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The Changing Global Order
Edited by Nathan Gardels
  Table of Contents

  Table of Contents


In this age when the media has all but given up on serious discourse about ideas that matter, New Perspectives Quarterly and its weekly Global Viewpoint column for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate from which the contributions to this volume are compiled are a remarkable exception.

Over the past decade, this small "high brow" journal has managed to spin a global intellectual web through a commentary and feature interview service that appears regularly before 30 million readers in 15 languages through the pages of many of the globe's top newspapers on all continents, from Germany's Die Zeit to La Stampa in Italy to O Estado de Sao Paulo in South America, to Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's largest daily.

Unlike any other effort I know, this creative combination of serious thinking from the world's best minds and most authoritative voices, presented in a style and format accessible to a mass media audience, has been able to link the topical issues of the day to the deeper issues of civilization at the end of the twentieth century.

For all the talk these days of globalization, very few publications can claim to have the perspective that NPQ and Global Viewpoint actually possess. The datelines of columns and interview are as often from Beijing Khartoum and Moscow, as from Paris, London or Washington.

The book is divided into five parts, the first two of which look back at the main geopolitical events of the twentieth century and the other three of which look ahead to geocultural and other conflicts sure to arise in the next century.

"The Parted Paths of Postcolonialism" looks at the disillusion with decolonization and revolution, the retreat to political Islam, and the rise of Asia. "Defrosting the Old Order" recounts the end of the Cold War and the early post communist years with many of the key historical players, including Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher.

"Population, Migrants, and Megacities" looks at the critical environmental and population issues that have not traditionally been part of foreign policy concerns during a century bitterly divided over ideology.

"Globalization and Empires of the Mind" examines how the boundaries of the nation state are eroding from beneath and from above, whether by the restoration of local trade routes, consumer loyalties to companies over countries, the omnipresence of Hollywood films, or e mail on the Net. Above all, part IV illustrates how America's global presence has moved fir beyond the institutions of its foreign policy.

"Terror, Democracy, and Peace after the Cold War" looks at the new nature of the geopolitical order when terrorists possess mass destruction weapons, when loose nukes and unemployed (or just unpaid) atomic talent leak from the former Soviet Union, and when the concern over human rights and democracy has shifted to Asia and the Arab world.

Naturally, I do not always agree with the views presented in this collection. However, I wholly embrace the stunning presentation of this diversity of views in one context. Together they illuminate the world we are leaving behind and the one coming into view.

Zbigniew Brzezinski
Washington D.C.