Locate nations on the J Curve -- left for authoritarian, right for democratic. Then figure out how to force those on the left to open their societies, rather than encouraging them to shut them tighter by further isolating them. The West's isolation of Kim Jong-il's North Korea gives him the cover he needs to extend his brutal regime (the mistake the U.S. made for a long time with Saddam Hussein and Castro); in Saudi Arabia, western governments should encourage manageable change before the country breaks apart; they should help strengthen China's economy so it can further liberalize; they must encourage Israel to decide what kind of country it will be.
Filled with imaginative and surprising examples of how to correct outworn political ideas, The J Curve points the way for western governments to lead the way to a realistic political balance and a healthier economic future.
Ian Bremmer is president of Eurasia Group, the world's largest political risk consultancy. He has written for the Financial Times, the Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times, and has authored or edited five books. He is a columnist for Slate, a contributing editor at The National Interest, and a political commentator on CNN, Fox News, and CNBC. He lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University.
"A rare book that manages to be intellectually ambitious, policy-relevant, and layman-friendly. Bremmer convincingly argues that smart American diplomacy, harnessing the forces of globalization, can induce closed societies to open up without falling apart. Timely, thoughtful, and written with verve and clarity, this is an impressive work of analysis and prescription."
-- Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution, former deputy secretary of state
"In one simple graphic, arguably the world's most pressing geopolitical challenge."
-- The Economist
"In The J Curve, Ian Bremmer (Tom Friedman with a Gladwellian streak) argues that nations follow a predictable path to democracy, one we should consider before invading them."
-- New York magazine
"The J Curve provides both policymakers and business strategists with an innovative set of conceptual tools for understanding political risk in rapidly changing societies, tools that integrate political, economic, and security perspectives in new and creative ways."
-- Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History and the Last Man
"This book is a must-read, and not only for its insight into foreign policy. Individual institutions can be assessed on the J curve as well and their evolution similarly evaluated. A stunning analysis, notable for its depth, scope, and clarity."
-- Vinton G. Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist, Google
"Thought-provoking...a welcome return to strategies that offer a more sustainable path for the future."
-- James Steinberg, Austin-American Statesman