Zbigniew Brzezinski, Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower (New York: Basic Books, 2007), 240 pp., $26.95.
Madeleine Albright, Memo to the President Elect: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership (New York: HarperCollins, 2008), 336 pp., $26.95.
THE GRAND figures of the Democratic foreign-policy establishment, Madeleine Albright and Zbigniew Brzezinski, have each endorsed one of the two rivals for their party's presidential nomination, Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL). Albright, who served as United States ambassador to the United Nations and as secretary of state during Bill Clinton's administration, now supports his wife's bid for the Oval Office. Brzezinski, national-security advisor to President Jimmy Carter, now advises Obama's presidential campaign. If elected, either candidate can be counted on to staff his or her foreign-policy team with officials who learned their trade under Albright and Brzezinski and who will generally share their views.
As America approaches an election that will hinge in large part on foreign-policy considerations, two recent books by these former-high-level foreign-policy officials provide insight into views that may shortly be guiding U.S. foreign policy. Brzezinski presents his book, Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower, as a historical reflection. Secretary Albright titles her book more explicitly: Memo to the President Elect. Either way, there is no mistaking either work for anything less than a foreign-affairs manifesto for an incoming Democratic administration.