An often-used—really overused—cliché in books, movies, and TV shows is a plot that asks the question, “What do you get the person who has everything?” This question causes immense stress for the gift-giver. And it has the potential to derail birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions. Well, the staff at the Foreign Policy Research Institute faced this dilemma for you, Alan.
What do you get Alan Luxenberg, a man who has everything?
After 44 years of working at FPRI, we knew that your retirement gift had to be special. A Rolex wouldn’t work for someone who loyally wears his Fitbit. A tie and socks? We could do better. An all-expenses-paid cruise around the world? Remember, we are a non-profit.
For a man whose involvement spanned decades and countless scholars, we wanted something that you could always refer back to—something that wouldn’t get old, boring, lost, or easily broken. It had to be something that did not just include the FPRI of 2019, but also the FPRI of the previous 40-odd years.
As you can obviously tell by now, we decided to give you a book. But it’s no ordinary book. It’s not just a first edition—it’s the only edition. This book is one of a kind. No other copy exists on Earth. It was specifically created for you, with contributions from scholars whom you have touched in some way during your tenure at FPRI.
This book features pieces about you and your impact on the organization, geopolitics, and other topics that fit within the lens—or is it lenses—of history, geography, and culture. Beyond original pieces from the likes of Robert Kaplan, Shirin Tahir-Kheli, Walter McDougall, John Maurer, James Kurth, Jeremy Black, Joshua Krasna, Adam Garfinkle, Dov Zakheim, Felix Chang, and Bob Torgerson, this volume ends with some FPRI “classics.”
It can’t be an FPRI book without Robert Strausz-Hupé’s “The Balance of Tomorrow,” Harvey Sicherman’s “The Revenge of Geopolitics,” and Ronald Granieri’s “What is Geopolitics and Why Does It Matter?” Since I know that you regularly go back and periodically read these essays, I figured it’d be prudent to include them in one place for you.
We hope that whenever you open this book you are flooded with all the great memories that you have accumulated during your time—serving in essentially every role—at FPRI.
– Thomas J. Shattuck, November 2019
P.S. Any typos you may find are, in fact, intentional—I don’t want you to lose your edge in retirement.