from U.S. Foreign Policy Program

Power, Terror, Peace, and War

America's Grand Strategy in a World at Risk

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

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Grand Strategy

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Terrorism and Counterterrorism

In Power, Terror, Peace, and War, Mead—one of the most original writers on U.S. foreign policy—provides a fascinating and timely account of the Bush administration's foreign policy and its current grand strategy for the world. He analyzes America's historical approach to the world, which he describes as not perfect but reasonably moral and reasonably practical. President Bush, according to Mead, is often strategically right but tactically at fault while he attempts to lead a divided nation—and a divided coalition of allies—in a dangerous struggle against ruthless enemies.

Mead examines the collapse of Washington's relations with some of its oldest allies and explains why the Bush administration's words and actions have ignited the most acrimonious domestic political battles over foreign policy since the Vietnam War. Closing with a rigorous assessment of both Bush and his critics, Mead describes the urgent steps the United States must take, lest casualties in the war on terror mount and the war itself spin out of control. He proposes a new approach to the war to rebuild domestic and international support for a tough antiterror policy, outlines a new initiative for the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and recommends sweeping changes for reforming international institutions, including the United Nations Security Council.

Covering many of the challenges facing the United States—from despair and decay in the Arab world to the collapse of civilized life in broad reaches of Africa and looming disasters in Central Asia—Power, Terror, Peace, and War is a clear, concise guide to some of the most pressing issues before us today.

A Council on Foreign Relations Book

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Reviews and Endorsements

An intellectually subtle, historically significant, and politically savvy discourse on America's role in the world. The product of a truly creative mind, Mead's elegant and most timely essay should be read by everyone concerned about this country's destiny.

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Walter Russell Mead's Power, Terror, Peace, and War takes a more comprehensive approach to American foreign policy, one that considers not merely the terrorist challenge but the economic angle as well.

The Weekly Standard

Mead's book demonstrates the value and difficulty of analyzing the 'architecture of America's world policy' from such heights of abstraction before hindsight has clarified what is historically determined and what is contingent.

Publishers Weekly

Power, Terror, Peace, and War is a clear, concise guide to some of the most pressing issues before us, today and for the foreseeable future. With this latest book on strategy, Walter Mead cements his position as the leading philosopher of U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. He takes the debate several cuts below the noise and discourses with readers on new realities and the new direction effective policy must take.

Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations

A remarkable accomplishment...[Mead] is a brilliant scholar, and he has produced a book of enduring value.

David Rieff, Los Angeles Times

Mead is a clear and original thinker and an engaging writer, and these pages are filled with striking insights and pithy formulations.

New York Times Book Review

Few people writing on U.S. foreign policy are as brilliant and original...A brave, landmark study that cannot be ignored. -

Douglas Brinkley, author of Rise to Globalism

A stunning achievement. At a time of crisis, this book forces the reader to rethink the central ideas that have guided American foreign policy in the past and are likely to shape its future.

James Chance, author of Acheson

This important bookhigh-spirited, eloquent, and imaginativecould well change the way we think about America's relations with the world.

Ronald Steel, Author of Temptations of a Superpower