Dimensions: 256 pages, 9.54 × 6.38 × 0.9 in
Published: March 25, 2014
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0812994329
ISBN - 13: 9780812994322
Read from the Book
9780812994322|excerpt Kaplan / ASIA''S CAULDRON Chapter I The Humanist Dilemma Europe is a landscape; East Asia a seascape. Therein lies a crucial difference between the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The most contested areas of the globe in the last century lay on dry land in Europe, particularly in the flat expanse that rendered the eastern and western borders of Germany artificial, and thus exposed to the intensive to-ing and fro-ing of armies. But starting in the last phase of the Cold War the demographic, economic, and military axis of the earth has measurably shifted to the opposite end of Eurasia, where the spaces between the principal nodes of population are overwhelmingly maritime. By maritime I mean sea, air, and outer space: for ever since the emergence of aircraft carriers in the early decades of the twentieth century, sea and air battle formations have become increasingly inextricable, with outer space now added to the mix because of navigational and other assistance to ships and planes from satellites. Hence naval has become shorthand for several dimensions of military activity. And make no mistake, naval is the operative word. Because of the way that geography illuminates and sets priorities, the physical contours of East Asia argue for a naval century, with the remote possibility of land warfare on the Korean Peninsula being the striking exception. East Asia is a vast, yawning expanse, stretching from Arctic to Antarctic reaches—&sh
From the Publisher
From Robert D. Kaplan, named one of the world’s Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine, comes a penetrating look at the volatile region that will dominate the future of geopolitical conflict.
Over the last decade, the center of world power has been quietly shifting from Europe to Asia. With oil reserves of several billion barrels, an estimated nine hundred trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and several centuries’ worth of competing territorial claims, the South China Sea in particular is a simmering pot of potential conflict. The underreported military buildup in the area where the Western Pacific meets the Indian Ocean means that it will likely be a hinge point for global war and peace for the foreseeable future.
In Asia’s Cauldron, Robert D. Kaplan offers up a vivid snapshot of the nations surrounding the South China Sea, the conflicts brewing in the region at the dawn of the twenty-first century, and their implications for global peace and stability. One of the world’s most perceptive foreign policy experts, Kaplan interprets America’s interests in Asia in the context of an increasingly assertive China. He explains how the region’s unique geography fosters the growth of navies but also impedes aggression. And he draws a striking parallel between China’s quest for hegemony in the South China Sea and the United States’ imperial adventure in the Caribbean more than a century ago.
To understand the future of conflict in East Asia, Kaplan argues, one must understand the goals and motivations of its leaders and its people. Part travelogue, part geopolitical primer, Asia’s Cauldron takes us on a journey through the region’s boom cities and ramshackle slums: from Vietnam, where the superfueled capitalism of the erstwhile colonial capital, Saigon, inspires the geostrategic pretensions of the official seat of government in Hanoi, to Malaysia, where a unique mix of authoritarian Islam and Western-style consumerism creates quite possibly the ultimate postmodern society; and from Singapore, whose “benevolent autocracy” helped foster an economic miracle, to the Philippines, where a different brand of authoritarianism under Ferdinand Marcos led not to economic growth but to decades of corruption and crime.
At a time when every day’s news seems to contain some new story—large or small—that directly relates to conflicts over the South China Sea, Asia’s Cauldron is an indispensable guide to a corner of the globe that will affect all of our lives for years to come.
Praise for Asia’s Cauldron
“Asia’s Cauldron is a short book with a powerful thesis, and it stands out for its clarity and good sense. . . . If you are doing business in China, traveling in Southeast Asia or just obsessing about geopolitics, you will want to read it.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Kaplan has established himself as one of our most consequential geopolitical thinkers. . . . [Asia’s Cauldron] is part treatise on geopolitics, part travel narrative. Indeed, he writes in the tradition of the great travel writers.”—The Weekly Standard
“Kaplan’s fascinating book is a welcome challenge to the pessimists who see only trouble in China’s rise and the hawks who view it as malign.”—The Economist
“Muscular, deeply knowledgeable . . . Kaplan is an ultra-realist [who] takes a non-moralistic stance on questions of power and diplomacy.”—Financial Times
About the Author
Robert D. Kaplan is chief geopolitical analyst for Stratfor, a private global intelligence firm. He is the author of fifteen books on foreign affairs and travel, including The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us about Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate, Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power, Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History, and Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos. He has been a foreign correspondent for The Atlantic for nearly three decades. In 2011 and 2012 he was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the world’s Top 100 Global Thinkers.
From 2009 to 2011, Kaplan served on the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, appointed by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Since 2008 he has been a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington. From 2006 to 2008, he was the Class of 1960 Distinguished Visiting Professor at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis.
“This is the latest in a series of insightful books . . . in which Robert D. Kaplan . . . tries to explain how geography determines destiny—and what we should be doing about it. Asia’s Cauldron is a short book with a powerful thesis, and it stands out for its clarity and good sense from the great mass of Western writing on what Chinese politicians have taken to calling their ‘peaceful development.’ If you are doing business in China, traveling in Southeast Asia or just obsessing about geopolitics, you will want to read it. . . . Throughout the book, Kaplan tempers hard-nose geopolitics with an engaging mix of history and travelogue.” — The New York Times Book Review “Kaplan has established himself as one of our most consequential geopolitical thinkers. . . . [ Asia’s Cauldron ] is part treatise on geopolitics, part travel narrative. Indeed, he writes in the tradition of the great travel writers.” — The Weekly Standard “Kaplan’s fascinating book is a welcome challenge to the pessimists who see only trouble in China’s rise and the hawks who view it as malign.” — The Economist “Muscular, deeply knowledgeable . . . Kaplan is an ultra-realist [who] takes a non-moralistic stance on questions of power and diplomacy.” — Financial Times “A riveting, multitextured look at an underexamined region of the world and, perhaps, at the ‘anxi