An Open World

How America Can Win the Contest for Twenty-First-Century Order

Two foreign policy experts chart a new U.S. grand strategy to meet the greatest geopolitical challenges of the coming decade.

Foreign policy analyses written by CFR fellows and published by the trade presses, academic presses, or the Council on Foreign Relations Press.

More on:

U.S. Foreign Policy

World Order

Diplomacy and International Institutions

This ambitious and incisive book presents a new vision for American foreign policy and international order at a time of historic upheaval. The U.S. global leadership crisis is not a passing shock created by the Trump presidency or COVID-19, but the product of forces that will endure for decades. Amid political polarization, technological transformation, and major global power shifts, Lissner and Rapp-Hooper convincingly argue, only a grand strategy of openness can protect American security and prosperity despite diminished national strength. Disciplined and forward-looking, an openness strategy would counter authoritarian competitors by preventing the emergence of closed spheres of influence, maintaining access to the global commons, supporting democracies without promoting regime change, and preserving economic interdependence. The authors provide a road map for the next president, who must rebuild strength at home while preparing for novel forms of international competition. Lucid, trenchant, and practical, An Open World is an essential guide to the future of geopolitics.

More on:

U.S. Foreign Policy

World Order

Diplomacy and International Institutions

Reviews and Endorsements

Rebecca Lissner and Mira Rapp-Hooper’s An Open World is a timely exploration of the key challenges to world order in the twenty-first century. Amid unprecedented geopolitical and technological disruption, this work is a crucial contribution to the most important conversation of our time.

Henry A. Kissinger

Mandatory reading. At a moment of unprecedented change and upheaval, Rapp-Hooper and Lissner provide fresh thinking and a clear guide for U.S. leadership in a renewed and open twenty-first-century international order.

Jim Mattis, Former Secretary of Defense

Rebecca Lissner and Mira Rapp-Hooper offer a compelling new strategy of openness as the only way to recover and protect U.S. prosperity and security going forward. Their ambitious vision is smart, hopeful, and urgent—essential reading for anyone interested in how the United States will fare in this new world.

Michèle Flournoy, Former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy

Lissner and Rapp-Hooper are among the best of a new generation of grand strategic thinkers. In An Open World, they offer a bold vision of a post-Trump international order that reasserts American leadership and reestablishes partnerships and multilateral institutions that advance its interests and values.

G. John Ikenberry, Princeton University

This insightful, compelling, and fundamentally optimistic book is indispensable reading for our next generation of leaders, and for anyone interested in foreign policy. Lissner and Rapp-Hooper do an extraordinary job of situating their rich analysis of the causes and consequences of the existing international order in historical, political, and economic context, and assess the world as it is with clarity and thoughtfulness to develop a novel strategic framework for U.S. leadership.

Avril Haines, Former Principal Deputy National Security Advisor and Former Deputy Director of the CIA

This is a bold and sophisticated book that looks past Donald Trump and asks how the United States should posture itself when the American role in shaping the world is diminished yet still pivotal. An Open World, and it authors, will be an important part of the conversation on that subject—whenever the United States is finally ready to have it.

Benjamin Wittes, Editor in Chief of Lawfare

An intellectually rich argument in favor of increased American involvement in world affairs.

Kirkus Reviews

Top Stories on CFR


Iranian support has boosted the military prowess of Yemen’s Houthis, helping them project force into the Red Sea. In return, the group has extended the reach of Iran’s anti-West axis of resistance.

International Law

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC),[1] Karim A. A. Khan,[2] faces several challenging policy issues in the months ahead regarding the Israel-Hamas situation.[3] In this co…


Nigeria needs a change of direction, not a change of government.