Review: World Order

BY Vanathi IN A, Non-fiction NO COMMENTS YET Henry Kissinger, World order

By Henry Kissinger. Grade A

The current international political scenario is as at the height of its verve, be it the ISIS situation or the Palestine war. Though the nations promise that they fight for peace, there is only war and destruction, while the rest watch on. This book is on the same lines. World Order tells the history of Man’s struggle to gain or restore order to his World. Right from the ancient times to now, from Europe to China, Henry Kissinger takes an interesting lesson in Foreign affairs, a compelling class with engaging ideas that gives you a gist of this World’s history.

World Order

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.

I haven’t read anything by Mr. Kissinger before though I have read a lot about him. This book is a proof of his brilliance. I remember learning about the different wars in History, but Mr. Kissinger dissects these wars and policies to understand the underlying nature of countries. He points out that the Islamic empire and the Chinese empire concentrated on making their rule the center of power while the Westphalian European nations believed in co-existing with other powers with an arrangement of understanding among themselves. I especially liked this quote of the back page of the book where he says,

“Long ago, in youth, I was brash enough to think myself able to pronounce on ‘The Meaning of History’. I now know that history’s meaning is a matter to be discovered, not declared.”

Do not be fooled by the humility of 377 pages. When you read it, you realize that one read is not enough to grasp his ideas.

What doesn’t work for me is how American-centered his ideas are. He praises America for being a free civilization that values Democracy the most important. After all his wise thoughts on Europe an Asia, when you read about his praises for America, makes you think that he after all is another American.

On the whole, this is the perfect book to get started on World power and order. Though, I’d advise the readers to tone down the greatness that is America, as you grasp the ideas.

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