By Henry Kissinger
Published in September 2014
Thibault’s Score: 3/5
World Order is Henry Kissinger’s attempt at defining his views of what a foreign policy goal should look like. Despite the title “World Order” and his use of the phrase “a new world order” I suspect that Kissinger is baiting conspiracy theorist critics who won’t bother to read his book. Far from suggesting world government, Kissinger actually criticizes the idea of hegemony as inherently prone to conflict.
Kissinger defends the Westphalian system of organizing states, where multiple powers peacefully co-exist and help preserve the existing balance of power. He systematically goes continent by continent, and explains the geopolitical problems of each continent.
His analysis on nuclear warfare is very poignant. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) had always sounded a bit… mad… to me. Now I feel like I understand the stakes and incentives that governments have when it comes to nuclear war. For example, intuitively it makes no sense that anti-ballistic missiles put people in danger.
Kissinger, as usual, illuminates everyone year after year with his great contributions
American neocons and other ideologically driven foreign policy agitators should read this book. It would help them realize that a policy of pragmatic peace often outperforms policies of ideological conflict.
The only major disagreement that I have with Kissinger is that he takes a very late 20th century approach to technology and computers. Kissinger worries that, because of the instant availability of information on the internet, people will stop reading books and instead focus on the minutia of data. In fact, quite the opposite has happened, and I think that this blog proves the contrary. All of my friends who love foreign policy self educated online and I only ever heard about Kissinger’s work through the internet (I certainly wouldn’t learn anything useful in school.)
Kissinger is old and I worry he will die before I have the privilege of meeting him. His work will be remembered by both his supporters and critics long
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