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The Second World: How Emerging Powers Are Redefining Global Competition in the Twenty-first Century Paperback – February 10, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812979842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812979848
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #838,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Khanna, a widely recognized expert on global politics, offers an study of the 21st century's emerging geopolitical marketplace dominated by three first world superpowers, the U.S., Europe and China. Each competes to lead the new century, pursuing that goal in the third world: select eastern European countries, east and central Asia, the Middle East Latin America, and North Africa. The U.S. offers military protection and aid. Europe offers deep reform and economic association. China offers full-service, condition-free relationships. Each can be appealing; none has obvious advantages. The key to Khanna's analysis, however, is his depiction of a second world: countries in transition. They range in size and population from heavily peopled states like Brazil and Indonesia to smaller ones such as Malaysia. Khanna interprets the coming years as being shaped by the race to win the second world—and in the case of the U.S., to avoid becoming a second-world country itself. The final pages of his book warn eloquently of the risks of imperial overstretch combined with declining economic dominance and deteriorating quality of life. By themselves those pages are worth the price of a book that from beginning to end inspires reflection. (Mar. 11)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“A fascinating, colorful, and always intelligent tour through a new world.”
–Fareed Zakaria

“A savvy, streetwise primer on dozens of individual countries that adds up to a coherent theory of global politics.”
–Robert D. Kaplan

“Confident in his predictions and bold in his recommendations . . . Khanna’s book is written with ambition, scope, and verve that sets it apart from the usual foreign policy tome.”
–Andrei Cherny, The New York Sun

“A panoramic overview that boldly addresses the dilemmas of the world that our next president will confront.”
–Zbigniew Brzezinski

“Khanna is something of a foreign policy whiz kid.”
–Raymond Bonner, The New York Times Book Review

“[A] sweeping, often audacious survey of contemporary geopolitics . . . moves at lightning speed.”
–William Grimes, The New York Times

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

In a dynamic world, this book offers a new theory or framework for understanding the complexities of the 21st century.
ON
In my view, the ideas that Parag Khanna's book is advancing are wrong and following them will bring nothing but harm to the US.
Igor Biryukov
On the other hand, as witnessed by the 23-page bibliography and 65 pages of endnotes, this is a very well researched book.
J. I. Uitto

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Theseus Augustus on March 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the book I have been waiting years for - it is the clearest picture I have yet seen of the 21st century's nascent Great Game; the Game as played by three Great Powers with very different styles: the United States, the European Union, and China. Khanna has developed an original view of a tripolar world, and effectively balances the force of geopolitics with the complementary trend toward globalisation.

The book has several persistent and gnawing weaknesses. Khanna persistently focuses on traditional land power geopolitics, an easier thing to describe and a well trodden path in International Studies, but perhaps an increasingly less potent matrix with the emergence of new realms of competition in this century: low Earth orbit (mentioned briefly in one paragraph of the book); the emerging Internet culture and electronic world; enduring naval power and new oceanographic frontiers; the growing diasporas and transnational, nomadic elites who owe no geographical national allegiance. In particular, he who rules lower Earth orbit rules the planet, regardless of who predominates upon the "World-Island" of Eurasia.

The author, like many intelligent NRI Indians, seems disillusioned by the failure of Indian democracy to overcome poverty and wealth disparity on the subcontinent (at one point stating, "It could be argued that China is a freer country than democratic India", ignoring some obvious differences in number of political prisoners, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free access to the Internet . . . ).
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Izaak VanGaalen on April 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Parag Khanna of the New America Foundation draws his inspiration from Arnold Toynbee's 12-volume history of the world. Toynbee wrote his books first, and then embarked on a trip around the world to check the acurracy of his work. Khanna, however, did it the other way around: he spent two years travelling to forty countries, talking to people and getting a first-hand look at the facts on the ground, then writing this book. The result makes this volume a very pleasurable read, mixing policy recommendations, historical analysis, and traveller's eye for local color.

Khanna argues that there will be three superpowers in the 21st century - China, the European Union, and the United States. He sometimes calls them empires as in the subtitle of the book, but that term is confusing since the Big Three will not resemble the empires of old. These superpowers will have their own unique approach for extending their power and influence. The main objectives of the Big Three are essentially the same: they want to be in the good graces of energy- and resource-rich second-tier countries such as those of the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Khanna calls this the second world. And as more and more countries become nuclear, military muscle becomes less of a tool. The superpowers are developing non-military means to win allies and influence. According to Khanna, winning in the 21st century will not take place in the battlefield but in the geopolitical marketplace.

Of the three, Khanna finds the European model the most attractive. The European practice of offering the prospect of membership in the world's richest market is a very powerful incentive for countries to reform themselves and comply with EU standards.
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40 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an extraordinary book, a tour of the "real" world where the future is being defined. While I respect the reviewer's that have difficulty with inaccuracies or inconsistencies, on balance, in all of my reading as reviewed on Amazon, I would rate this one of the top 20 books, perhaps even one of the top 10 (let's go with that, making it one of the top 10 on reality, while my other "top ten" would encompass world changing, social entrepreneurship, the Tao of democracy and other solution-oriented writings).

My notes must of necessity be cryptic. I will start with the bottom line and urge the Amazon reader to take my notes as a strong incentive to buy and read the book cover to cover.

Bottom line: US has screwed up big time, and is taking third place to China's achievement of globalization on its terms, using consultation, incentives, and efficient/effective agreements to propel itself past Europe, which has consensus model that has displaced the US but cannot compete with China's global juggernaut. The US is gently tarred with confusing "security" for prosperity or legitimacy, with preferring single-party strong-arm partners, and with being generally clumsy, inept, ignorant, and hence losing on all fronts.

+ Second World is internally divided between rich and poor sectors

+ Second World is the tipping point domain that will determine the tri-polar (China, Europe, US) outcome

+ Author covers five regions 1) east of Europe including Russia and Turkey; 2) Central Asia; 3) South America with little attention to Caribbean; 4) Middle East; and 5) Asia and the 4 Chinas.
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