Power on the Precipice

The Six Choices America Faces in a Turbulent World

Andrew Imbrie

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An essential guide to renewing American leadership in a turbulent, polarized, and postdominant world
Is America fated to decline as a great power? Can it recover? With absorbing insight and fresh perspective, foreign policy expert Andrew Imbrie provides a road map for bolstering American leadership in an era of turbulence abroad and deepening polarization at home. This is a book about choices: the tough policy trade-offs that political leaders need to make to reinvigorate American money, might, and clout. In the conventional telling, the United States is either destined for continued dominance or doomed to irreversible decline. Imbrie argues instead that the United States must adapt to changing global dynamics and compete more wisely. Drawing on the author’s own experience as an adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as on interviews and comparative studies of the rise and fall of nations, this book offers a sharp look at American statecraft and the United States’ place in the world today.

Andrew Imbrie is a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology. He served as a speechwriter and advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry and as a professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“A worthy contribution to the public debate on America’s role in the world and a tonic for our times.”—John Kerry, Former U.S. Secretary of State

“A creative approach to addressing how America’s choices can either arrest or accelerate decline.”—Bruce Cronin, City College of New York

“Laced with vivid storytelling, insightful lessons of history, and his own experience on the front lines of U.S. diplomacy, Imbrie takes the reader on an uncomfortable but necessary journey through the difficult problems, places and policy choices facing our leaders. It's foreign policy 'tough love,' to be sure, but it's exactly what we need right now."—Rear Admiral John Kirby, USN (ret)

“An important book for our turbulent times. Imbrie shows how America has provided principled leadership in this world and points to ways we can be smart and visionary in the future. It is an elegantly written tribute to the promise of America and a call to action to reclaim that promise once again.”—Walter Isaacson, author of The Innovators and Leonardo da Vinci

“A refreshing counsel against despair, this book reminds us that American leadership—born of wise choices at home and abroad—can preserve a world that both advances American interests and protects the common good. It will be essential reading for the renewal of U.S. foreign policy going forward.”—Ashley J. Tellis, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

“As grounded in sophisticated theory and nuanced reading of history as it is informed by the unforgiving realities of power, policy, and practice, Imbrie’s wise, affirmative agenda for America in a post-dominant world is essential reading.” —Ambassador William J. Burns, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former Deputy Secretary of State

“Andrew’s young age belies his impressive past and equally incandescent future. From his life ‘growing up global’ as a Foreign Service brat to his years as a practitioner on the front lines of foreign policy on Capitol Hill and on the seventh floor of the State Department, Andrew’s insights come from lessons learned both studying the world, and working to shape it. Power on the Precipice is a worthy contribution to the public debate on America’s role in the world and a tonic for our times. It’s required reading for anyone seeking to learn what the past has to teach us or what the future holds.”—John Kerry, Former U.S. Secretary of State

“Imbrie deftly navigates some of the critical choices facing a post-primacy United States. Beautifully-written and persuasively argued, his diagnosis of America’s foreign and domestic policy challenges is shrewd. At a time of epochal change, policymakers would do well to heed his deeply-informed counsel.”—Mira Rapp-Hooper, Schwarzman Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

“Imbrie mounts a well-informed examination of the country’s ills and offers a discerning perspective on its future paths . . . A thoughtful consideration of myriad challenges facing the U.S.” —Kirkus Reviews
ISBN: 9780300243505
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
272 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
8 b/w illus.