Cool War: The Future of Global Competition

Noah Feldman. Random, $26, (224p) ISBN 978-0-81299-274-8
Feldman, Harvard professor and a New York Magazine "Most Beautiful Braniac", explains our world's shift from Cold War to "cool war" through the interplay of the US, the current world superpower, and China, the potential soon-to-be world superpower. Unlike the Cold War, where east and west remained isolated, China and the US literally cannot afford to live without each other: simplistically, China gets our debt and we get their trade; less simplistically, countries like Taiwan, South Korea, Iran, and Syria become pawns as the dominant powers negotiate their differences in conflicting ideologies and competitive economies. Russia's collapse is perhaps the greatest inspiration for China's more controlled embrace of global trade and individual freedoms, and Feldman masterfully elucidates China's non-democratic/non-communist new form of government, providing a lens through which he critiques America's own political shortcomings. Moreover, the World Trade Organization has replaced the UN as superpower referee in a context where companies like Apple and Google have much more at stake than the military posturing of aircraft carriers and hawkish politicians. In the end, China maintains that an individual's rights to food and shelter outweigh the importance of the right to vote and free speech, which raises the question: Is democracy enough if burdened by extreme poverty? (June)
Reviewed on: 06/24/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
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