Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Return of History and the End of Dreams by Robert Kagan



A great purchase from the sale bin at the south London Chapters, The Return of History discusses the hopes nations had for a new peaceful international order after the end of the Cold War and the reality that it didn't happen.  Great powers around the globe are again competing for honour and influence internationally. Nation-states are as strong as ever and have a policy of ambitious nationalism. The United States remains as the only true super power.  But international competition among the United States, Russia, China, Europe, Japan, India, and Iran are creating new regional conflicts and reigniting old conflicts. Although Communism is dying, competition between western liberalism/democracy and the eastern autocracies of Russia and China has become the new international conflict.  Add to this conflict the violent struggle against modern secular cultures being waged by radical Islamist fundamentalists.  The expectation of a peaceful international order after the Cold War has been proven wrong.

Robert Kagan, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for the International Peace, offers a well-written and thoughtful essay on what went wrong.  I will be on the look out for more of his books.