World Order

World Order

4.8 7
by Henry Kissinger
     
 

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“Dazzling and instructive . . . [a] magisterial new book.” —Walter Isaacson, Time
 
Henry Kissinger offers in World Order a deep meditation on the roots of international harmony and global disorder. Drawing on his experience as one of the foremost statesmen of the modern era—advising presidents, traveling the

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Overview

“Dazzling and instructive . . . [a] magisterial new book.” —Walter Isaacson, Time
 
Henry Kissinger offers in World Order a deep meditation on the roots of international harmony and global disorder. Drawing on his experience as one of the foremost statesmen of the modern era—advising presidents, traveling the world, observing and shaping the central foreign policy events of recent decades—Kissinger now reveals his analysis of the ultimate challenge for the twenty-first century: how to build a shared international order in a world of divergent historical perspectives, violent conflict, proliferating technology, and ideological extremism.

There has never been a true “world order,” Kissinger observes. For most of history, civilizations defined their own concepts of order. Each considered itself the center of the world and envisioned its distinct principles as universally relevant. China conceived of a global cultural hierarchy with the emperor at its pinnacle. In Europe, Rome imagined itself surrounded by barbarians; when Rome fragmented, European peoples refined a concept of an equilibrium of sovereign states and sought to export it across the world. Islam, in its early centuries, considered itself the world’s sole legitimate political unit, destined to expand indefinitely until the world was brought into harmony by religious principles. The United States was born of a conviction about the universal applicability of democracy—a conviction that has guided its policies ever since.

Now international affairs take place on a global basis, and these historical concepts of world order are meeting. Every region participates in questions of high policy in every other, often instantaneously. Yet there is no consensus among the major actors about the rules and limits guiding this process or its ultimate destination. The result is mounting tension.

Grounded in Kissinger’s deep study of history and his experience as national security advisor and secretary of state, World Order guides readers through crucial episodes in recent world history. Kissinger offers a unique glimpse into the inner deliberations of the Nixon administration’s negotiations with Hanoi over the end of the Vietnam War, as well as Ronald Reagan’s tense debates with Soviet Premier Gorbachev in Reykjavík. He offers compelling insights into the future of U.S.–China relations and the evolution of the European Union, and he examines lessons of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Taking readers from his analysis of nuclear negotiations with Iran through the West’s response to the Arab Spring and tensions with Russia over Ukraine, World Order anchors Kissinger’s historical analysis in the decisive events of our time.

Provocative and articulate, blending historical insight with geopolitical prognostication, World Order is a unique work that could come only from a lifelong policy maker and diplomat.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
However the reader may regard [Kissinger's] own historical baggage, the book puts the problems of today's world and America's role in that increasingly interconnected and increasingly riven world into useful—and often illuminating—context…At its best, his writing functions like a powerful zoom lens, opening out to give us a panoramic appreciation of larger historical trends and patterns, then zeroing in on small details and anecdotes that vividly illustrate his theories…Mr. Kissinger's sketches of historical figures like Talleyrand and Cardinal Richelieu remind us of his gifts as a portraitist while fleshing out his belief in the ability of great leaders to sway—or at least moderate—the course of history.
The New York Times Book Review - John Micklethwait
If…you worry about a globe spinning out of control, then World Order is for you. It brings together history, geography, modern politics and no small amount of passion. Yes, passion, for this is a cri de coeur from a famous skeptic, a warning to future generations from an old man steeped in the past. It comes with faults…But it is a book that every member of Congress should be locked in a room with—and forced to read before taking the oath of office.
Publishers Weekly
★ 08/25/2014
Former U.S. Secretary of State Kissinger elicits strong reactions; the man some call "war criminal" also won the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize. At 91, he is still crafting his own record and place in history. A fixture in international politics since the 1960s, Kissinger argues that, assisted by the U.S., the spread of independent sovereign states, democratic aspirations, and global networks in communications, finance, and health have brought the "enterprise of world ordering... to fruition." Kissinger's guiding principle is what he calls the "global Westphalian system," named for the 17th-century treaty that ended the 30 Years' War. In studying the U.S.'s role in this system, his main theme is the "contest between idealism and realism" in American foreign policy. Kissinger's section on the Middle East focuses on U.S. partner Saudi Arabia and adversary Iran, but sidesteps the elephants-in-the-room of Israel and world oil. While considering the threat posed by the acquisition of nuclear weapons by rogue states, he also discusses the possibility, tenuous as it may be, of rapprochement between the U.S. and Iran. Some readers will feel Kissinger whitewashes the Bush administration's legacy in Iraq and the Middle East. Others will ask if Kissinger's stark title is ironic, given sharply escalating international conflict. Nonetheless, Kissinger's thoughts, grounded in some 50 years of experience, deserve a wide, attentive audience that should include anyone interested in foreign affairs or the global future. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
2014-07-27
Former Secretary of State Kissinger (On China, 2011, etc.) considers the prospect for order in a world without agreed-upon rules. At a time when many nations differ on the meanings of democracy, human rights and international law, the 21st-century world is in a state of flux regarding the concepts of power and legitimacy—the foundation of world order. In fact, the world has never achieved world order, writes Kissinger. It came closest four centuries ago when warring European states, under the Peace of Westphalia, recognized state sovereignty and principles of international relations. Those rules and limits diminished greatly after World War II, when the United States dominated the Atlantic Alliance. They never reigned globally in a world of divergent cultures, histories and theories of order. In this erudite view of our disordered world, Kissinger views each region from a historical perspective to reveal the forces behind differing views of world order. In the Arab world, he finds that Islam is "a religion, a multicultural superstate, and a new world order," where, in the case of Iran, for example, negotiation is seen as part of "an eternal religious struggle." The "ominous" disintegration of Arab nations into tribal and sectarian units, writes the author, recalls the religious wars in pre-Westphalia Europe. Kissinger traces the rise of America's idealistic vision of world order—one based on the universality of American principles—and credits the U.S. with many contributions to global order while noting that America "has risked extremes of overextension and disillusioned withdrawal." The author also discusses the role of science and technology in shaping world affairs, urging that the instant information afforded by the Internet be viewed within the broader context of history. Regions must agree on their own concepts of order before they can relate to one another. An astute analysis that illuminates many of today's critical international issues.
From the Publisher
Hillary Clinton, The Washington Post:
“It is vintage Kissinger, with his singular combination of breadth and acuity along with his knack for connecting headlines to trend lines — very long trend lines in this case. He ranges from the Peace of Westphalia to the pace of microprocessing, from Sun Tzu to Talleyrand to Twitter... A real national dialogue is the only way we’re going to rebuild a political consensus to take on the perils and the promise of the 21st century. Henry Kissinger’s book makes a compelling case for why we have to do it and how we can succeed.”

Michiko Kakutani,The New York Times
"Henry Kissinger’s new book, World Order, could not be more timely...  the book puts the problems of today’s world and America’s role in that increasingly interconnected and increasingly riven world into useful — and often illuminating — context... Mr. Kissinger, now 91, strides briskly from century to century, continent to continent, examining the alliances and divisions that have defined Europe over the centuries, the fallout from the disintegration of nation-states like Syria and Iraq, and China’s developing relationship with the rest of Asia and the West. At its best, his writing functions like a powerful zoom lens, opening out to give us a panoramic appreciation of larger historical trends and patterns, then zeroing in on small details and anecdotes that vividly illustrate his theories."

The Financial Times
“Kissinger’s conclusion deserves to be read and understood by all candidates ahead of the 2016 presidential election. World order depends on it.”

John Micklethwait, The New York Times Book Review
“If you think America is doing just fine, then skip ahead to the poetry reviews.  If, however, you worry about a globe spinning out of control, then World Order is for you.  It brings together history, geography, modern politics and no small amount of passion.  Yes, passion, for this is a cri de Coeur, from a famous skeptic, a warning to future generations from an old man steeped in the past... it is a book that every member of Congress should be locked in a room with—and forced to read before taking the oath of office."

James Traub,The Wall Street Journal
"
Recent years have not been kind to those who believe in America's missionary role abroad. Since the terrorist attacks of 2001 upended our sense of the world, the United States has been governed by a conservative idealist who tried to impose American values on the Middle East, and failed calamitously, and a liberal idealist who invited America's adversaries to re-engage with us on the basis of a new humility and mutual respect, and found his hopes dashed. It is, in short, a moment for Henry Kissinger... The fact that he has written yet another book, the succinctly titled World Order, is impressive in itself. What is more remarkable is that it effectively carries on his campaign to undermine the romantic pieties of left and right that have shaped so much of American foreign policy over the past century. Mr. Kissinger bids fair to outlast many of the people who hate him and make others forget why they hated him in the first place."

Walter Isaacson, Time
“Kissinger’s book takes us on a dazzling and instructive global tour of the quest for order….The key to Kissinger’s foreign policy realism, and the theme at the heart of his magisterial new book, is that such humility is important not just for people but also for nations, even the U.S. Making progress toward a world order based on “individual dignity and participatory governance” is a lofty ideal, he notes. “But progress toward it will need to be sustained through a series of intermediate stages.”

The Los Angeles Times
"Kissinger's geopolitical analysis of our global challenges is compelling... Mark Twain, who was known more for his sense of humor than his diplomatic skills, once said, "History does not repeat itself. But it rhymes." Kissinger's advice is not nearly as glib, but much more valuable to a country that right now seems to want the rest of the world to just go away."

Jacob Heilbrunn, The National Interest:
"Kissinger… demonstrates why he remains such a courted adviser to American presidents and foreign leaders alike…. [World Order is] a guide for the perplexed, a manifesto for reordering America’s approach to the rest of the globe. Kissinger’s vision could help to shape a more tranquil era than the one that has emerged so far.”

Kirkus Reviews:
"An astute analysis that illuminates many of today's critical international issues."

Library Journal
09/01/2014
As a Machiavellian adviser to Republican presidents, Kissinger meditates on his realpolitik approach to international affairs at the beginning of the 21st century. "Leftists" condemned his elitism and concern with the major powers, while "rightists" condemned his willingness to negotiate with Soviet leaders. The former secretary of state begins by providing a historical account of how the Old World (Europe, Africa, and Asia) implemented a balance of power approach to maintain order. Later, he reflects on contemporary politics of the United States, China, Russia, and Iran. He theorizes that the modern American experience stems from Theodore Roosevelt's realism and Woodrow Wilson's idealism in foreign affairs. Though Kissinger's heart may be with Roosevelt, he demonstrates how Wilson's rhetoric affected the New World experience, particularly the Americas, influencing not only Franklin Roosevelt but also Richard Nixon, who kept a portrait of Wilson in the White House's Cabinet Room. VERDICT Critics are unlikely to find much interest in this volume as it largely summarizes Kissinger's thinking, but students and historians of political science may appreciate his suggestion that both realism and idealism are necessary in modern times. [See Prepub Alert, 3/17/14.]—William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594206146
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/09/2014
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
42,094
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION
The Question of World Order

IN 1961, as a young academic, I called on President Harry S. Truman when I found myself in Kansas City delivering a speech. To the question of what in his presidency had made him most proud, Truman replied, “That we totally defeated our enemies and then brought them back to the community of nations. I would like to think that only America would have done this.” Conscious of America’s vast power, Truman took pride above all in its humane and democratic values. He wanted to be remembered not so much for America’s victories as for its conciliations.

All of Truman’s successors have followed some version of this narrative and have taken pride in similar attributes of the American experience. And for most of this period, the community of nations that they aimed to uphold reflected an American consensus—an inexorably expanding cooperative order of states observing common rules and norms, embracing liberal economic systems, forswearing territorial conquest, respecting national sovereignty, and adopting participatory and democratic systems of governance. American presidents of both parties have continued to urge other governments, often with great vehemence and eloquence, to embrace the preservation and enhancement of human rights. In many instances, the defense of these values by the United States and its allies has ushered in important changes in the human condition.

Yet today this “rules-based” system faces challenges. The frequent exhortations for countries to “do their fair share,” play by “twenty-first-century rules,” or be “responsible stakeholders” in a common system reflect the fact that there is no shared definition of the system or understanding of what a “fair” contribution would be. Outside the Western world, regions that have played a minimal role in these rules’ original formulation question their validity in their present form and have made clear that they would work to modify them. Thus while “the international community” is invoked perhaps more insistently now than in any other era, it presents no clear or agreed set of goals, methods, or limits.

Our age is insistently, at times almost desperately, in pursuit of a concept of world order. Chaos threatens side by side with unprecedented interdependence: in the spread of weapons of mass destruction, the disintegration of states, the impact of environmental depredations, the persistence of genocidal practices, and the spread of new technologies threatening to drive conflict beyond human control or comprehension. New methods of accessing and communicating information unite regions as never before and project events globally—but in a manner that inhibits reflection, demanding of leaders that they register instantaneous reactions in a form expressible in slogans. Are we facing a period in which forces beyond the restraints of any order determine the future?

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Hillary Clinton, The Washington Post:
“It is vintage Kissinger, with his singular combination of breadth and acuity along with his knack for connecting headlines to trend lines — very long trend lines in this case. He ranges from the Peace of Westphalia to the pace of microprocessing, from Sun Tzu to Talleyrand to Twitter... A real national dialogue is the only way we’re going to rebuild a political consensus to take on the perils and the promise of the 21st century. Henry Kissinger’s book makes a compelling case for why we have to do it and how we can succeed.”

Michiko Kakutani,The New York Times
"Henry Kissinger’s new book, World Order, could not be more timely...  the book puts the problems of today’s world and America’s role in that increasingly interconnected and increasingly riven world into useful — and often illuminating — context... Mr. Kissinger, now 91, strides briskly from century to century, continent to continent, examining the alliances and divisions that have defined Europe over the centuries, the fallout from the disintegration of nation-states like Syria and Iraq, and China’s developing relationship with the rest of Asia and the West. At its best, his writing functions like a powerful zoom lens, opening out to give us a panoramic appreciation of larger historical trends and patterns, then zeroing in on small details and anecdotes that vividly illustrate his theories."

The Financial Times
“Kissinger’s conclusion deserves to be read and understood by all candidates ahead of the 2016 presidential election. World order depends on it.”

John Micklethwait, The New York Times Book Review
“If you think America is doing just fine, then skip ahead to the poetry reviews.  If, however, you worry about a globe spinning out of control, then World Order is for you.  It brings together history, geography, modern politics and no small amount of passion.  Yes, passion, for this is a cri de Coeur, from a famous skeptic, a warning to future generations from an old man steeped in the past... it is a book that every member of Congress should be locked in a room with—and forced to read before taking the oath of office."

James Traub,The Wall Street Journal
"
Recent years have not been kind to those who believe in America's missionary role abroad. Since the terrorist attacks of 2001 upended our sense of the world, the United States has been governed by a conservative idealist who tried to impose American values on the Middle East, and failed calamitously, and a liberal idealist who invited America's adversaries to re-engage with us on the basis of a new humility and mutual respect, and found his hopes dashed. It is, in short, a moment for Henry Kissinger... The fact that he has written yet another book, the succinctly titled World Order, is impressive in itself. What is more remarkable is that it effectively carries on his campaign to undermine the romantic pieties of left and right that have shaped so much of American foreign policy over the past century. Mr. Kissinger bids fair to outlast many of the people who hate him and make others forget why they hated him in the first place."

Walter Isaacson, Time
“Kissinger’s book takes us on a dazzling and instructive global tour of the quest for order….The key to Kissinger’s foreign policy realism, and the theme at the heart of his magisterial new book, is that such humility is important not just for people but also for nations, even the U.S. Making progress toward a world order based on “individual dignity and participatory governance” is a lofty ideal, he notes. “But progress toward it will need to be sustained through a series of intermediate stages.”

The Los Angeles Times
"Kissinger's geopolitical analysis of our global challenges is compelling... Mark Twain, who was known more for his sense of humor than his diplomatic skills, once said, "History does not repeat itself. But it rhymes." Kissinger's advice is not nearly as glib, but much more valuable to a country that right now seems to want the rest of the world to just go away."

Jacob Heilbrunn, The National Interest:
"Kissinger… demonstrates why he remains such a courted adviser to American presidents and foreign leaders alike…. [World Order is] a guide for the perplexed, a manifesto for reordering America’s approach to the rest of the globe. Kissinger’s vision could help to shape a more tranquil era than the one that has emerged so far.”

Kirkus Reviews:
"An astute analysis that illuminates many of today's critical international issues."

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