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Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving Into Liquid War Paperback – January 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


Pepe Escobar is always provocative, always surprises, and so I read his essays at Asia Times without fail. -- Tom Engelhardt, Tomdispatch.com and The Nation

Now we can better peer through the opaqueness of the "flat earth" of Lexuses and olive trees; a must read. -- Wayne Madsen, Journalist and author of "Jaded Tasks: Brass Plates, Black Ops & Big Oil."

From the Back Cover

You are holding a warped travel book. This warped travel book remixes three main themes: globalization, energy wars and the Pentagon's Long War, originally packaged as the "war on terror." Call it a--what else--war travel book. Or a warped geopolitical travel book.

You will be traveling mostly in the arc from Middle East to Central Asia, but also in China, Russia, Western Europe, Western Africa, South America. You're going to revisit the asymmetrical wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. You're going to crisscross the Islamic world. You're going to follow a lot of pipelines. You'll be acquainted with the Iran the next war will probably hit. You'll see how national resistance wars have nothing to do with "terrorism." You'll be confronted over and over again with "strategic competitor" Asia--where the future of the 21st Century is being played out. You're going to revisit how, where and who profits from economic globalization and especially war corporatism. You'll see how more trade does not necessarily mean more peace. You'll see how and where possible New Orders are emerging, and Old Orders disintegrating. And you will finish the pilgrimage back in the middle of a--predictable--global war of the privileged few against the excluded many.

9/11 was the first globalization war. Our warped travel book argues we are now living an intestinal war, an undeclared global civil war. In this early 21st Century context of re-medievalization, where those who control power control weapons, money and The Word, this book also aims to provide a counter-narrative.

You will cross a lot of "stans." The re-medievalized world is being fragmented into "stans," some very exclusive (Pipelineistan, Europeistan, Nuclearistan), some feeding on war (Talibanistan, Americastan in Iraq), some regarded as a supreme threat (Shiiteistan), some spreading like a virus (Slumistan). We still live in a world of nation-states. But you will see that as civilian peace between nations and their populations is being slashed, basically because of economic imperatives, now virtually everyone seems to be threatened by a permanent state of emergence--which is just another way of referring to a global state of siege. This includes of course the plural culture of Islam constantly demonized in a lethal magma as The Barbarian Other--that silly "clash of civilizations" working out as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You may ask where I'm coming from. Well, to talk about nomad global wars it helps being a nomad--and a pure product of globalization. As a writer I have lived and worked in North and South America, Western Europe and all across Asia and Islam; since the end of the Cold War I have been tracking the West drunk on its own secular mission civilisatrice, eager to globalize Russia, China, Islam/Arabia, Africa. Home is wherever I happen to be. Not accidentally this short introduction comes from one of the great world cities, to the sound of electronic tango. Or as they say in Bangkok and Hong Kong, it comes from "the other side of the world." For me it makes perfect sense being in the Paris of South America dreaming of Asia and selected cities of the heart (and work)- Kabul, Baghdad, Tehran, Peshawar.

You should know that I do not answer to any corporate sponsor; no political party; no intelligence agency; no academic body; no think tank. And I got nothing to spin. The online publication I write for--Asia Times, owned by a Sino-Thai visionary businessman and based in Thailand/Hong Kong--allows me total freedom of expression.

This book is another way to tell a story--dissected by towering figures like Immanuel Wallerstein, Zygmunt Bauman, Ulrick Beck or Gabriel Kolko--from the ground level. Bauman's concept of liquid modernity gave me the inspiration for "Liquid War." Only then I found out there was already a videogame called Liquid War. Pop culture rules! The game, whose basic rules are inspired by Japanese go, is described as a sort of "psychedelic action" where strategy is crucial. Sounds like a definition of the world out there. Indonesia would say the world out there is like wayang theatre--we see the shadows, but we never see the puppeteer.

Beyond strategic and political conflict, Liquid War tends towards the destruction of singular cultures and everything capable of resisting globalization. Its optimum is anthropological genocide. If the future is being configured by Liquid War all actors are positioning themselves for the decisive moment, the catharsis in Greek drama, when Liquid War boils to the point of Hot War. Dear Leader Kim Jong-il is a weak link; his acts are very revealing, denouncing real fears. So are Hugo Chávez's.

Revered Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh prays that we may all escape the wheel of samsara--our addiction to nefarious vicious circles. If only we could accumulate enough compassion--instead of designer weapons: "touched by the Dharma", we would have an instrument to cut through the wheel of samsara, we would not legate so much bad karma for future generations, we would escape this demented war logic.

Hope lies in selected humanitarian, social, juridical and ecological NGOs, and the emergence of globally connected civil society. Even Professor Stephen Hawking, with his global-sized brain, does not know "how can the human race sustain another 100 years." He admitted: "I don't know the answer," suggesting improvements in genetic engineering to make humans less addicted to war.

Perhaps Groovemaster General James Brown had come up with the best answer after all: it's time to get funky. But on a less escapist level, maybe what we need is a post-modern Paolo Ucello. We have to come up with a different real time perspective for virtual space, learn how to deal with the telecity, the metacity, telesex, telepolitics, telewar. Paul Virilio warned us that the end of geopolitics is leading us to metropolitics. The enemy is undeclared. The logic is of fear. And widespread urban panic is already drowning for good the political character of the City.

Military/intelligence elites of Globalistan are all immersed in electronic tracking of deterritorialization, monitoring every turbulence caused by globalization--local conflicts, the shrinking of the middle classes, abysmal poverty, incipient civil wars, Salafi-jihadist reaction. Conflicts should be perpetuated, just about anywhere, but without turning into irreparable catastrophe. For these elites, this is just a technical matter. A question of managing chaos.

Robert Musil wrote that parallel universes could be as relevant as reality. Physic-ists go for a Multiverse that resembles boiling water (where, in Michiko Kaku's words, "the Judeo-Christian genesis takes place within the Buddhist nirvana, all the time"). In philosophical terms, the universe itself may even be a dream. I wonder what Jorge Luis Borges would make of all this. Against our world of nomad wars and Liquid War he would probably counterpunch with a dazzling play on cultures, History and signs. Could it be Kim Jong-il drinking an absinthe at the café La Puerto Rico? Could it be George W. Bush browsing books on Islam at the venerable Libreria del Colegio? Could it be Osama bin Laden dancing a tango with one of his wives at the ultra-atmospheric Bar Sur?

If only Liquid War was no more harmful than a drink. So here's to you, dear reader, a glass of fabulous Malbec. Cheers. Now let's hit the road.

Buenos Aires
September 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Nimble Books LLC (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978813820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978813826
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,453,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald L. Conover on February 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
Tour de Force! That's the only way to describe Pepe Escobar's remarkable achievement with Globalistan: How the Globalized World Is Dissolving into Liquid War. In page after page, Mr. Escobar demonstrates his remarkable erudition gained in a peripatetic career, spanning the caves of Tora Bora to the slums of Sao Paolo and Mumbai; from the halls of venality to the palaces of the gluttonously wealthy; from conversations with forgotten Pentagon warlords to raps with Brazilian gang lords.

Our Neocon leaders seem to think the rest of the World is frozen in situ, waiting for them to hatch their nefarious schemes. Globalistan shows us the consequences of such a blindered [or should I say "blundered"] attitude.

Producers for the talking heads of "mainstream" media will have to have this book. It is the one volume necessary to make sense of our churning humanity in the 21st Century. A quick scan can provide the background on every crisis from Iran to "Chindia"; from Shiiteistan to the Gazprom Nation; from PetroEurostan to the Bush White House.

Escobar demonstrates why it is true that if we don't find ways to spread our prosperity around the World, the have-nots will come and take it away from us with guns and bombs and box cutters. All of the walls and fences cannot protect the United States, Europe, and Saudi Arabia from overwhelming illegal immigration. Weapons and fences doom us, like the Texans at the Alamo. Eventually they will be overrun by 3 billion human beings living in abject poverty, but with access to the latest episodes of "24" and "Sleeper Cell," unless we help the Mexicans achieve their dreams of Texas in Mexico.
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There's such a different viewpoint. Even the US professors he quotes are people I've never heard of. And I thought I was well-read, at least by internet standards.

And he's funny. I'm not sure I was expecting that.

Perfect it's not. It reads as if it were written fast. With places that should have been edited. So read it the same way, fast. Stopping at passages that make you think. There are plenty of those, ranging from a discussion of how many suicide bombers are Islamic fundamentalists, (and what they are instead) to asserting that none of us is truly apolitical.

Someone who is a committed neocon or globalist could gain a lot by reading it. And by checking Escobar's facts, reading the people he admires and quotes. Probably so could the rest of us.
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Globalistan provides a picture of present conditions and the likely future in India, China, Russia and the "stans" as well as Africa and the mid-east.

The book contains names of people and places I was unfamiliar with. Far from confusing -- Mr. Escobar always gets his points across -- these essays made me realize how much is missed in the main stream or popular media.

Whether by design or incompetence we Americans are kept ignorant of the extent to which the planet is affected by the greed and corruption of those who consider themselves citizens of the world, and thus indifferent to any suffering of the place-bound rest of us.

This book helps dispel some of the ignorance and is therefore sobering. Be forewarned that reading it may permanently affect how you view even those sources you consider reliably informed.
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... though be forewarned.

Escobar writes from a vantage point well outside what Dr. John McMurtry has termed 'The Ruling Group Mind' --- that social construct, rigidly ensconced and enshrined in the US --- that forces reality to conform to manufactured delusions... submerging the group and its members within a pre-conscious field of hysteria, denials and projections...
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This book describes in apt detail the minimalist morality and crass materialism of the glitzy and high tech age of mass consumerism and "disposability" that has come to characterise the world since the world's second incarnation of "British" power, the US Imperium, won the cold war back at the end of 1991 and took on its final form which people commonly refer to as "neo-con". This initiated the present violent epoch of chaos characterised by the typical but merciless Anglo robber capitalism at its peak that can be summed up as a "dog-eat-dog" creed of selfishness, greed, apathy, cynicism and devil-may-care ignorance. Its policies have caused social decay and explosive upheaval and instability leading to breakdown of order in backward countries and cultures - as we are witness to here in Pakistan. The Anglo powers and the West in general support corrupt westernised ruling elites in Third World countries that suck the blood of their own people, but who maintain a local status quo favourable to the interests their Western patrons and masters. For this, these toady elites are awarded a place at their masters'grand table. The West once even supported militant Islam as a geopolitical tactic (against their Soviet rivals) - till 2001 that is, when it turned around and bit its master like some diseased dog on 9/11. That is why Al-Qaeda exists today. Nowadays, as a result of all these policies and actions, within a short span of just fifteen years, the world has ended up as a dangerous, explosive and uncertain place which is on the boil as never before in recorded Human history. It is a sad fact that nowadays the only effective opposition to Anglo-American "globalism" comes from raving Islamist fanatics. It is clear that globalism as it exists is destined for destruction.Read more ›
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