- General Information:
o Published by Penguin in May 2014; last research data that author refers to also May 2014
o Conceived at a dinner between Kissinger and his old mate Charles Hill, when they concluded that the crisis in the concept of world order was the ultimate international problem of our day.
o Written by Kissinger with a wide range of support like expert historians and research assistants
o All text clippings in the review are printed in Italic.
o Written for a global audience (vs. only American)
o Objective: generating more public consensus for international order? Leaving a testimony about his own work? Shedding a favorable light onto American foreign policy? Convincing the Western reader of a more realist view of international order without bashing directly China?
o Influential work looking at int. order in historical perspective;
o Others who have written about international order at such a level of proficiency: Francis Fukuyama, Samuel Huntington, John Mearsheimer;
- Credit & Critique
o Critique that no effort is made to talk about other concepts of international order, which do not have the nation state as its smallest unit in the center of perspective, but e.g. a district [compare to Leopold Kohr’s “The Breakdown of Nations and the documentary “The Economics of Happiness” > the origins of all misery are to be found in excess of size]
o Critique of the author for shedding a all too positive light onto American foreign policy and portraying at times a neo-crusader-like picture of American values converting the barbarian world – Kissinger does not spend even one thought to the lost respect in regard to American values in Europe or China. A nation that shows a wrecked health system, poor and antiquated infrastructure as its main achievements lost credibility. A successful interior policy comes first. A successful foreign policy second.
o Critique of the author for not having understood to what extent the Chinese government already wields control of the internet; the cyberspace will is a model for the Chinese government on how to deal with the international community in the real world: authoritarian, non-inclusive decision making will be the norm
o Critique of the author (but also understanding) of not openly discussing the threats of China’s rise and not making clear analogies in Western appeasement politics with the current situation [compare Micheal Ledeen article]
o Credits to the author for categorizing international order and writing about international order in a historical context which reveals some insights that have not been obvious to the general audience
o Credits to the author for explaining the original doctrine and fundamentalist currents of Islam: Islam was at once a religion, a multiethnic superstate, and a new world order. The areas Islam had conquered or where it held sway over tribute-paying non-Muslims were conceived as a single political unit: dar al-Islam, the “House of Islam,” or the realm of peace. It would be governed by the caliphate, an institution defined by rightful succession to the earthly political authority that the Prophet had exercised. The lands beyond were dar al-harb, the realm of war; Islam’s mission was to incorporate these regions into its own world order and thereby bring universal peace:
o Credits to the author for explaining that Central Europe stayed divided for hundreds of years because of French foreign policy
o Credits to the author for explaining Russia and thus making some conclusions possible in regard to China – since I did not understand Russia very much, I always felt that there was a missing link in understanding China. I had a few “AHA” experiences when reading about Russian history, because China just carbon copied much of Russian policies, which Russia in turns adapted from European countries.
o Credits to the author for dissecting the risks and chances of new technologies, in particular the requirement to adapt our educational institutions to enable people to deal with daily floods of information without being drowned into an abyss – empty of knowledge and wisdom.