On April 20, the Managing Global Insecurity Project at Brookings hosted Council on Foreign Relations President Emeritus Leslie H. Gelb for a discussion of his new book Power Rules: How Common Sense Can Rescue American Foreign Policy (Harper Collins, 2009).
In his book, Gelb offers guidelines to the U.S. president on how to use American power effectively in today’s tumultuous world—advice drawn from his four decades of experience in government, think tanks and journalism. He also argues that American leaders have failed to recognize three key power realities. First, the world is not flat; it is highly pyramidal in power. Second, power is neither soft (persuasion and values) nor hard (military force), but is psychological based on the skilled use of carrots and sticks. Third, he asserts, the world has not entered the post-American era; rather, the United States remains the sole global leader, but without the power to dominate.
Brookings President Strobe Talbott provided introductory remarks. Carlos Pascual, vice president and director of Foreign Policy, moderated the discussion. After the program, Mr. Gelb took audience questions.