- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 13 hours and 27 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Tantor Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: January 23, 2012
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0070Y0WOS
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power Audiobook – Unabridged
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All of the Monsoon nations have great challenges before them from insurgencies to population increase and competition for the resources to propel them into a more prosperous future.
Kaplan writes with a powerful pen but clearly, directly and in a style that the layman can access with ease. He makes a good case for the Indian Ocean region being the next global break out area. It has a huge population, vast resources and a growing accumulation of military power.
For the record, I will respectfully (and with some trepidation) disagree with Mr. Kaplan that the Indian Ocean is destined for global waterway primacy, and my reason is the two largest populations bordering this immense body of water, Africa and India, are simply too poor to be commercially significant before the world's population and economic growth (hopefully) reverses itself and settles at a sustainable level. China will probably grow in this century to become the world's largest economy, but the principal global commerce will then be across the Pacific, between China and the US. And the commercial trading today between the EU and the US, the first and second largest global economies, respectively, will continue to grow over the years. So I can see the Indian Ocean will indeed rise in relative importance to these other two extensive trading relationships, but it will not become the world's most important waterway.
This is a well-told story. "Monsoon" was a thoroughly informative read, and I enjoyed it immensely.
Oman is a wonderful example of an alternative to democracy that has worked out for the best of the country. While Kaplan points out that this is not always the answer, it is refreshing to see an American who admits that, for some societies, democracy might not be the best option.
On Islam in Indonesia, Kaplan points out that traditional and conservative Islamic groups are more inclusive and secure since they have a stable basis in centuries of Islamic thought and do not feel threatened by other influences (which are many: Indonesia has Christian, Buddhist and HIndu communities) or define itself through enemies. It is the modern Islamic groups that tend to be more radical. "The conversion of religion to radical ideology doesn't happen because people doubt God, but because they have come to doubt themselves, which, in turn, is something that goes back to their own fear of modernization." He further quotes Giora Eliraz who says that "radical fundamentalists need worthy adversaries.".
All of this makes me think of what has been happening in Europe in the past several years. It is not the Islam that Europe should fear, but the people who are frightened, people who feel that they cannot - for whatever reason - integrate into the modern day society, the ones that feel excluded. And the cure to the current situation is not rage or increased antagonism, but acceptance of all, respect for the different sets of beliefs, and promotion of economic development throughout the world, the kind of development that will make people feel secure about their job prospects and the ability to feed their families and realize their full human potential without the necessity to resort to violence. It is fear and insecurity that breed violence. And there need not be fear in a world that is more supporting and accepting. Sadly, we are a long way from that word as of yet, but we can start on the way there by at least remembering that fear and rage is not the answer.
I would recommend reading Monsoon by Robert Kaplan to everyone!