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The war of the world September 30, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, philosophy & politics, Politics.

Telegraph | Entertainment | The war of the world

Historian Niall Ferguson’s latest book, The War of the World, examines a century of history and finds that the West is well on the way to being eclipsed by Asia. Ferguson tells Steve Inskeep that it’s a destiny that was set a long time ago was recently featured on NPR

Niall is a regular contributor to the UK’s Daily Telegraph. The link at the top of this post goes to a book excerpt.

I identify ‘the descent of the West’ as the most important development of the 20th century. Powerful though the United States was at the end of the Second World War – the apogee of its unspoken empire – it was still much less powerful than the European empires had been 45 years before. The combustible character of ethnically mixed borderlands; the chronic volatility of mid-20th-century economic life; and the convulsions that marked the decline of Western imperial dominance.

A hundred years ago the West ruled the world as result of centuries of overseas conquest and colonisation. Now little remains of Western imperialism, aside from America’s waning military presence in the Middle East and Asia. Then, the frontier between West and East was located somewhere in the neighbourhood of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Now it seems to run through every European city. That is not to say that conflict is inevitable along these new fault lines; history suggests that there may be as many clashes within civilisations as between civilisations in the years that lie ahead. But it is to say that, if the history of the 20th century is any guide, the fragile edifice of civilisation can very quickly collapse even where different ethnic groups seem well integrated.


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