1st Edition

Higher Realism
A New Foreign Policy for the United States

ISBN 9781594513985
Published November 30, 2008 by Routledge
224 Pages

USD $120.00

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Book Description

For dealing with an increasingly chaotic and violence-prone world, Higher Realism offers a grand strategy that rejects the imperial thrust of recent U.S. foreign policy as well as the conventional "realist" approach of focusing only on U.S. interests. The emerging world order is one in which many powers of various sorts-states and nonstate actors, large and small, allies and adversaries-have an essential role. Seyom Brown calls this the emergent international "polyarchy," and argues that neither the assertive interventionism of the neoconservatives nor the cool, nonideological geopolitics of the conventional realists is the appropriate response. Instead, responsive to how U.S. interests have become inextricably bound up with world interests, Brown proposes a foreign policy of higher realism centered on cooperation to ensure the security and well-being of all. Brown defines and analyzes those common interests in the environment, peace and security, health and economic vitality, human rights and democracy, and transnational accountability. He faults the arrogant assumption that what is good for the United States is ipso facto good for the world, insisting rather that U.S. policies for global development must respect religious and cultural diversity. Brown's approach transcends the traditional dichotomies of realism versus idealism and self-interest versus altruistic morality. The recommended programs and policies are designed to help a new U.S. presidential administration reformulate a foreign policy that will ensure national security and promote international well-being: higher realism in philosophy and practice.


“One of America’s most seasoned and thoughtful analysts describes a higher realism to guide America’s foreign policy. Good reading for the next president—and all of us!”
—Joseph S. Nye, University Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard University, and author of The Powers to Lead

“Brown steers an innovative, cutting-edge course between the old realists’ aspirations for U.S. omnipotence and the neoisolationist desire for withdrawal from a troublesome world. He creates the architecture for the emergence of a global commons in which all nations of goodwill share proportionately in the achievement of collective security and prosperity. Policymakers of the next administration would be well-advised to adhere to Brown’s creative architecture.”
—Gary Hart, U.S. Senator (Ret.)

“In this wise, timely, and eminently readable book, Seyom Brown helps us understand with blazing clarity the two greatest challenges of the century just begun—climate change and the proliferation of nuclear weaponry. He also helps us and our political leaders see an ambitious yet pragmatic way to concert the energies of the United States and the world in ensuring the survival of our civilization.”
—Strobe Talbott, President of the Brookings Institution and author of The Great Experiment

“Foreign policy experts and ordinary readers will benefit from deeply analytical studies like these.”