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The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War
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The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  672 ratings  ·  40 reviews
From the bestselling author of Balkan Ghosts and The Ends of the Earth comes a fascinating new book on the imminent global chaos that is as brilliant as it is necessary, as original as it is controversial.

The end of the Cold War has not ushered in the global peace and prosperity that many had anticipated. Environmental degradation is causing the rampant spread of famine an
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 13th 2002 by Vintage (first published 1994)
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63rd out of 132 books — 63 voters
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Community Reviews

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This is an interesting book, because it’s a book of (pessimistic) analysis and predictions made long enough ago (mid- to late-1990s) that some judgment can be made of its accuracy. It’s a book of several essays of varying lengths on varying topics, based largely on direct observation from Kaplan’s travels, but all generally focused around the future structure and stability of the world. Kaplan is a very vivid and incisive writer, so just on that basis alone the book is worth reading. He’s also a ...more
Kaplan is a fearless author and thinker. He explores and explodes the modern emphasis on peace and transnational government as a rational view to the reality of the current state of international affairs. Though published in 2000 this book is still relevant and insightful. Kaplan is a journalist with a strengthen in foreign and security issues. He is a realist of the first degree, starting the book with a quote from Hobbes, and writing a fantastic essay - "Kissinger, Metternich, and Realism". He ...more
I was slightly dismayed when, after getting this book, I realized that the articles are already around 20 years old. Nevertheless, it soon became apparent to me, as I delved ever further into this fascinating account, that it is still very pertinent. What is most shocking is how accurate some of his predictions are. One need only look at the rise of the phenomenon of radicalized lone wolf terrorists, to name but one. Kaplan presents some very compelling arguments against some of our most cherish ...more
Daniel Hermosel Murcia
Compré este libro en 2005 pensando que iba... de otra cosa. Lo cierto es que ya entonces tenía 5 añitos, pero es ahora cuando he visto que Kaplan no estaba tan equivocado a pesar de lo en desacuerdo que pueda estar con algunos de sus enfoques. Aunque si entras en el pragmatismo no te queda otra que darle la razón y, por mucho que al idealista que uno lleva dentro le duela, más de una vez. La verdad es que este conjunto de ensayos políticos puede parece áspero pero sólo por el último capítulo (de ...more
Oct 14, 2008 James rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Adults and late adolescents interested in grand strategy and history
Excellent and disturbing - it makes me want to sit down with the author and debate some of his points over dinner or something.
The book was published in 2000, so its age is showing to a degree. A lot of what Kaplan predicted has come true, although he missed some calls, and some is still to be determined.
Whether a particular reader agrees or argues with Kaplan will depend greatly on how much common ground there is in their assumptions - for example, Kaplan argues strongly at some points that for
Samrat Sen
Stunning book! Chilling actually, the way patterns have been discerned and applied in context. It's thought provoking, direct, andf gives the big picture which today's society almost always neglects.

Some of the observations/predictions made out in the book:

"The more appliances that middle class existence requires, the more influence their producers have over the texture of our lives. The computer in some way enhances power of individual, but it also depletes our individuality. A degree of space
in the two thousandth year of the prophet yesus, the followers of mohammed sent a teamth to the far land of amerigo and commanded them, 'seize the chariots of amerigo and strike them againsth their temples and towers that we may hear their lamentations and rejoice in their suffering.' the mujahideen heareth these orders and did as they were instructith. and the people of amerigo were filled with wrath, for they had not receiveth the declaration of war. the king of the people of amerigo, george p ...more
Mar 20, 2008 Ziggidyone rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anarchists, back to the landers, anyone who is tired of being dulled by television sports events
Recommended to Ziggidyone by: Wilson
This book is quite incredible. Kaplan takes the studies of past social evolution through the eyes of philosophers and social theorists to distill a view of a post-democratic western world.

His treatment of the unraveling of Africa through famine, drought, disease and America's foisting of Election politics upon tribal cultures-tempered with the continual isolation of Eastern Europe and Asia from the west-sets a chilling stage for a future in which America is increasingly at odds with not only th
Jan 08, 2008 L.J. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: International affairs, political science
This is based on his now famous article from the 90s featured in a news magazine (I think it was Time), but the expanded text and extras are all good reading for anyone interested in development theory and basic political theory strategists. Hungington's theory is heavily invoked here with the culture conflict argument and Kaplan is always good at making the reader realize that his experience with developing world politics is enigmatic at best. Who has all the answers for political turmoil? Not ...more
Nate Cooley
This book starts off great by expounding upon previously published ideas of Mr. Kaplan found in his articles within The Atlantic Monthly. He talks about a coming anarchy due to the decreasing relevance of international borders (which may be read the disintegration of the state). Refugee flows, environmental degradation, and ehnic cleavages are all factors that contribute to the disintegration of the current system. Kaplan expounds upon these notions and offers other examples and scenarios worth ...more
Martin Streetman
This is another book that has an OLD bookmark in it, 2nd January 2006; it was though a quick read. Scary but fast. As most of you know I like quotes, this book however has way too many. It mentions several books that I know of just have never read like Gibbon's Decline and Fall and Conrad's Nostromo that I would like to look into further. This book is close to 10 years old but seems very relevant to us today. I'm going to head over to the library now and see if they have any of his other books.

This book was absolutely riveting. I couldn't put it down. It is beautifully rational and shows little concern for political correctness or catering to the needs of either the left, with their naive and arrogant belief that all people are the same, regardless of history, culture, language, and so on, and the arrogance of the right with their idea of Manifest Destiny. Kaplan shows an unflinching willingness to criticize the American naivete and hubris that blindly worships the idea of democracy a ...more
One of the best books I've read this year. Kaplan offers up a realistic/pessimistic view of world politics, etc. in a post Cold War world. What is eerie and fascinating about the book is that it was published in 2000. Reading it now through the lens of 9/11, some of his observations and analyses are incredibly on target with respect to how he saw the state of the world and America's place in it in the early 21st century. For example, less 'formal' wars and more insurgencies and threats to the U. ...more
Kaplan presciently predicts the contemporary period of chaos in the Middle East and elsewhere in this late 1990s work. Railing against the rhetoric of spreading democracy, Kaplan effectively argues against the 2003 invasion of Iraq before it even happened. Tremendously important and applicable today.
You're not likely to agree with most of what Kaplan says, but there are few international policy analysts with his breadth of reading and experience. Original and thought-provoking.
I wanted to rate it 2 stars, but I have a weird relationship with the book.

I read it to contrast much of "The World Is Flat" by Friedman, and it does in fact contrast it.

My problem with this series of articles is that I don't think I actually understand many of the main points and a lot of the references that Kaplan writes about. Which is my own fault. However, I feel that his ideas are often overwritten and laden with references rather than ideas.

It's a frightening view, overall.

I don't know w
Aaron Crossen
A collection of Kaplan's essays from his reportage and reading. The first chapter – an expanded essay from which the book takes its title – is Kaplan at his best, blending personal experience and historical anecdote to argue that the destablizing forces of environmental degredation, political ineptitude and cultural mores are driving societies further and further into poverty anc chaos and tearing 'official' boundries apart. The rest of the book is mostly weighty, occasionally irrelevant posturi ...more
I think the only reason I gave this book 3 stars was because I am a fan of this author. I have read many other books by Mr. Kaplan and have really enjoyed them.... that is until I got to this one. Unlike his others which focus more on a travel/historical aspect of countries, this one is a collection of articles focusing more on the political philosophy of the world after the Cold War that were in the Atlantic Magazine over a couple of years Not exactly the type of thing I would want to cuddle in ...more
Democracies do not always make societies more civil — but they do always mercilessly expose the health of the societies in which they operate. - from Coming Anarchy

Relevant and foreboding even while we act out some of it's prophecies... against a lot I stand for but still happy to take some value out of it.
Mica Meintel-Wade
Kaplan gives a thoughtful look at modern foreign policy and the tremendously complicated issues that policy makers today face. His outlook on human nature and the global viability of democracy, while pessimistic, is also refreshingly insightful. The only problem that I had with the book was that each chapter (which was also an article Kaplan had published in a journal) could have been fully developed into its own book instead of spanning only 15 pages.
Oct 08, 2007 Adrienne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: students of political science
This book presents some cold hard reality to those who (achem George Bush) who think that democracy will cure all. Kaplan asks whether there might be more nuance to it than that. Even though the essays in this book (dated in the mid to late 90s) are a bit dated, his objections remain food for thought. Kaplan's lean writing is very respectful to his readers. He doesn't burden you down with a lot of worthless text.
Jun 04, 2007 Ryan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to or needs to be internationally knowledgable.
The realists dream book. Depressing but necessary analysis of some global issues. The only downside was the lack of any potential "solutions" and a failure to really tie everything together... but then that really wasnt Kaplan's goal. It seemed to have been meant to be more of a wake up call on what's wrong than a solution manual on how to fix things.

Just reread this book. I had forgotten just how good it was.
Rally Soong
Disturbingly accurate about our changing world- not everything he says have panned out and his irritating habit of romanticizing certain aspects of history grates on me , but I can relate to what he says and his view of democracy in the developing world. A must read for those interested in foreign policy- this book packs more insight than 10 books 20 times the weight!
A collection of essays about the modern world and the problems with globalization. Well written, and some interesting information, but If I were not reading it for a class, I probably wouldn't get past the first's a good read if you like to get depressed about the world, and I already read the news.
Robert Kaplan is an utter fraud as an intellectual and has been exposed by numerous anthropologists for his complete lack of understanding of the world and his shoddy research methodology. He is also a terrible writer, and the darling of the fascist right. Need I say more? Know the enemy...
Matthew Trevithick
Real quick read of a dated though interesting analysis of what is to come in the 'post cold-war' environment. Pre-9/11 and a fair amount of fearful language (mainly centered around Africa and problems he foresees there) about incidents that didn't come to pass. Still worth reading.
It's a rich book and a must for any one who's studying political sciences or international relations. the good thing is that he says events as they are and he introduce his opinion in a critical way which widen your brain and stimulate you to be critical as well.
worth reading book.
Superfluous Man
The book is an essential read—and given all that has happened since its publication in 2002, it is surely overdue for an update by the prolific Mr. Kaplan. My full review is available here.
Rosa Poveda Valiente
Extremely interesting. An analysis of the world today.
This is not an optimistic book. Although it was written almost a decade ago, one has to wonder which comes first: the current global economic situation or the anarchy which he so brilliantly describes. What ever you choose, tough times lie ahead.
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Robert David Kaplan is an American journalist, currently a National Correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly. His writings have also been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Republic, The National Interest, Foreign Affairs and The Wall Street Journal, among other newspapers and publications, and his more controversial essays about the nature of U.S. power have spurred debate ...more
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