Near the end of the Second World War, the United States made a bold strategic gambit that rewired the international system. Empires were abolished and replaced by a global arrangement enforced by the U.S. Navy. With all the world's oceans safe for the first time in history, markets and resources were made available for everyone. Enemies became partners.
We think of this system as normal-it is not. We live in an artificial world on borrowed time.
In THE ACCIDENTAL SUPERPOWER, international strategist Peter Zeihan examines how the hard rules of geography are eroding the American commitment to free trade; how much of the planet is aging into a mass retirement that will enervate markets and capital supplies; and how, against all odds, it is the ever-ravenous American economy that-alone among the developed nations-is rapidly approaching energy independence. Combined, these factors are doing nothing less than overturning the global system and ushering in a new (dis)order.
For most, that is a disaster-in-waiting, but not for the Americans. The shale revolution allows Americans to sidestep an increasingly dangerous energy market. Only the United States boasts a youth population large enough to escape the sucking maw of global aging. Most important, geography will matter more than ever in a de-globalizing world, and America's geography is simply sublime.
"I can’t imagine a more important book for our time." —Sebastian Junger
The world is blowing up. Every day a new blaze seems to ignite: the bloody implosion of Iraq and Syria; the East-West standoff in Ukraine; abducted schoolgirls in Nigeria. Is there some thread tying these frightening international security crises together? In a riveting account that weaves history with fast-moving reportage and insider accounts from the Afghanistan war, Sarah Chayes identifies the unexpected link: corruption.
Since the late 1990s, corruption has reached such an extent that some governments resemble glorified criminal gangs, bent solely on their own enrichment. These kleptocrats drive indignant populations to extremes—ranging from revolution to militant puritanical religion. Chayes plunges readers into some of the most venal environments on earth and examines what emerges: Afghans returning to the Taliban, Egyptians overthrowing the Mubarak government (but also redesigning Al-Qaeda), and Nigerians embracing both radical evangelical Christianity and the Islamist terror group Boko Haram. In many such places, rigid moral codes are put forth as an antidote to the collapse of public integrity.
The pattern, moreover, pervades history. Through deep archival research, Chayes reveals that canonical political thinkers such as John Locke and Machiavelli, as well as the great medieval Islamic statesman Nizam al-Mulk, all named corruption as a threat to the realm. In a thrilling argument connecting the Protestant Reformation to the Arab Spring, Thieves of State presents a powerful new way to understand global extremism. And it makes a compelling case that we must confront corruption, for it is a cause—not a result—of global instability.
Things have been just a little awkward between Britain and France ever since the Norman invasion in 1066. Fortunately—after years of humorously chronicling the vast cultural gap between the two countries—author Stephen Clarke is perfectly positioned to investigate the historical origins of their occasionally hostile and perpetually entertaining pas de deux.
Clarke sets the record straight, documenting how French braggarts and cheats have stolen credit rightfully due their neighbors across the Channel while blaming their own numerous gaffes and failures on those same innocent Brits for the past thousand years. Deeply researched and written with the same sly wit that made A Year in the Merde a comic hit, this lighthearted trip through the past millennium debunks the notion that the Battle of Hastings was a French victory (William the Conqueror was really a Norman who hated the French) and pooh-poohs French outrage over Britain’s murder of Joan of Arc (it was the French who executed her for wearing trousers). He also takes the air out of overblown Gallic claims, challenging the provenance of everything from champagne to the guillotine to prove that the French would be nowhere without British ingenuity.
Brits and Anglophiles of every national origin will devour Clarke’s decidedly biased accounts of British triumph and French ignominy. But 1000 Years of Annoying the French will also draw chuckles from good-humored Francophiles as well as “anyone who’s ever encountered a snooty Parisian waiter or found themselves driving on the Boulevard Périphérique during August” (The Daily Mail). A bestseller in Britain, this is an entertaining look at history that fans of Sarah Vowell are sure to enjoy, from the author the San Francisco Chronicle has called “the anti-Mayle . . . acerbic, insulting, un-PC, and mostly hilarious.”
When Maziar Bahari left London in June 2009 to cover Iran’s presidential election, he assured his pregnant fiancée, Paola, that he’d be back in just a few days, a week at most. Little did he know, as he kissed her good-bye, that he would spend the next three months in Iran’s most notorious prison, enduring brutal interrogation sessions at the hands of a man he knew only by his smell: Rosewater.
For the Bahari family, wars, coups, and revolutions are not distant concepts but intimate realities they have suffered for generations: Maziar’s father was imprisoned by the shah in the 1950s, and his sister by Ayatollah Khomeini in the 1980s. Alone in his cell at Evin Prison, fearing the worst, Maziar draws strength from his memories of the courage of his father and sister in the face of torture, and hears their voices speaking to him across the years. He dreams of being with Paola in London, and imagines all that she and his rambunctious, resilient eighty-four-year-old mother must be doing to campaign for his release. During the worst of his encounters with Rosewater, he silently repeats the names of his loved ones, calling on their strength and love to protect him and praying he will be released in time for the birth of his first child.
A riveting, heart-wrenching memoir, Rosewater offers insight into the past seventy years of regime change in Iran, as well as the future of a country where the democratic impulses of the youth continually clash with a government that becomes more totalitarian with each passing day. An intimate and fascinating account of contemporary Iran, it is also the moving and wonderfully written story of one family’s extraordinary courage in the face of repression.
“I really connected to Maziar’s story. It’s a personal story but one with universal appeal about what it means to be free.”—Jon Stewart
“An important and elegant book . . . a prison memoir enlarged into a family history.”—The New Republic
“Clear and compelling . . . engaging and informative—a gripping tribute to human dedication and a cogent indictment of a corrupt regime.”—Washington Independent Review of Books
“[Rosewater] is not only a fascinating, human exploration into Bahari’s personal experience . . . it also provides insight into the shared experience of those affected by repressive governments everywhere.”—Mother Jones
“A damning account . . . [Rosewater] turns a lens not only on Iran’s surreal justice system but on the history and culture that helped produce it.”—The Washington Post
“[Rosewater] is a unique achievement. It is a story not just of political cruelty (a subject Bahari treats movingly), but also about the two poles of Iranian political culture, bent together in upheaval.”—The Guardian (UK)
“A beautifully written account of life in Iran, filled with insights not only into the power struggles and political machinations but into the personal, emotional lives of the people living in that complicated country. Maziar Bahari is a brave man and a wonderful storyteller.”—Fareed Zakaria
From the Trade Paperback edition.
“On one level, It’s Our Turn to Eat reads like a John Le Carré novel.... On a deeper and much richer level, the book is an analysis of how and why Kenya descended into political violence.” — Washington Post
Called "urgent and important” by Harper's magazine, It’s Our Turn to Eat is a nonfiction political thriller of modern Kenya—an eye-opening account of tribal rivalries, pervasive graft, and the rising anger of a prospect-less youth that exemplifies an African dilemma.
This hidden history involves domestic spying, abuses of power, and outrageous operations. It includes a CIA that became caught in a political cross fire that it could not withstand, and what it did to respond. It includes a Defense Department that made its own foreign policy, even against the wishes of the commander in chief. It features a president who created a sphere of deniability in which his top aides were briefed on matters of the utmost sensitivity -- but the president was carefully kept in ignorance. State of War reveals this hidden history for the first time, including scandals that will redefine the Bush presidency.
James Risen has covered national security for The New York Times for years. Based on extraordinary sources from top to bottom in Washington and around the world, drawn from dozens of interviews with key figures in the national security community, this book exposes an explosive chain of events:
Contrary to law, and with little oversight, the National Security Administration has been engaged in a massive domestic spying program. On such sensitive issues as the use of torture, the administration created a zone of deniability: the president's top advisors were briefed, but the president himself was not. The United States actually gave nuclear-bomb designs to Iran. The CIA had overwhelming evidence that Iraq had no nuclear weapons programs during the run-up to the Iraq war. They kept that information to themselves and didn't tell the president. While the United States has refused to lift a finger, Afghanistan has become a narco-state, supplying 87 percent of the heroin sold on the global market.
These are just a few of the stories told in State of War. Beyond these shocking specifics, Risen describes troubling patterns: Truth-seekers within the CIA were fired or ignored. Long-standing rules were trampled. Assassination squads were trained; war crimes were proposed. Yet for all the aggressiveness of America's spies, a blind eye was turned toward crucial links between al Qaeda and Saudi Arabia, among other sensitive topics.
Not since the revelations of CIA and FBI abuses in the 1970s have so many scandals in the intelligence community come to light. More broadly, Risen's secret history shows how power really works in George W. Bush's presidency.
The book describes the ways in which a shared Confucian tradition and particular historical experiences of imperialism and war have affected each country's internal dynamics, responses to the outside world, and distinctive political developmental trajectory, especially since World War II.
While the book is structured to facilitate comparisons, it avoids the limitations of most comparative politics texts by focusing less on Western conceptions of state and governance and more on East Asian perspectives of the universe and how it operates. Even the considerations of contemporary policy issues in each country are cast in a wider framework that gives the discussion enduring value.
In The Wages of Oil, Michael Herb provides a robust framework for thinking about the future of the Gulf monarchies. The Gulf has seen enormous changes in recent years, and more are to come. Herb explains the nature of the changes we are likely to see in the future. He starts by asking why Kuwait is far ahead of all other Gulf monarchies in terms of political liberalization, but behind all of them in its efforts to diversify its economy away from oil. He compares Kuwait with the United Arab Emirates, which lacks Kuwait's parliament but has moved ambitiously to diversify.
This data-rich book reflects the importance of both politics and economic development issues for decision-makers in the Gulf. Herb develops a political economy of the Gulf that ties together a variety of issues usually treated separately: Kuwait's National Assembly, Dubai's real estate boom, the paucity of citizen labor in the private sector, class divisions among citizens, the caste divide between citizens and noncitizens, and the politics of land.
The United States, Egypt, and India were quintessential models of secular modernity in the 1950s and 1960s. By the 1980s and 1990s, conservative Islamists challenged the Egyptian government, India witnessed a surge in Hindu nationalism, and the Christian right in the United States rose to dominate the Republican Party and large swaths of the public discourse. Using a nuanced theoretical framework that emphasizes the interaction of religion and politics, Scott W. Hibbard argues that three interrelated issues led to this state of affairs.
First, as an essential part of the construction of collective identities, religion serves as a basis for social solidarity and political mobilization. Second, in providing a moral framework, religion's traditional elements make it relevant to modern political life. Third, and most significant, in manipulating religion for political gain, political elites undermined the secular consensus of the modern state that had been in place since the end of World War II. Together, these factors sparked a new era of right-wing religious populism in the three nations.
Although much has been written about the resurgence of religious politics, scholars have paid less attention to the role of state actors in promoting new visions of religion and society. Religious Politics and Secular States fills this gap by situating this trend within long-standing debates over the proper role of religion in public life.
John Owen examines more than two hundred cases of forcible regime promotion over the past five centuries, offering the first systematic study of this common state practice. He looks at conflicts between Catholicism and Protestantism between 1520 and the 1680s; republicanism and monarchy between 1770 and 1850; and communism, fascism, and liberal democracy from 1917 until the late 1980s. He shows how regime promotion can follow regime unrest in the eventual target state or a war involving a great power, and how this can provoke elites across states to polarize according to ideology. Owen traces how conflicts arise and ultimately fade as one ideology wins favor with more elites in more countries, and he demonstrates how the struggle between secularism and Islamism in Muslim countries today reflects broader transnational trends in world history.
Students will appreciate the book’s logical presentation and excellent pedagogical features including detailed maps that show political, demographic, and cultural data.
Using a wide array of archival and documentary sources from three continents, Lüthi presents a richly detailed account of Sino-Soviet political relations in the 1950s and 1960s. He explores how Sino-Soviet relations were linked to Chinese domestic politics and to Mao's struggles with internal political rivals. Furthermore, Lüthi argues, the Sino-Soviet split had far-reaching consequences for the socialist camp and its connections to the nonaligned movement, the global Cold War, and the Vietnam War.
The Sino-Soviet Split provides a meticulous and cogent analysis of a major political fallout between two global powers, opening new areas of research for anyone interested in the history of international relations in the socialist world.
'Comparative Politics takes a fresh and original approach to the field... it examines the role of structures, rules and norms in regulating the individual and collective behaviour of political actors. Each chapter provides a critical bibliography and key questions which will be particularly useful for students approaching Comparative Politics for the first time. Altogether this is a comprehensive and useful read which I warmly recommend' - Ian Budge, Professor Emiritus Professor of Government, University of Essex
'This is a most useful book. Teachers of comparative politics often scramble around, with out-of-date textbooks and photocopies of more or less compatible articles. Here is a new book that gives an up-to-date, comprehensive and systematic introduction to the major strands of institutional thought and applies these to the major institutions, processes and policy areas. It will be a great help for many of us, academics and students alike' - Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Copenhagen
This book provides a distinctive new introduction to the study of comparative politics at undergraduate level. Rich in case study material and global in coverage, Comparative Politics sets out the basic theoretical and methodological foundations for studying different political systems as well as the key structures and actors of which they are comprised.
Part One explores the nature of comparative methodology and introduces students to the major theoretical paradigms that seek to explain the operation of institutions in democratic states and facilitate comparison across different political systems.
Part Two examines the institutional structures of the modern state, outlining the key features such as the electoral systems and territorial and functional divisions of government across a range of modern states.
Part Three analyzes the role of key actors, such as voters and parties, interest groups and social movements, the bureaucracy and the judiciary.
This book will be an essential primer for students on first-year courses in comparative government and politics as well as introductory courses in political science concepts and methods.
Judith Bara is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Queen Mary, University of London and Research Fellow in Government, University of Essex.
David S. Bell is Professor of French Government and Politics and Head of Social Studies and Law at the University of Leeds.
Jocelyn Evans is Reader in Politics at the European Studies Research Institute, University of Salford.
Catherine Needham is Lecturer in Politics at Queen Mary, University of London.
Brendan O'Duffy is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Queen Mary, University of London.
Mark Pennington is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Queen Mary, University of London.
David Robertson is Professor of Politics, University of Oxford and Vice Principal, St Hugh's College, Oxford.
Essays show how Georgian sparks ignited conflagrations in South Ossetia (1991-1992) and Abkhazia (1992-1993), spreading northward to conflicts in Ossetia and Ingushetia (1992) and Chechnya (1994-1996). Combined with jihadist influences that entered from the South and East by way of Dagestan, these events culminated in the second Russo-Chechen war (1999-2009).
Chechnya transformed both the Russian military and the presidency of Vladimir Putin. Beginning in 2000, Putin's Chechenization strategy had unforeseen and controversial results for the entire Russian Federation.
These ironies are elucidated in case studies of the Stavropol region, the Sochi Olympics, the Pussy Riot conviction, and Russia's efforts to reintegrate religion with politics against the backdrop of an emerging Islamic "inner abroad.”
Neither Russia nor the Caucasus can be understood without an appreciation of their uneasy interconnection and its explosive consequences.
Since its first publication in Spanish nearly a decade ago, Julio Ramos’s Desenucuentros de la modernidad en America Latina por el siglo XIX has been recognized as one of the most important studies of modernity in the western hemisphere. Available for the first time in English—and now published with new material—Ramos’s study not only offers an analysis of the complex relationships between history, literature, and nation-building in the modern Latin American context but also takes crucial steps toward the development of a truly comparative inter-American cultural criticism.
With his focus on the nineteenth century, Ramos begins his genealogy of an emerging Latin Americanism with an examination of Argentinean Domingo Sarmiento and Chilean Andrés Bello, representing the “enlightened letrados” of tradition. In contrast to these “lettered men,” he turns to Cuban journalist, revolutionary, and poet José Martí, who, Ramos suggests, inaugurated a new kind of intellectual subject for the Americas. Though tracing Latin American modernity in general, it is the analysis of Martí—particularly his work in the United States—that becomes the focal point of Ramos’s study. Martí’s confrontation with the unequal modernization of the New World, the dependent status of Latin America, and the contrast between Latin America’s culture of elites and the northern mass culture of commodification are, for Ramos, key elements in understanding the complex Latin American experience of modernity.
Including two new chapters written for this edition, as well as translations of three of Martí’s most important works, Divergent Modernities will be indispensable for anyone seeking to understand development and modernity across the Americas.
For the theorist, political performance data helps to fill in the gaps when GDP alone does not explain the outcome of wars. For the practical policy specialist, political performance sheds a bright light on why some governments succeed and some fail, why investments disappear in one province but multiply in another, and why it is easier to promote health programs in one region but not in its neighbor. This groundbreaking book will be an essential resource for scholars, policymakers, and institutions interested in measuring the political capacities of nations and in knowing where foreign aid and investment will be most effective.
Contributions by: Mark Abdollahian, Marina Arbetman-Rabinowitz, Constantine Boussalis, Travis G. Coan, Yi Feng, Gaspare M. Genna, Kristin Johnson, Mathew Jones, Kyungkook Kang, Mariah Kraner, Jacek Kugler, Tadeusz Kugler, Hal T. Nelson, Masami Nishishiba, Peter Noordijk, Saumik Paul, Siddharth Swaminathan, Ronald L. Tammen, John Thomas, Ayesha Umar Wahedi, and Birol Yesilada.
Watry contends that Eisenhower worked closely with John Foster Dulles to engage in aggressive brinksmanship that diametrically opposed Winston Churchill's diplomacy of "peaceful coexistence." At a time when British economic interests favored cooperation with China, Eisenhower planned nuclear war against it; when Anthony Eden considered Gamal Abdel Nasser a Soviet agent and invaded Egypt, Eisenhower supported Arab nationalism and used economic and political blackmail to force Britain to withdraw. Such stances fractured the "special relationship" between America and Great Britain and played a vital role in the dissolution of the British Empire.
Watry's thorough examination of the important clash of U.S.-U.K. foreign policy demonstrates that America's new anti-colonial policies and the unilateral use of American power against perceived Communist threats put Eisenhower and Dulles on a collision course with Churchill and Eden that rocked the world.
Some patriarchal societies have come to see women’s control of their own sexuality as a threat to a way of life that goes back thousands of years. Many trace their lineage to tribal cultures that were organized around the idea that women’s virginity represents the honor of male relatives and the good of the community at large. Anyone or anything that influences women to the contrary is considered a corrupting and potentially calamitous force.
Jacobson analyzes the connection between tribal patriarchy and Muslim radicalism through an innovative tool—the tribal patriarchy index. This index helps to illuminate why women's sexuality, dress, and image so compel militant Muslim outrage and sometimes violent action, revealing a deeper human story of how women's status defines competing moral visions of society and why this present clash is erupting with such ferocity.-- Subrata Mitra, Department of Political Science, and South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg
Owen focuses on the origins and dynamics of twentieth-century struggles among Communism, Fascism, and liberal democracy; the late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century contests between monarchism and republicanism; and the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century wars of religion between Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, and others. Owen then applies principles learned from the successes and mistakes of governments during these conflicts to the contemporary debates embroiling the Middle East. He concludes that ideological struggles last longer than most people presume; ideologies are not monolithic; foreign interventions are the norm; a state may be both rational and ideological; an ideology wins when states that exemplify it outperform other states across a range of measures; and the ideology that wins may be a surprise.
Looking at the history of the Western world itself and the fraught questions over how societies should be ordered, Confronting Political Islam upends some of the conventional wisdom about the current upheavals in the Muslim world.