalism we are experiencing today. He was a mentor to Obama and has advised presidents on foreign policy for the last 30 years. He has direct contact with top politicians and the big money international bankers (Rockefeller ...more
Luís Garcia
Oct 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: política
I rate 5 for must of his geostrategics analysis and predictions, although I completely disagree on some others. But is indeed interesting to read this book and think about his complicated and intricated explanations of how the main political "chess" players see each others.

I rate ZERO for his blind propaganda of what he calls "democratic world", or "pluralistic values", and the argument that US main goal is to spread it through out the world.

Brzezinski argues that in order to maintain global p
Natylie Baldwin
May 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
“I once asked my colleague, (Zbigniew) Brzezinski, that if everyone was allied with us, who were we organized against? My question surprised him, because I think that Brzezinski remains caught up in Cold War strategy even after the demise of the Soviet Union. In Cold War thinking it was important to have the upper hand or else be at risk of being eliminated as a player. The importance of prevailing became all consuming, and this consuming drive survived the Soviet collapse. Prevailing over other ...more
Clear, concise, explanatory, written with a sure hand. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Julian Haigh
Jul 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
Scholastic masturbation: his argument starts that America is the first 'truly' global power somehow discounting Britain in any geostrategic calculus. He talks about Poland so much that he even says South Korea is the 'Poland' of Asia. This gives an idea of how a few distant academics at the top make policy and develop a truly screwed worldview.

That said, it was an eye opener and I'm actually more likely to believe conspiracy theories now.
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the most coherent, eloquently written overview of the geopolitical and socioeconomic state of the world. Written in 1997 by Zbigniew Brzezinski, an esteemed professor of international relations, former National Security Advisor, and co-founder of the Trilateral Commission.

Its general theme is that America is the first, and likely the last truly global power. America, he says, has a 20 to 30 year window of opportunity to assert control of the world stage, specifically through the strateg
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Too often I'm presented with an analysis of foreign policy that depicts ideology or religion as a driving factor in global politics. Can we really maintain that the states are at war in the Middle East for the sake of its people, and the abstract ideal of "democracy"? That the vast power structure of the United States military apparatus, with its attendant logistics and support, representing a million and a half personnel should be brought to bear out of a selfless allegiance to ideology, at gre ...more
Ivan Kapersky
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
In chess, everything is strategy. The positioning of each piece in a certain space means and specific function as part of the mayor strategy and final goal. In The Grand Chessboard by Zbiniew Brezinski, introduces us to the complicated concepts of geopolitical and geostrategic. Every country requires an special and very complicated diplomatic relation regarding a military conflict, economical opportunity or situation, ethnic interactions etc. between countries. In the book the author explains th ...more
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who is interested in politics
Shelves: re-reading
Brzezinski, the evil genius, lays out clearly and unambiguously the plans by the American empire to achieve world domination by conquering the Eurasian land mass. Along with the Project for a New American Century, this is the most forthright declaration of the United States's drive to control the planet and eliminate any and all challengers, whether it be for resources or territory. If you want to understand what is behind all of the wars of the 20th and 21st centuries, read this book. Brzezinsk ...more
James Murphy
Unbelievably, though published only 20 years ago, The Grand Chessboard seems dated. It predates 9/11 and Vladimir Putin's rise to leadership in Russia, and the years following those events have moved at warp speed and left some of Brzezinski's visions for the future undermined. The American primacy is at the core of his vision, as his title indicates, but he does write that our global hegemony is limited.

Of primary interest to me was his long section on our relations with China and Asia. They ar
Gary Knapton
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Spellbinding stuff.

This WhiteHouse insider lays it all out.

World domination is like a big game of chess. Eurasia - from Lisbon across to Vladivostok is the game board. It's where the money, resources and people are. To rule the world you've got to rule this area. The problem for the US is that it isn't in the field of play. It's across the pond feeling left out.

So the plan was that you take two "gateway" islands on either side of Eurasia and work your way in. On the East it's Japan. To the west
Jim McGowan
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Have diplomatic relations in the area otherwise let the people native to the area xxxxing run their own lands. Stick to your knitting America. Take care of your OWN people. Zbig - xxxx off. We have seen nearly 16 years of the greater Israel project and 16 idiotic years in Afghanistan. One thing is very clear we can NOT win there period. The British, the Russians, now the Americans can NEVER hold it. End this FAILED I M P E R I A L effort. Did this pieces of xxxt EVER ask the American people? No, ...more
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
"How the United States both manipulates and accommodates the principal geostrategic players on the Eurasian chessboard and how it manages Eurasia's key geopolitical pivots will be critical to the longevity and stability of America's global primacy."

The most comprehensive geopolitical analysis I've read, it taught me a new way of thinking about international relations as well as strategy. The former National Security Advisor to President Carter charts the most likely directions of the foreign pol
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The late Zbigniew Brzezinski was one of the great thinkers about international relations of our time. Like Henry Kissinger, Professor Brzezinski was both an accomplished academic and writer, and a statesman. He served as National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter. I met Dr. Brzezinski when he visited Algiers, Algeria, in that capacity.

The reason I marked this book "amazing" is that it was written in 1997, although an epilogue was added in 2016, before 9/11, before the George W. Bush adm
Wissam Raji
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
An eye-opener about the difference between geostrategy and geopolitics. The book discusses why American supremacy is likely to remain and how the US differentiates clearly between geostrategic countries and geopolitically important ones and how the approach with each is being implemented. A very interesting book that literally resembles a chess game when it comes to international relations. Highly recommended read.
Meir Javedanfar
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it
The Grand Chessboard is a good book to read for many reasons, chief among them if you want to know and compare what could have happened to US relations with Eurasia relations, especially US – Russia relations and US – China, and what actually happened. This is because the book was originally published in 1997. The Grand Chessboard also paints a good theoretical map of the direction which American Geostrategic policies should follow. It also contains some very useful and informative sections on h ...more
W. Holmes
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a unique book. Not only did Brzezinski serve as Natl Security Adviser, but was also indirectly involved in issues that led to the current geopolitical issues underlying the Crimean Crisis. He makes some interesting suggestions near the end that he actually pulled off via his son Ian Brzezinski who served as an Adviser to Ukraine during the Orange Revolution.

Currently Topical, and this guys yields a ton of Influence. Of his kids, one is a news anchor, one the ambassador to Sweden, and one
Sebastien St Vil
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you want to acquire knowledge about Eurasia, it is an imperative to read this masterpiece from Brzezinsky. He possesses a deep comprehension of Countries and meticulously presents to us the reason behind every geopolitical decision in a lucid and coherent form of writing. He also offers his own prognosis on critical decision that a country will undertake in the future which is interesting. Considering this book was written in 1994 and that we are currently in 2014, i'm stupefied by the accura ...more
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aside from me disliking American hegemony aspirations and this book abounds with them, being heavily discussed in this work of Brzezinski, it is a must read for anyone trying to understand behavior of regional and international powers.
Mr. Brzezinski wrote the book almost almost 20 years ago but his assumptions and words still echo through world politics.
Sep 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Brzenzinski is "criminal mastermind" is how a friend of mine put it when he recommended this book to me. I have to agree. He is a genius, but he is a little scary as well. (Not Dick Cheney scary, but scary nonetheless.)
Jun 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
one should appreciate the candor of texts like this, where the imperialist objectives are openly expressed.

made famous several years after its composition by the bush regime's seeming attempt to effect its basic recommendations.
Moe  Shinola
Jun 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Good book, but already one can see how the author's dream for Eurasia is coming apart.
Julie Lowe
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A clear and unambiguus book to dipel the idea that the NWO is a conspiracy. Its not. The proof is in this book
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
The grand Chessboard is the compiling of the recommendations regarding geo-strategy that Zbigniew Brzezinksi had to give to the US statesmen and generally for the US government at the end of the 90s in order to maintain its geopolitical place in the world, stating Eurasia as the most important region for global primacy. Although many things have changed in the last 20 years regarding the positions and strategies of many states, the book feels still actual, with the author describing his differen ...more
Zhijing Jin
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
1. This book is in the category of "how to do things" but not "why to do things". In terms of "how to", this book gives a strategically good way, but not the best way (through personal/cultural charisma). E.g., it captures how to make America win over other countries, but not how to make the America's style of doing things the belief / blueprint / moral role model for all other countries.

2. Core idea: Eurasia continent is this "chessboard" -> "Eurasia is also the location of most of the world's
When most of America’s foreign policy establishment was stuck in what felt like a perpetual state of euphoria after the fall of the Soviet Union during the 1990s, Brzezinski was developing a framework for a future world order; he did not, unlike many, take America’s preeminence for granted nor assume it to be permanent for more than a generation or less. Given the book was written over 20 years ago, a lot of it reads like a prophecy, such as the conflict in Ukraine and the reassertion of Islamic ...more
M. Ashraf
Aug 19, 2018 rated it liked it
It was a very interesting analysis and now after 20 years of its publication few of the prediction came true others still in the air and most are not.

I did not agree with a lot of what he discussed and his view of this democratic world, but it was a good analysis after all, and living now in this new world, you have to be judgmental; because this type of thinking is what lead us to now!

...empires are inherently politically unstable because subordinate units almost always prefer greater
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The ultimate objective of American policy should be benign and visionary: to shape a truly cooperative global community, in keeping with long-range trends and with the fundamental interests of humankind. But in the meantime, it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus also of challenging America.

For the past two years I’ve been studying politics in an effort to better orient the myriad of conversations around me. It seems everyone has strong opini
Diego López Ocón
Brzeziński had the right ideas when he wrote this book, most of the theories that he presents had become true. However, the States and the interest of the international agenda changed a few years after this. The 9/11 attack to the U.S put a new light on this century, Russia got back together thank to the politics of Putin, and China isn't interested on being a global power, but more of a State with economic power.

Even the author himself stated in 2016 that the world has changed in his article: T
Sep 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017
Don't read this book. Brzezinski had some great ideas and the book is occasionally interesting but please, please skip it.

His writing is so dry and pretentious that once you start reading this you will never want to pick it up again and will look at it with dread when you see it on your nightstand and will accidentally get too far in to give up when after all, you set a goal for yourself to finish 50 books this year.

Any human who talks to other humans does not regularly use words like Thermidori
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Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski was a Polish-American political scientist, geostrategist, and statesman who served as United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981. Known for his hawkish foreign policy at a time when the Democratic Party was increasingly dovish, he is a foreign policy realist and considered by some to be the Democrats' response to Republican rea ...more

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