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In Warrior Politics, the esteemed journalist and analyst Robert D. Kaplan explores the wisdom of the ages for answers for today’s leaders. While the modern world may seem more complex and dangerous than ever before, Kaplan writes from a deeper historical perspective to reveal how little things actually change. Indeed, as Kaplan shows us, we can look to history’s most influential thinkers, who would have understood and known how to navigate today’s dangerous political waters.
Drawing on the timeless work of Sun Tzu, Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, among others, Kaplan argues that in a world of unstable states and an uncertain future, it is increasingly imperative to wrest from the past what we need to arm ourselves for the road ahead. Wide-ranging and accessible, Warrior Politics is a bracing book with an increasingly important message that challenges readers to see the world as it is, not as they would like it to be.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.21(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.46(d)|
About the Author
From the Hardcover edition.
Read an Excerpt
There Is No "Modern" World
The evils of the twentieth century arose from populist movements that were monstrously exploited in the name of utopian ideals, and had their power amplified by new technologies. The Nazi party began as a crusade for workers' rights organized by a Munich locksmith, Anton Drexler, in 1919, before Hitler took it over the following year. The Bolsheviks also emerged amid emancipating political upheaval and, like the Nazis, exploited the dream of social renewal. Once the Nazis and Bolsheviks were in power, the inventions of the Industrial Age became crucial to their crimes. As for Mao Zedong, his push for labor-intensive industrialization, through the establishment of utopian communes, led to the deaths of at least 20 million Chinese during the Great Leap Forward from 1958 to 1962.
The twentieth century may be a poor guide to the twenty-first, but only fools would discount it, particularly because populist movements now permeate the world, provoking disorder and demanding political and economic transformation. Asia is a specific cause for concern. India, Pakistan, China, and other emerging powers pulse with new technologies, nationalistic zeal, and disintegrative forces within. Recall the words of Alexander Hamilton:
To look for a continuation of harmony between a number of independent, unconnected sovereignties situated in the same neighborhood would be to disregard the uniform course of human events, and to set at defiance the accumulated experience of ages.
Thus, the evils of the twenty-first century may also arise from populist movements, taking advantage of democratization, motivated this time by religious and sectarian beliefs, and empowered by a post-Industrial Revolution: particularly information technology. Hindu extremists who burned down mosques in India in the early 1990s and attacked Christians in the late 1990s belong to a working-class movement within India's democracy that uses videocassettes and the Internet to spread its message. Similar phenomena have occurred in Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Algeria, Mexico, Fiji, Egypt, Pakistan, the West Bank, and Arab Nazareth, to name but a few places where religious and ethnic groups, predominantly working-class and inspired by democratization, use modern communications technology to stir unrest.
Populist rage is fueled by social and economic tensions, aggravated often by population growth and resource scarcity in an increasingly urbanized planet. In the coming decades, 2 or 3 billion more people will live in the vast, impoverished cities of the developing world.
Global capitalism will contribute to this peril, smashing traditions and dynamically spawning new ones. The benefits of cap-italism are not distributed equitably, so the more dynamic the capitalist expansion, the more unequal the distribution of wealth that usually results. Thus, two dynamic classes will emerge under globalization-the entrepreneurial nouveaux riches and, more ominously, the new subproletariat: the billions of working poor, recently arrived from the countryside, inhabiting the expanding squatters' settlements that surround big cities in Africa, Eurasia, and South America.
From the Hardcover edition.
What People are Saying About This
“While Washington is filled with journalists seeking information from the military, the military seeks information from Kaplan.” –The Washington Post
“There is much to praise in Kaplan's sober realism, his genuine knowledge of the world's danger zones, and his justified contempt for liberal good intentions when they are not backed by steel and will.” –The New York Review of Books
“[A] fascinating intellectual exercise.” –Newsweek
“One of the most thought-provoking and profound books that I have recently read. As readable as it is stimulating.” –Henry Kissinger
“Kaplan draws on a rich humanist tradition to shatter the illusion of a collective, post-cold war vision of human progress. . . . [He] has become the Ayn Rand of international affairs, saying what few dare to say.” –New Statesman
“Kaplan skillfully captures the relevance of classical political theory for today’s leaders, whether they manage crises in the boardroom or the Oval Office.” –William S. Cohen, former secretary of defense
“An insightful, timely book. Citing philosophers from Sun-Tzu to Machiavelli, the author shows the value of ancient insights into human nature in formulating international policy.” –Booklist
“Warrior Politics should be read by every citizen deeply concerned about America’s role in the world.” –Newt Gingrich
“The reason I have come to admire Bob Kaplan's little book . . . is its refusal to apologize for its analogies. This is so refreshing. . . . What Kaplan is saying–and what Hobbes and Machiavelli and some of the Founders said–was that such realism is in fact more moral than idealism. Idealism in state craft is based on an abdication of responsibility — to govern the world as it is.” –Andrew Sullivan
“[Kaplan’s] comparison of the United States in 2001 with the complacent Roman Empire will be a wake-up call for many readers. His philosophical polemic is well worth reading in these anxious times.” –Library Journal
“I read Warrior Politics with fascination. Kaplan makes a persuasive case that the insights of major philosophers are relevant to modern security problems. This book will be read by scholars, but it should also be read by those responsible today for making the decisions that affect our national security.” –William J. Perry, former secretary of defense
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Robert D. Kaplan, once again, provides an "outside the box" point of view on the contemporary international - and national - world. His ability to grasp and convey the complex, yet simple, reality of what we tend to view as "uniquely modern" problems from several historical perspectives. His research and writing clearly illustrates the common characteristics between today's "international situations" to those from the 20th century, back to ancient times. His insights and observations present the reader with points of view both decades and centuries old; yet their ageless wisdom is as true today as they were when they were originally made. No matter what one's political, social, religious, economic, racial or ethnic background, all that is needed to understand what Kaplan provides in this book, is the ability and desire to rise above "the trees" in order to see "the forest"!
this is a great philosophy to cut through the pc and call a spade a spade. in my time we used to call this being honest and getting to the bottom line.now, unfortunately, it's a philosophy.a great book about dealing with reality pagan style.
Admittedly, I know very little about politics in my own country let alone international politics, but in today's ever-increasing global community I found this book to be an excellent guide. Mr. Kaplan takes the often overwhelming topic of international politics and envelopes it in historical examples which allows the reader to not only understand why it is that governments act the way they do, but that they've been acting this way for centuries. He shows that for all of our technological advancements and supposed modernity that the heart of what drives the realm of international politics is people and our fallible humanity. The book isn't exactly a light-hearted tome but it pushes the reader to open their eyes to the way the world works today and what hope we can have for the future of our global society.