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The Age of the Unthinkable

Keeping the US truly safe, argues a journalist, requires us to radically rethink our sense of safety.

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The war on terror creates more terrorists. The push for Middle East peace sparks more conflict. Radical remedies for the financial crisis seem only to hasten recession.
These are the tragic paradoxes that mark our modern world, writes Joshua Cooper Ramo in The Age of the Unthinkable. The chief problem is that foreign-policy elites don’t see the world as it really is.

We wouldn’t run a nuclear reactor relying only on Newtonian physics. So why do we run foreign affairs with a Napoleonic view of the world?

This is a book that sparkles with insight and imagination. You’ll learn more about foreign policy from this text than you would in most university courses.

As a former journalist, Ramo seamlessly fuses the bird’s-eye and worm’s-eye views to render a compelling picture of global security threats.

Many authors could dispassionately distill the management lessons of the terrorist group Hezbollah. Few could do it while recounting the time they debated Ted Turner’s religious orientation with Hezbollah fighters from the back seat of a navy blue BMW careening around tiny roads just a gunshot away from the Israeli border.

Even fewer could supplement those lessons with insights from the forests of Borneo, the habits of Asian mothers, and even Gertrude Stein’s aesthetic. This is connect-the-dots writing at its best.

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