Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific by Robert D. Kaplan Book Review

I'm a huge Robert Kaplan fan.  Yes, he''s been named one of the world's top 100 global thinkers but he also can take that knowledge and share it in engaging and interesting prose.  This book is a great example of a dense subject turned entertaining but still educationa.  Asia's Cauldron delves into the countries that make up Asia and the specific dynamics that are defining them today (and in the past as those interactions continue to haunt the world).

This book is an overview, with some interesting predictions and educated guesses as to how China's increased overreach (or perhaps they'd say diplomacy) continues to become more militant.  Today we're reading more about Iraq in our news sources yet China has gotten more aggressive over the past few months regarding islands in dispute with Japan.  Kaplan gives us insight into these situations and many more.

However, the book discusses the region itself - a broad area - thus can only go into so much detail on any one situation or country.  China discussion dominates, but I learned a lot about all of the countries about which Kaplan writes.  And he's visited them as well, so can add local color.  But this book won't prime you for an ambassadorship.

Kaplan rarely disappoints and this book is no exception.  I find his viewpoint balanced and mostly fair.

Is he right?  Time will tell - but few will dispute that Asia, and China in particular, is becoming a more dominant region.

I highly recommend this book.

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