Tuesday, September 16, 2014

counterweight



Considering prospects for World Peace Through Globalization, think about this:  the Internet is instrumental in making modern connectedness and interdependence happen, and the Internet itself did not appear out of nowhere; it was invented by our American military.


...As a means to "hook up" the world so that people can -- in the big picture -- work together with each other, instead of fighting against each other. 


Of Henry Kissinger's new book, World Order, the Christian Science Monitor says,


...The US and Europe, Kissinger argues, operate on a system born of the Treaty of Westphalia, which concluded the Thirty Years' War of 1618 - 48.  The treaty enshrined the modern concept of independent states pledging non-interference in each other's domestic affairs and a (often precariously maintained) balance of power.   


Meanwhile, many Islamic leaders are still oriented toward a division between the...Islamic world and the non-Islamic part of the world that must be pacified or subjugated.


...And the historical Chinese perspective, focused on the primacy of the Chinese "Middle Kingdom" and the concentric and progressive irrelevance of the world's other peoples and powers.


Some of the fun of "World Order"...comes from the author's consistent referencing of the "Kissingers" of the past.  From Cardinal Richelieu to Klemens von Metternich to the fourth-century Indian minister Kautilya, the book is studded with a rogue's gallery of shrewd, realist, brass-knuckles strategic thinkers....


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TIME's review says:


...Kissinger's appreciation for order...came after his family fled Hitler's Germany in 1938 and arrived in New York....Kissinger became an exemplar of the realist, as opposed to idealist, school of diplomacy....





As President Nixon's National Security Adviser and Secretary of State in the early 1970s, Kissinger was able to manipulate the levers of the international system with a mastery that would have mesmerized Metternich.  Eschewing our differences in ideologies and values, he forged a d├ętente with the Soviet Union and an opening to China, then played off both to create a triangular balance of power....


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From the L.A. Times:
America's current isolationist tendencies are nothing new:  Kissinger discusses our nation's inward focus after both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam, and explains how periodic U.S. withdrawal from international engagement created vacuums that opportunistic aggressors sought to exploit.  Inevitably, our country was drawn into more military conflicts created by the geopolitical power imbalance our absence had created....


It is entirely understandable that a war-fatigued populace -- in any era -- wants nothing more than a well-deserved rest at the conclusion of prolonged conflict.  But even as Kissinger acknowledges that temptation, he repeatedly stresses the danger that arises in the absence of an American counterweight to aggression from other corners of the planet.


"The quest for that balance . . . between the poles of overconfidence and introspection, is unending," he writes.  "What it does not permit is withdrawal."








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