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140 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, February 24, 2002
This review is from: Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos (Hardcover)
Kaplan's brilliant essay should be read by every citizen deeply concerned about America's role in the world and the realities of an evolving and uncertain global system. Kaplan is a talented reporter with a keen understanding of the depth of violence and chaos in much of the world (see his The Coming Anarchy). He has been in key parts of the turbulent third world and he understands the objective realities of millions of rootless young men with desperate futures. He describes vividly the path to a deep reversion to ethnic and religious fanaticism offered as a way of life that to many young men is more fulfilling than a life of poverty without a cause.
Kaplan argues correctly that the modern world is much like the ancient world. Humans are human and the problem of violence in and against society is as eternal as Cain and Abel. He skillfully carries us from Churchill's The River War (a study of the British role in the Sudan 1881-1898) a book Kaplan first bought in Khartoum in the mid-1980s. Kaplan understands that the roots of historic conflict run much deeper than today's story and he combines Churchill's personal sense of history with Churchill's role in history.
Kaplan carries us through the lessons of Thucydides, Sun T'zu, Livy, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Kant and a series of other scholars who have tried to cope with the challenge of violence and human society. He offers intelligent insights into America's role in the world, the inevitable nature of third world violence in the next half-century and the challenge of creating effective responses and sustainable strategies and institutions.
I highly recommend Kaplan's new book to anyone who is trying to understand what needs to be done to response to September 11. There are a number of references in this book to asymmetric power, fanaticism and the intelligent use of unsuspected force outside the rules of modern state warfare, which are prescient of what we are now living through.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 20, 2007, 6:13:22 PM PDT
Gingrich's comment about the "inevitable nature of third world violence" caught my attention.
Actually, it's the violence of the first world (which is a matter of choice, and a revenue stream for the military industrial cartel - like Lockheed Martin which has a plant in Gingrich's Cobb County) that should concern us most. The allegedly "civilized" first world has been inflicting state terror upon the Global South for generations. Focusing on the U.S., there was the extermination of the indigenous population, the brutalization of the Phillipines, the seizure of half of Mexico, a 1958 invasion of Lebanon, the invasion of Vietnam, the merciless bombing of Cambodia, proxy armies and death squads in Central America, backing Indonesia's genocidal assault on East Timor, special forces violence in Africa, the machinations of the CIA/NSA and "economic hit men", lethal economic warfare, and so on and so forth.
There are no ends that justify the means of Kaplan's neo-machiavellian "realipolitik."
I think Sitting Bull had a much better grasp of true "warrior politics" when he said:
"For us, warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take another's life. The warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves, and above all, the children, the future of humanity."

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 17, 2011, 12:46:26 AM PDT
Sitting Bull killed and led other men who killed a lot of people. I suspect that if Sitting Bull (who converted to Roman Catholicism by the way) had white skin you would't quote him, but would heap scorn upon him.

And actually, I'm sure Kaplan would approve of the way Sitting Bull handled things--and vice versa. Sitting Bull sure wasn't of the "I'm ok, you're ok" school.
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