Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Return of History, Robert Kagan

I want to get back to the stuff I love besides investing. The other thing is reading. I read a lot of great books and this one is no exception. This is not the first book I read by Robert Kagan. I read his of Paradise and Power also. His books are small, but he packs a lot into them. The full title of this book is The Return of History and the End of Dreams.

As a Canadian, I do not have the instinctive dislike of American as some of my follow citizens do, especially those living in places like Toronto, where I live. I do not mind that the US wants to make the world safe for their way of life. Because in doing so, they also make places like Canada possible. If the Chinese or Russians make the world safe for their way of life, I see not place for a country like Canada.

The Canadian way of life is somewhere between the American and the European. We are sort of capitalistic and sort of socialistic. We tend to muddle our way through things. However, Canada is a great place to life and a great country to raise kids in. I have always been grateful that I was born in a place like Canada, as there are so many awful places in the world that people are born into.

Now back to Robert Kagan and his book. The title of this book is because of Francis Fukuyama’s book called The End of History and the Last Man. In this book, which Frank wrote after the fall of the Berlin wall, he felt that the world would move towards liberal democracies politically. It is obvious now that this did not happen. There are a number of large states that are autocratic. Historically, this is a throw back to the nineteenth century, when in Europe you had mainly autocratic states, and very few liberal democracies, like US and Britain. He thinks that liberal democracies may well win in the end, but it could be a long and tough road.

Robert Kagan talks about China and Russia. He talks about the fact the most Russians and Chinese seem quite happy with their autocratic government. The Russians especially seem very happy with Putin. They seem to feel that as a democracy that they were shoved around by the West and now, with Putin in power, that can be a great power again.

He also talks about radical Islam. He does not believe that the radicals will be winners in the future. He certainly concedes that they can do a lot of damage, especially since they dream of destroying a great American city. However, what they really want is to take the world and their people back to the 7th century. He feels that even a lot of the most ardent Moslems do not want this and therefore, the radical cannot win.

The last thing Robert Kagan talks about is that the democracies should, and may well be forced to, band together if they want to survive and thrive in the current and future world. He thinks that the worlds governments will not all be liberal democracies in anytime that will help the current liberal democratic societies.

This book is well worth the price and the time it takes to read it. Robert Kagan is in Wikipedia, see Robert Kagan . He is also on YouTube, see After Words for an interview.

On my website is how to find this book on Amazon if you care to purchase it. See Kagan. Also, this book review and other books I have reviewed are on my website at Book Reviews.

This blog is meant for educational purposes only, and is not to provide investment advice. Before making any investment decision, you should always do your own research or consult an investment professional. See my website at www.spbrunner.com/stocks.html for a list of the stocks for which I have put up spreadsheets. Also, look at other investing notes on my website at www.spbrunner.com/investing.html.

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