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The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power
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Readers of The New York Times know David Sanger as one of the most trusted correspondents in Washington, one to whom presidents, secretaries of state, and foreign leaders talk with unusual candor. Now, with a historian¡¯s sweep and an insider¡¯s eye for telling detail, Sanger delivers an urgent intelligence briefing on the world America faces.

In a riveting narrative, The Inheritance describes the huge costs of distraction and lost opportunities at home and abroad as Iraq soaked up manpower, money, and intelligence capabilities. The 2008 market collapse further undermined American leadership, leaving the new president with a set of challenges unparalleled since Franklin D. Roosevelt entered the Oval Office.

Sanger takes readers into the White House Situation Room to reveal how Washington penetrated Tehran¡¯s nuclear secrets, leading President Bush, in his last year, to secretly step up covert actions in a desperate effort to delay an Iranian bomb. Meanwhile, his intelligence chiefs made repeated secret missions to Pakistan as they tried to stem a growing insurgency and cope with an ally who was also aiding the enemy¨Cwhile receiving billions in American military aid. Now the new president faces critical choices: Is it better to learn to live with a nuclear Iran or risk overt or covert confrontation? Is it worth sending U.S. forces deep into Pakistani territory at the risk of undermining an unstable Pakistani government sitting on a nuclear arsenal? It is a race against time and against a new effort by Islamic extremists¨Cnever before disclosed¨Cto quietly infiltrate Pakistan¡¯s nuclear weapons program.

¡°Bush wrote a lot of checks,¡± one senior intelligence official told Sanger, ¡°that the next president is going to have to cash.¡±

The Inheritance takes readers to Afghanistan, where Bush never delivered on his promises for a Marshall Plan to rebuild the country, paving the way for the Taliban¡¯s return. It examines the chilling calculus of North Korea¡¯s Kim Jong-Il, who built actual weapons of mass destruction in the same months that the Bush administration pursued phantoms in Iraq, then sold his nuclear technology in the Middle East in an operation the American intelligence apparatus missed. And it explores how China became one of the real winners of the Iraq war, using the past eight years to expand its influence in Asia, and lock up oil supplies in Africa while Washington was bogged down in the Middle East. Yet Sanger, a former foreign correspondent in Asia, sees enormous potential for the next administration to forge a partnership with Beijing on energy and the environment.

At once a secret history of our foreign policy misadventures and a lucid explanation of the opportunities they create, The Inheritance is vital reading for anyone trying to understand the extraordinary challenges that lie ahead.

Customer Reviews:

  • The Inheritance
    Totally excellent book! Easy reading and extremely timely with the current world events. After reading this book, I have a much deeper understanding of the what and why of failed states, history and dynamics of relations in N. Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China. I would recommend this book to anyone who desires a deeper understanding of world politics and US responces....more info
  • the inheritance
    it provides an accurate and complete assessment of the U.S. position in Afganistan ( and Iraq) including the screwups of the Bush Adm. and the challenges of the Obama Adm. by an expert who spent the past 8 years working with the White House for the NY Times. ...more info
  • The Inheritance
    Wow! And I thought the problems left by the Bush administration was just the economical crisis. A must read....more info
  • if this book does not scare you you did not read it
    The chapter on Pakistan and Afganistan is outstanding. Little did I know or understand. A failed state with a nuclear bomb is very very scary. I now understand the problems that Obama has to deal with....more info
  • Interesting read, but too biased
    I am glad I bought this book and I thought it was very good in what it presented (and a lot scary). It is a good primer on what we face internationally. My objection to the book is it seems no matter what Bush did according to Sanger, he did it wrong. If he acted early, he didn't follow through. If he acted later correctly (in Sanger's view), his delays were the problem. He doesn't seem to lash out at Clinton in the same way, nor does he give much credit to the positives Bush did. I am not a Bush fan and I agree with Sanger's general viewpoint that we wasted time, energy and lives going after the wrong problem (Iraq), but I wish Sanger would have left out his agenda when he wrote this book. When he sticks to the facts of what is going on, the book is very well written and highly educational. I do recommend you buy the book...just watch out for when he starts his biased commentary....more info
  • Behind the sreen
    An excellant portrayal and analysis of what really went on, regarding missed opportunities, and fenatical ideology during the Bush administration. It was a lot more incompetant and deceptive than we could ever have imagined....more info
  • Toxic Legacy
    The title of this riveting and well-crafted work is an understatement. David Sanger, an experienced White House and national security reporter for The New York Times, offers a page-turning world tour of the toxic global legacy bequeathed by the Bush Administration through folly, mismanagement, indecision and neglect. This is a hugely important work not only for the new Administration of Barack Obama and anyone interested in international affairs, but for concerned citizens throughout the world who, like their governments, need to heed the numerous wakeup calls throughout its pages. The critical issues explored by Sanger are many and urgent. While they all defy easy or quick solutions, Sanger makes the case without being shrill that the challenges of nuclear proliferation in Pakistan, Iran, Syria and North Korea, terrorism and instability in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the economic rise of China - in addition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Middle East conflicts - all require a return to reasoned engagement and diplomacy. In doing so, he drives the last spike into the heart of the Bush-Cheney doctrine of unilateral intervention and preemption. While the alternating knee-jerk, cowboy-like responses or ignorant neglect of foreign policy issues masquerading as strategy by the Bush ideologues may now be laid to rest at least for the next four years, burying its legacy will not be as simple. The consequences and memories of the mistakes and lost opportunities on the world stage of the Bush years, as Sanger richly illuminates, will not only live on for years but will be harshly judged by history as his true legacy long after the prisons at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib have closed. ...more info