World order, as author Henry Kissinger puts it; “circles much of the globe, covering several parts of the world, including Europe, India, China and the Middle East.” This sounds very true since understanding the rapidly changing world scenario through a single source is not easy. Undoubtedly, the present day global dynamism depends on a broad based geopolitical perspective and foreign policy. Veteran author Henry Kissinger’s 420-page-book, “World Order” helps to understand global politics and historical perspective that describes the past 17th-century Europe Westphalia till half-century future of geopolitics. The book clearly analyzes the history, political theory and elucidates the complicated 21st-century global order. The writer has tried to include comprehensively the historical developments covering almost the entire globe having equal significance on every paragraph and page.
The writer, having an experience in foreign affairs of about six decades has intellectually emphasized all aspects of the globe by clearly examining the historic civilizations and its repercussions. It is an impressive book because it encompasses all necessary factors of foreign policy besides military and economic aspects with effective analysis on different dimensions, including historical, cultural, moral, value, civilization, religion, politics, cold war, confrontation and the present day war against terrorism. The author has also diligently highlighted every region, including the United States and its concept of order.
This thoughtful book does not only contain the argument of the writer but reflects the global civilization, historical ruling policy as well as analyses of some familiar issues across the globe. It not only projects the writer’s perceptions but lays equal emphasis on the historical past of 2000 years reflecting the multi-polar world’s increasing challenge to reinforcing the global order. According to the writer, despite diverse difficulties, the world has been run and dominated by four concepts – the European System, Islamic System, Chinese System, and the American Order.
The author focuses on pragmatic diplomatic approach and is hopeful for U.S.-China relations for global peace and order but expresses worry that ‘Beijing feels Washington is weak’ and expands its military power in the region. Kissinger is also optimistic about engaging Iran’s nuclear deal with US. He has a similar view about the diplomatic relationship between U.S and China. (established in 1972) and the relation with regional super power Iran. His view on Tehran today is easy to negotiate for normalizing the relation because of the rise of terrorists in Iraq which has been considered a serious threat to the West.
The book also reflects the US future engagements and role globally but has focused more on India than Japan and other US key Asian ally. India has been solely referred on 17 pages (192- 208). The author has very minutely and impressively described India’s past history, present and future perspectives. Kissinger sees Indian’s legitimacy balancer in the Indian Ocean to strong spheres of influence over there but equally huge internal challenge in India and says, “India’s role in world order is complicated by structural factors related to its founding.” Nepalese sovereignty preserves ruler traditional diplomacy to send the gift and letter for empire power in North and South, according to Kissinger single paragraph space.
According to the author, balance of power is more effective than military muscle. Kissinger carefully watches the practice of international system, different aspects of challenging elements, and circumstances-based diplomacy. He focuses on the global order to prevent global peace saying: “If order cannot be established, vast areas risk being opened to anarchy and to forms of extremism that will spread organically into other regions.”
Kissinger’s secret journey to different capitals changed the diplomatic historic course. He is confident that good approaches can control destabilization. Many doubt him as a “U.S. diplomatic architecture”. The book, as a whole, explains the hierarchical global past and present Iran’s revolution to Arab Spring, Soviet collapse to American foreign policy crisis and opportunity, Current crisis and future perspective either international relations, culture to diplomacy.
The world is witnessing more disorder now – Rise of terrorism rise in the Middle East and South Asia, complicated civil war in Arab and Africa, Ukraine crisis and cold war era standoff between superpowers, regional countries’ growing military capability and reach of nuclear weapons. Such a scenario will naturally lead to militarization of foreign policy. But the author is optimistic that the U.S. as the “ambivalent superpower” will strengthen relations with other world major powers.
The “World Order” is a significant and impressive thoughtful book to comprehend the global historical analysis and challenges. To summarize, the book provides a natural history of the concept since, as the author puts it; “is neither a monolithic entity nor an inevitable consequence of statecraft but a cultural, historical artifact shaped by the character and experiences of specific people.”
Nepal Foreign Affairs
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