Read: July 2021

Inspiration: Saw a news interview with Henry Kissinger and wanted to better understand his perspectives and world view


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“World Order”, published in 2014 by former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, discusses the changing nature of international relations in the 21st century and the challenges that the world faces in maintaining peace and stability. He examines the role of the United States in the world and the challenges it faces in maintaining its leadership position. Kissinger also looks at the rise of China and the impact that it is having on the global balance of power. Throughout the book, he offers his insights and perspectives on the major global challenges of our time and how the world can address them. The book offers a valuable perspective on international relations and the role of the United States in the world.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

17/18 century world order limited to within regions, china believe rule all under heaven so not respect european order, both see the other as barbarians, Westphalian principles from 1600s govern indep states and sovereignty all the way to today (originate in europe), european order built on pluralism and equilibrium (none powerful enough to conquer), china had emperor, islam caliph and europe had holy roman emperor (start with charlamagne 1500) til 1806 but weaket, charles of hasburg after charlamagne not seek dominance but equilibrium, china was the original leader exploring oceans 1433 lead explorer die and cancel naval efforts, protestant ref started by martin luther 95 theses 1517 split christianity and destroy world order, peace of westphalia 1648 after thirty years war is move to multiplicity—not want world at war (live in harmony as states), introduce national interests instead of universal dominance, French Rev late 1700s introduce international order led by Rousseau (dismantle westphalian borders to focus on world peace), The Terror in france kill opposition and ruling party for revolution, Napoleon crown self emperor 1804 and conquest over europe but Spain and Russia 1812 fail as overreach, russia not really fit into europe or asia and surrounded by ambitious invaders for all of its history so are aggressive and defensive (eurasian b/c not fit in), russia keep expanding but this imperialism paired with weak econ/tech base (easier to keep going than stop), surrounded by french turks arab world etc so fear conquest, 1814 congress of vienna alexander the great come as most powerful and seek world order (common policy of christianity), vienna come as result of napoleon conquest, 1830 belgium indep from netherlands as neutral (first neutral country recognized/guaranteed, europe post vienna centered around alliances to keep balance (quadruple alliance and holy alliance), britain was ultimate balancer but passive (cocky bc eng channel protect), Metternich lead austria with worldly background (reason based and steady, universality), bismarck of ger focus on power vs metternich unity), bismarck survival of fittest (unite ger 1871, ally with austria and russia vs france), bismarck unify ger brilliant but disrupt order lead to ww1 slowly, post ww2 Atlantic Alliance align europe w/ US to stop soviet but europe rely on US military (europe balance no longer internal, driven by US), islam early on see dar al-islam vs dar al-harb (realm of peace vs war), bring all into dar al-islam via jihad mvmt (expand faith thru struggle—binary concept of world order), muhammad death 632 spark succession battle—sunnis say father in law abu bakr is leader vs shiitr say cousin ali is leader, sunni (tradition and consensus)—muhammad rel’ship w/ god unique and final and must preserve vs shiite can bring people in and guide by gifted people, saudi very unique with mecca as religious state but oil rich and try to ally with US (diplomacy is indirect, stay out of limelight and balance cultures, al Saud family guide but al qaeda complicate, Iran nuclear weapons concern bc would spark arms races and preemptive strike threats (iran see west as unbelievers—khomeini revolution change how see world via jihadist), Japan invade china 1590 for 5 years and fail then turn inward until approached by US 1850s and be passive but learn and take tech so emerge as power 1900 (defeated russia, manchuria from china), 3rd C bc India reach peak guided by arthashastra as conquest guide then fracture and subject of conquest 1000 years, britain impose of india bc see no unity—spark ghandi resistance to unite and indep 1947, india neutral and peaceful—pancha shila (5 principles of coexistence), in many ways India closer to arab world than asia (pakistan biggest battle), US fairly neutral pre 1898 spanish american war (protected, not get involved) then beat spain in cuba and take pr hawaii guam phillip (“for humanity’s sake” McKinley), theodore roosevelt 1901 first pres to assert US (need to dominate to keep peace, use foreign policy, not isolation), theo roos (speak softly and carry big stick, intervene in pacific), woodrow wilson lead US into ww1 as world conscience (not to restore eur balance, insert america in eur), wilson about self determination leads to harmony and peace with democracy as mechanism, league of nations as wilsons collective vision but weak and not act (“collective security” wilson idea to today), question is how to deal with violations of order (or leaving agreement, must respond but how), Dean Acheson sec of state (inspire Kissinger) as cold war bubble 1950 focus on strengthening west vs east via NATO (containment), Dulles as Sec of State guide US into CW as moral mission, korean war—soviet backed NK attacked SK 1950 and truman respond (“hot war on periphery”), Mao threatened bc see US in korea as threat to china, korean war first where US declare victory not as goal (also begin china russia split in alliance), eisenhower domino theory of communism, JFK murder split public/shock, vietnam johnson try to bring gvt to country hadn’t know self gvt for decades (nixon withdraw 1971), johnson overestimate american military power, Nixon brilliant foreign policy—believe in balance for peace and order (engage all), afghanistan such a tribal mix by region—may be partitioned to china russia india (need to avoid it as jihadist center), hard to define equivalent retaliation in cyber war, internet offers facts but lacks proper historical context get from books, social media reactions lead to indiscriminate intervention disconnected from strategy, economies are global but politics are national (not align, rely on globalization for econ growth), politics becomes game of short-term appeals (personality over elaboration of policy), foreign policy becomes short-term focused

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