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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
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This review is from: After Empire: The Birth of a Multipolar World (Hardcover)
Five COMPELLING Stars!! Excellent, authoritative, highly informative, and thought-provoking! The esteemed London-based author, historian, and foreign policy expert Dilip Hiro gives us an important treatise that is both a geopolitical overview of world and regional history and an analysis of the rise of the multi-polar nations/powers controlling our world, as viewed by the author from outside the US sphere of influence. He analyzes the world in "its late imperial phase" and draws his conclusions placing the US in its rightful context among other equally-weighted nations and organizations in the eastern and western hemispheres. He also provides a great deal of historical detail that many of us may have missed, even as we lived through it. Mr Hiro notes the USA became the sole super power on 1 January 1992 after the fall of the Soviet Union, a status which the book reveals began to slip with the Clinton administration's Russian entanglements, began to unravel during George W. Bush's 2 simultaneous war fronts and the US (and worldwide) near-miss financial meltdown, and is now slipping further with the current challenges and difficulties of the Obama administration. He begins with the rise and fall of the bi-polar world, then "America's Place In The Sun", Russia, the important politics of oil in Venezuela and Iran, the People's Republic of China (PRC) (note the sections: "Hugging the Russian Bear" and the "Dragon and Uncle Sam"), the complexities of India, Pakistan and their region, the European Union, South America, and what he sees as "Future Flashpoints", among other topics. Along the way we get a very good, detailed but non-technical analysis of the US and worldwide financial meltdown, in the midst of our "unbridled capitalism". The USA, however, is the constant counterweight to all of those national entities, either as an ally, an adversary, or seemingly both. A major theme of Dilip Hiro's world-wide analysis is the 'power of oil' making for unusual economic alignments that may surprise some. Still another major impression is how military might is supplanted by the wielding of financial power exemplified by the PRC's state-guided economic development, Venezuela, Russia, & the EU. And there is the disturbing rise of massive cyber spying from China which may be a major factor in future wartime or peacetime scenarios. When he reaches his conclusion about the potential number of future super powers, two of the nations may surprise the reader. The USA has been the only constant super power since WW II and the author makes a convincing case for the PRC, Russia, other nations, and ascendant multi-national unions which are either already there or are on the brink of super power membership in the midst of the 21st Century. A major consideration in all of this is the balancing act within the UN Security Council. This is a very intellectual, deeply researched book, full of information and cogent analyses that cut quickly but deeply into each topic. Highly Recommended. Five iNFORMATIVE Star! (This review is based on a Kindle download in text-to-speech, Mac, and iPhone modes)
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 15, 2013 9:16:16 AM PDT
Abacus says:
Based on your review, it does seem like an interesting book. However, I am just wondering if just 3 years after its publication it is somewhat outdated. From the table of content, I gather that the main emerging counterpowers to the US according to the author are: Iran, Venezuela, Russia, the European Union, China, and India. The latter two are unquestionably part of the present and future mix of powers. But, all the others appear questionable. Iran, Venezuela, Russia are all still third countries in disguise with disfunctional corrupted governments that have a single thing going for them: oil. But, since the advent of shale oil in North America the amount of power those countries can derive from their oil resources will greatly diminish. Over the long term, an emerging power will need a lot more than oil resource to remain a power. Rule of law, sound governance, a well diversified economy will all count for a lot more than just oil alone. And, the mentioned countries have none of those other key socioeconomic assets. As far as the European Union, its present and prospect are dire enough as is to warrant any further commentary. Meanwhile, the US... frankly things are not that bad. Even our perceived fiscal imbalance appears to be going through a healthy rebalancing as we speak as currently conveyed by the most recent release from the CBO on May 14 with our Budget Deficit expected to shrink back to a more reasonable 4% of GDP in 2013 and stay below 4% over the next decade.

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2013 9:31:14 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 16, 2013 9:34:18 AM PDT
RBSProds says:
It's still worth a read, making points that are as valid as when it was written. Plus it gives a more European view of the world, although he makes every effort to be fair. And he was one of the first to elevate the eternal cyber threats to the US which are more and more prevalent and obvious every year. "The more things change, the more they remain the same" in many cases.
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