Security First

Security First book cover
Yale University Press, 2007

“Rarely have more profound changes in American foreign policy been called for than today,” begins Amitai Etzioni in the preface to this book. Yet Etzioni’s concern is not to lay blame for past mistakes but to address the future: What can now be done to improve U.S. relations with the rest of the world?


What should American policies be toward recently liberated countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, or rogue states like North Korea and Iran? When should the United States undertake humanitarian intervention abroad? What must be done to protect America from nuclear terrorism? The author asserts that providing basic security must be the first priority in all foreign policy considerations, even ahead of efforts to democratize. He sets out essential guidelines for a foreign policy that makes sense in the real world, builds on moral principles, and creates the possibility of establishing positive relationships with Muslim nations and all others.

Etzioni has considered the issues deeply and for many years. His conclusions fall into no neat categories—neither “liberal” nor “conservative”—for he is guided not by ideology but by empirical evidence and moral deliberation. His proposal rings with the sound of reason, and this important book belongs on the reading list of every concerned leader, policy maker, and voter in America.
 
 
"Etzioni's argument is a breath of fresh air in the current debate. Compared to most of his colleagues on the left, he is both more hard-headed about security and more understanding of the critical role of religion and moral culture in maintaining social order without violence. This book is a must read."
—Henry Nau, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

 

"Etzioni offers a far ranging alternative perspective for the formulation and conduct of U.S. foreign policy. Security First offers to be an outstanding and important work."
—James J. Wirtz, Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School

 

"After foreign policy disasters from Rwanda to 9-11 to the Iraq War, alternatives to realist, liberal, and neoconservative shibboleths are desperately needed. Learned but accessible, sweeping yet detailed, Security First offers a distinctive approach that can help America forge a new path."

—Clifford Bob, author of The Marketing of Rebellion: Insurgents, Media, and International Activism, Winner of the 2007 International Studies Best Book Award