This is a book that describes an unprecedented moment in which the United States has a chance to bring about a world where most people are safe, free, and can enjoy a decent standard of living.
The principal reason the twenty-first century shows such promise is that the potential for armed conflict involving today's major powers is remote. This remarkable development reflects not just U.S. military and economic might but also the assessment that much of what the United States seeks to achieve in the world has the potential to be broadly acceptable to others.
But the combination of these circumstances will not stay unchanged. Like all great moments, it will pass. If we are not careful, the world could see its energies diverted by a new cold war—or, even worse, descend into anarchy defined by terrorism, disease, the spread of nuclear weapons, genocide, and extreme poverty.
More than anything else, it will be how well and how wisely the United States uses its immense power that will determine the future. The United States does not need the world's permission to act, but it does need the world's support to succeed.
What will it take to get the world's support? The answer to this question is what makes The Opportunity truly vital reading. Richard Haass provides a much-needed foreign policy compass, one with the potential to do for this post-Cold War, post-9/11, post-Iraq world what George Kennan's containment doctrine did for the previous era.