One of my favorite books is written by Henry Kissinger, entitled World Order. This book was published in 2014. Henry Kissinger is a well-known figure in American politics. I bought the book on 14 June 2015, after I talked at the University of Indonesia with the daughter of Abdurrahman Wahid, Yenny Wahid, on Media and Terrorism. I found this book at a bookstore at Soekarno Hatta International Airport. It is an excellent book to see the compass of American interest in the world in many aspects. The author examines how the history of the order has been implemented in American history.
Henry Kissinger was a politician, scholar, and special advisor for the United States of America. He has been a witness as an old American for any government policies since the early history of the Cold War. I think he has also been involved since World War II. What is most interesting about him is that he served many American presidents. You may find his role by searching search engines. He is also a productive author. One of his very well-known books is Diplomacy.
It is a book review on geopolitics that focuses on World Order. The book authored by Henry Kissinger is entitled The World Order. This book is about geopolitics and how to handle the dynamic of politics as a superpower country.
The World Order is a book about the contemporary response era with many global problems. It has nine chapters and a chapter Conclusion. Kissinger defines World Order as:
The concept held by a region or civilization about the nature of just arrangements and the distribution of power thought to apply to the entire world (p.9).”
It is also mentioned that:
The international order is the practical application of these concepts to a substantial part of the globe -large enough to affect the global balance of power.
So, World Order has to do with power and control. Every country wants to hold two concepts by their “strong stick.”
“Strong stick” can control another country through war or Diplomacy. Diplomacy is the art how to deal with foreign countries. You may speak very elegant or complicated languages, but you show that you have a very “strong stick.” A “strong stick” could be understood as a weapon, economy, imperialism, or ideological subversion. In short, a “strong stick” can beat anyone who does not listen to us, which is how World Order is being operated internationally by a mighty country. In explaining World Order, Kissinger used the concept of legitimacy and power, whereas the American government takes an excellent idea, i.e., balancing. Currently, two countries take the lead in controlling World Order: America and China.
The first chapter deals with the history of international order in Europe. He shows the concept of the European Order and how countries operated it. Until the French Revolution, the world was almost colonized by European countries. One of the authors who influenced the European order concept is Thomas Hobbes. As an author of Leviathan, Hobbes “imagined a “state of nature” in the past when the absence of authority produced a “war of all against all” (p.31).” Thus, the European order was to end the “war of all against all.” The ultimate event was French Revolution.
The second chapter shares a history of the internal dynamics of the European order, which led to World War I and World War II. The author wanted to explain how the European Order ended. He examines many of the internal dynamics in European countries. What I mean by “internal dynamics’ is that many wars have happened in Europe. Kissinger elaborates on these “internal dynamics” by looking at many tragedies or conflicts in every country in the region. War is a keyword to canvass the history of Europe until World War II.
The next chapter is about the world of Islam. Kissinger uses the concept of “A World in Disorder.” He investigates how power is established in the Muslim world. I like to quote a paragraph in this chapter:
Islam’s rapid advance across three continents provided proof to the faithful of its divine mission. The conviction impels that its spread would unite and bring peace to all humanity. Islam was a religion, a multiethnic superstate, and a new world order. (p.99)
If you want to expand our knowledge on the establishment of Islam as “a new world order,” please also consult with some references such as God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215 (2009) by David Levering Lewis, Islam and the Modern World: Challenged by the West, Threatened by Fundamentalism, Keeping Faith With Tradition (2012) by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and two books by Bernard Lewis, The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy War and What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East.
I see that Kissinger went through the history of Islam by explaining the conflict between Islam and Europe. Then, he presented an excellent portrait of the internal problems of Muslims. Here, as we predicted, he wanted to show Islam as a new threat to the world by offering the issue of Jihad, war, and terrorism as a unique portrait of Islam in the contemporary era. This can be read in chapter 4, where Kissinger finds some problems with Iran and the United States of America.
In the following two chapters (5-6), Kissinger focuses on Asia. In Chapter 5, he shows the history of wars in Asia. He made comparative studies of any issues in Asia. Japan, India, and the impact of European colonialism are significant issues in this chapter. The vibrant Asian conflict was a template between European Order and Asian Order. I would also argue their many sources of Asian Order, as I found in Kissinger’s narration of Meiji, Hindu, China, etc. Then, in Chapter 6, he elaborates very specifically on China. For Kissinger, China would be a new problem for seeking International Order. That is why he mentioned China in a single chapter.
Chapter 7 is the core issue in the book. Here, Kissinger made a perfect trip of historical explanation of America’s concept of World Order. American society has two ideas: “the Spirit of Religion and Freedom.” After the European Order ended, the United States of America took strategic steps to promote the “American Order” to international society, called “Acting for All Mankind.” Kissinger did mention that: “The United States was thus not simply a country but an engine of God’s plan and the epitome of world order (p.243).” America has moved many “orders” from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia to this country. One American scholar says that “America is a united empire.” This can be referred to as George Friedman’s The Next Decade: Empire and Republic in a Changing World. In my book, I argued that America is being promoted as “A New Caliphate in the modern world.”
Thus, I am not surprised by many American leaders’ concepts that inspired this country to be a superpower state in the modern era. There are many concepts: “America as the World’s Conscience” and “the New World Order.” The implementation of this concept can be read in the next chapter, where the United States played a significant role globally as a “Globocop.”
The final chapter deals with the three issues World Order confronted: technology, equilibrium, and human consciousness. Francis Fukuyama is the best scholar with authority to give a historical narration on the problem. I think this chapter shares with us what is the best order to respond to the three issues.
I would say understanding some basic concepts in geopolitics studies will lead me to re-think how to respond to the current issues in the world. Kissinger’s book becomes a GPS for me, which means Geo-Political System. The GPS always finds new coordinates where the interest is being planted. Then, we will wait for what kind of “stick” to be carried to the country as a “bad boy.”