Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Book Review: The Inheritance, by David Sanger

Title The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power
David E. Sanger
Rating ****1/2
Tags geopolitics, iran, china, pakistan, north korea, afghanistan, united states, security, wmd

I don't read horror novels, but I doubt any of them could scare ma as much as this book. It is a summary of the national security threats that the Obama administration faces by a veteran journalist with deep access to policymakers.

The book has sections on Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea, and China, then sections on threat scenarios and what can be done about them. Some of his findings: Iran is working quickly to enrich uranium, and if they aren't working on a weapon design, that is the least difficult part of the process. Afghanistan has devolved during the years of most resources going to Iraq. Pakistan is the scariest threat of all, a country with nuclear weapons that is a failing state and may be in some danger of being overtaken by Al Quaida or the Taliban. North Korea is willing to sell the nuclear technology it bought from A. Q. Khan, and was setting up a nuclear facility for Syria until the Israelis bombed it. China is both trading partner and adversary at one and the same time, and is increasing its nuclear weapons capacity and its ability to engage in space warfare.

Sanger is willing to give Bush kudos for some things, but overall thinks the Iraq war had disastrous consequences, by diverting attention and resources from these higher-level threats, and by illustrating so well the difficulties in fighting an insurgency.

Overall, a masterful depiction of the complex realities of geopolitics.

Publication Harmony (2009), Hardcover, 528 pages
Publication date 2009
ISBN 0307407926 / 9780307407924

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