World Order written by Henry Kissinger is an amazing work of literary art. Kissinger covers Europe in regards to international order, balance of power in Europe, Islamism and the Middle East, Approaches to order in the United States, and Iran and the difference in the concept of balancing power in Europe and Asia. I must say reading this book helped me understand International and Comparative politics better. He focuses on world order over the years and how it will affect world order in future years to come.Kissinger looked at the world geographically but in World Order he analyzed it based on culture. Kissinger focuses on how different cultures affect the way a certain county is ran. He focuses on presenting each chapter as a reflection instead of a summary of policies.
He begins the book by focusing on the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 which ended the 30-year war in Europe. The main point of this treaty was to establish that a country’s domestic affairs were solely to be discussed and handled within that country. This became the focal point in which Kissinger determined that the World had determined some type of order. Kissinger makes that point that having some type of order is better than having no order at all. At one point, he focuses on the social communication within new generations and implies that the older generation believes this is the cause of world order deteriorating; however, he comes back to present the idea that over time world order started to break down with decision making.
Henry Kissinger develops a way of presenting his ideas within each chapter by first dealing with the formative experience of culture. For example, when he discusses the United States he focuses on the Civil War and how that affected forming some type of order by focusing on abolishing slavery. The second methodology is that he determined the transformative culture within each nation. The transformative experience is any major event after the formative experience, so Kissinger focuses on the World War I after slavery was abolished. He presents the idea that transformative elements govern the nation. This method allows you to look at any major nation such as China, and the United States in modern history and point out the transformative points and how the new elements introduced affects a nation’s order.
Kissinger chooses certain points as formative and transformative which can be viewed positive and negative. I view it as positive because he allows you to use critical thinking and challenge his points. What he views as transformative, I could view as formative and vice-verse. His points are very selective and opinionated. He chooses his points based on how big the event was. He groups Britain, Germany, and France together as the European experience and he focuses on America’s part in shaping World Order. The major event after World War II that Kissinger focuses on is the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He leaves you to question whether or not the increased number of uprisings in the Arabic World are effects of this invasion by linking the two together within the same section.
Kissinger states in the Introduction that “World Order” is simply his reflections in a book not a political analysis. Therefore, he covers countries like Russia, India, and China with respect which is something we rarely see. When people in the United States cover countries such as China, they tend to negatively review their policies and government. When Kissinger gets to the chapter covering Russia, he doesn’t spend time focusing on Putin even though he is behind the Russian’s way of order by being in office for over a decade. Had this book been published in 2018, I believe he would have focused on Putin more and even tied in the United States by discussing Donald Trump. He covers Russia from a historical aspect by focusing on Soviet Russia and how Putin’s time in office has evolved the Soviet part and he also focuses on the Greats such as Catherine. Henry Kissinger focuses on one main point when he covers the Islamic order. He makes a clear distinction between the abode of war and the board of peace. He references Islamic countries as the abode of peace and the rest of world as the abode of war. This is the only perspective that he provides in regards to Islamic civilization.
Kissinger makes a clear distinction between The Persian of Iranian and The Islamic Order; he does this by covering them in separate chapters, one being the Iranian order and the other being the Islamic order. He does explain why he splits this subject into two different chapters but I can only infer that it is due to his love for different countries and cultures.
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