The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation
Simon and Schuster, 2008 M01 1 - 496 pages
This dramatic narrative of breathtaking scope and riveting focus puts the "story" back into history. It is the saga of how the most ambitious of big ideas -- that a world made up of many nations can govern itself peacefully -- has played out over the millennia. Humankind's "Great Experiment" goes back to the most ancient of days -- literally to the Garden of Eden -- and into the present, with an eye to the future.
Strobe Talbott looks back to the consolidation of tribes into nations -- starting with Israel -- and the absorption of those nations into the empires of Hammurabi, the Pharaohs, Alexander, the Caesars, Charlemagne, Genghis Khan, the Ottomans, and the Hapsburgs, through incessant wars of territory and religion, to modern alliances and the global conflagrations of the twentieth century.
He traces the breakthroughs and breakdowns of peace along the way: the Pax Romana, the Treaty of Westphalia, the Concert of Europe, the false start of the League of Nations, the creation of the flawed but indispensable United Nations, the effort to build a "new world order" after the cold war, and America's unique role in modern history as "the master builder" of the international system.
Offering an insider's view of how the world is governed today, Talbott interweaves through this epic tale personal insights and experiences and takes us with him behind the scenes and into the presence of world leaders as they square off or cut deals with each other. As an acclaimed journalist, he covered the standoff between the superpowers for more than two decades; as a high-level diplomat, he was in the thick of tumultuous events in the 1990s, when the bipolar equilibrium gave way to chaos in the Balkans, the emergence of a new breed of international terrorist, and America's assertiveness during its "unipolar moment" -- which he sees as the latest, but not the last, stage in the Great Experiment.
Talbott concludes with a trenchant critique of the worldview and policies of George W. Bush, whose presidency he calls a "consequential aberration" in the history of American foreign policy. Then, looking beyond the morass in Iraq and the battle for the White House, he argues that the United States can regain the trust of the world by leading the effort to avert the perils of climate change and nuclear catastrophe.
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AN END AND A BEGINNING
THE UNIPOLAR DECADES
SEIZING THE DAY
A THEORY OF THE CASE
GOING IT ALONE
A CONSEQUENTIAL ABERRATION
THE MASTER BUILDER
A TRUSTEESHIP OF THE POWERFUL
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Page 182 - To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and To establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained...
Page 34 - Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; and when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee ; thou shalt smite them, (and) utterly destroy them, thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them...
Page 219 - Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.
Page 180 - For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see, Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be ; Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails, Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales ; Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain'da ghastly dew From the nations...
Page 112 - The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.
Page 180 - From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue; Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm, With the standards of the peoples plunging thro' the thunderstorm; Till the war-drum throbb'd no longer, and the battle-flags were furl'd In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world. There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe, And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.
Page 31 - Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee : and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great ; and thou shalt be a blessing : and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee : and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.