September 26, 2011

Friedman and Mandelbaum to discuss new book at SAIS

On Tuesday, Sept. 27, SAIS will host a discussion of That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back, a recently published book co-authored by New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, director of the SAIS American Foreign Policy Program.

A live webcast of the 5:30 p.m. event, for which attendance is by invitation only, will be accessible at

In That Used to Be Us (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Friedman and Mandelbaum analyze the four challenges the United States faces—globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation’s chronic deficits and the country’s pattern of excessive energy consumption—and spell out what needs to be done to sustain the American dream and preserve American power in the world.

The authors say that the end of the Cold War blinded the nation to the need to address these issues seriously, and that China’s educational successes, industrial might and technological prowess remind Americans of the ways in which “that used to be us.” They explain how the paralysis of the political system and the erosion of key American values have made it impossible to carry out the policies the country urgently needs.

Friedman and Mandelbaum say they believe that the recovery of American greatness is within reach. America’s history, when properly understood, they say, offers a five-part formula for prosperity that will enable the country to cope successfully with the challenges it faces.