Monday, December 29, 2008

The Shield of Achilles or Infidel

The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of History

Author: Philip Bobbitt

For five centuries, the State has evolved according to epoch-making cycles of war and peace. But now our world has changed irrevocably. What faces us in this era of fear and uncertainty? How do we protect ourselves against war machines that can penetrate the defenses of any state? Visionary and prophetic, The Shield of Achilles looks back at history, at the “Long War” of 1914-1990, and at the future: the death of the nation-state and the birth of a new kind of conflict without precedent.

Publishers Weekly

The world is at a pivotal point, argues Bobbitt, as the nation-state, developed over six centuries as the optimal institution for waging war and organizing peace, gives way to the market-state. Nation-states derive legitimacy from promising to improve the material welfare of their citizens, specifically by providing security and order. Market-states offer to maximize the opportunity of their people. Nation-states use force and law to bring about desired results. Market-states use various forms of market relationships. Bobbitt, who has an endowed chair at the University of Texas and has written five previous books on constitutional law and on nuclear strategy, argues in sprawling fashion that this paradigm shift is essentially a consequence of the "Long War" of 1914-1990, a struggle among communism, fascism and parliamentarism that, through innovation and mimicry, generated a fundamentally new constitutional and strategic dynamic that in turn generated a fundamentally new "society of states." Central to Bobbitt's thesis is the postulate that international order is a consequence of domestic order. In the work's most stimulating section, Bobbitt discusses three possible ways of reorganizing the latter. The "Meadow," essentially an extrapolation of socio-political patterns currently dominant in the U.S., features high levels of individualism around the world at the expense of collective behavior at any level. The "Park," based on a European alternate, emphasizes regionalism. The "Garden" predicates successful market states disengaging from international affairs and emphasizing renewed internal community. None of these systems will eliminate war, but the nation-state is declining, Bobbitt argues, essentially because nonstate actors confront the nation-state with threats it cannot effectively respond to. This big book is provocative and richly textured, but too often Bobbitt's arguments are obscured by his historically digressive presentation. (May 20) Forecast: This book will be brandished by pundits of all stripes, particularly the IR (international relations) wonks who are its primary audience. Larger academic policy collections are also a lock. Trade sales should be slow but steady; the book can be recommended as a counterpoint to Negri and Hardt's sleeper hit Empire. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Library Journal

Bobbitt (constitutional law, Univ. of Texas; Constitutional Interpretation) attempts to foresee the shape of the 21st century in this study of the nation-state and how it evolves through politics and war. Bobbitt believes that the nation-state, which has dominated the last 200 years, is about to fade away and be replaced by what he calls the market state. He sees what he calls the long war of the nation-state, begun in 1914 and not ended until 1990 with the Treaty of Paris, as the major political event of the 20th century. However, the nation-states that survived this protracted struggle are seeing their legitimacy, linked to specific territories and borders, challenged by modern communications, global migration patterns, and organizations with no single territorial base. The result of these trends will be the emergence of the market state, which will be structured to maximize economic opportunities by opening markets rather than maintaining large governing establishments that attempt to maintain uniformity by means of legislation. Bobbitt's arguments are based solidly on his extensive knowledge of international security and constitutional law, and his book will be of interest to anyone concerned with foreign relations and the evolution of society. Recommended for all academic and larger public libraries. Robert J. Andrews, Duluth P.L., MN Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

A brilliant, disquieting essay on geopolitics, warfare, and the future of the state. War brings peace for only a short time, argues Bobbitt (Constitutional Law/Univ. of Texas). More commonly, war brings sweeping changes in the legal order of states and societies; without it, apparently, there can be no progress, which is one reason warfare is a constant in human history. A case in point for the author is the so-called Long War that raged around the world from 1914 to 1990. This epochal conflict produced the emergent "market-state," just as the so-called Long Nineteenth Century produced the modern nation-state. Of this market-state Bobbitt writes rather vaguely-necessarily, given that no such government now exists and that the world's fortunes can turn in many possible directions (many of them terribly bad) over the next few years. Clearly, he argues, the nation-state is outmoded on several fronts. The contemporary world, for instance, is more and more inclined to insist that states respect the human rights of their citizens no matter what their internal laws, thus legitimizing interventions in places such as Afghanistan or Bosnia and weakening the old idea of the sovereign polity that can do just about whatever it wishes within its territorial borders. Advances in finance and communications have also left the nation-state behind: "There is a grotesque disparity," Bobbitt writes, "between the rapid movement of international capital and the ponderous and territorially circumscribed responses of the nation-state, as clumsy as a bear chained to a stake, trying to chase a shifting beam of light." How a government primarily concerned with providing services and dominating the market will bemore responsive to extra-mercantile issues remains to be seen, but throughout this hugely ambitious (and huge) treatise, Bobbitt poses scenarios that for ardent democrats will range from the scarcely comforting to the bleak, with rays of hope in very short supply. Few historical studies are as daring and engaging as this. Highly recommended for students of foreign policy, history, and global trends.

Table of Contents:
Book IState of War
Introduction: Law, Strategy, and History5
Part IThe Long War of the Nation-State
1.Thucydides and the Epochal War21
2.The Struggle Begun: Fascism, Communism, Parliamentarianism, 1914-191924
3.The Struggle Continued: 1919-194534
4.The Struggle Ended: 1945-199045
Part IIA Brief History of the Modern State and its Constitutional Orders
5.Strategy and the Constitutional Order69
6.From Princes to Princely States: 1494-164875
7.From Kingly States to Territorial States: 1648-177695
8.From State-Nations to Nation-States: 1776-1914144
9.The Study of the Modern State205
Part IIIThe Historic Consequences of the Long War
10.The Market-State213
11.Strategic Choices243
12.Strategy and the Market-State283
13.The Wars of the Market-State: Conclusion to Book I Plates I-V344
Book IIStates of Peace
Introduction: The Origin of International Law in the Constitutional Order353
Part IThe Society of Nation-States
14.Colonel House and a World Made of Law367
15.The Kitty Genovese Incident and the War in Bosnia411
16.The Death of the Society of Nation-States468
Part IIA Brief History of the Society of States and the International Order
17.Peace and the International Order481
18.The Treaty of Augsburg486
19.The Peace of Westphalia501
20.The Treaty of Utrecht520
21.The Congress of Vienna538
22.The Versailles Treaty570
23.The Peace of Paris609
Part IIIThe Society of Market-States
24.Challenges to the New International Order667
25.Possible Worlds715
26.The Coming Age of War and Peace776
27.Peace in the Society of Market-States: Conclusion to Book II798
Postscript: The Indian Summer819
A Note on Eurocentrism825
A Note on Causality825
A Note on Periodicity827

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Author: Ayaan Hirsi Ali

In this profoundly affecting memoir from the internationally renowned author of The Caged Virgin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells her astonishing life story, from her traditional Muslim childhood in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, to her intellectual awakening and activism in the Netherlands, and her current life under armed guard in the West.

One of today's most admired and controversial political figures, Ayaan Hirsi Ali burst into international headlines following an Islamist's murder of her colleague, Theo van Gogh, with whom she made the movie Submission.

Infidel is the eagerly awaited story of the coming of age of this elegant, distinguished -- and sometimes reviled -- political superstar and champion of free speech. With a gimlet eye and measured, often ironic, voice, Hirsi Ali recounts the evolution of her beliefs, her ironclad will, and her extraordinary resolve to fight injustice done in the name of religion. Raised in a strict Muslim family and extended clan, Hirsi Ali survived civil war, female mutilation, brutal beatings, adolescence as a devout believer during the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and life in four troubled, unstable countries largely ruled by despots. In her early twenties, she escaped from a forced marriage and sought asylum in the Netherlands, where she earned a college degree in political science, tried to help her tragically depressed sister adjust to the West, and fought for the rights of Muslim immigrant women and the reform of Islam as a member of Parliament. Even though she is under constant threat -- demonized by reactionary Islamists and politicians, disowned by her father, and expelled from her family and clan -- she refuses to be silenced.

Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Hirsi Ali's story tells how a bright little girl evolved out of dutiful obedience to become an outspoken, pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no story could be timelier or more significant.

William Grimes

The circuitous, violence-filled path that led Ms. Hirsi Ali from Somalia to the Netherlands is the subject of Infidel, her brave, inspiring and beautifully written memoir. Narrated in clear, vigorous prose, it traces the author's geographical journey from Mogadishu to Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Kenya, and her desperate flight to the Netherlands to escape an arranged marriage.
&3151; The New York Times

The Washington Post - Anne Applebaum

Infidel is a unique book, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a unique writer, and both deserve to go far.

Publishers Weekly

Readers with an eye on European politics will recognize Ali as the Somali-born member of the Dutch parliament who faced death threats after collaborating on a film about domestic violence against Muslim women with controversial director Theo van Gogh (who was himself assassinated). Even before then, her attacks on Islamic culture as "brutal, bigoted, [and] fixated on controlling women" had generated much controversy. In this suspenseful account of her life and her internal struggle with her Muslim faith, she discusses how these views were shaped by her experiences amid the political chaos of Somalia and other African nations, where she was subjected to genital mutilation and later forced into an unwanted marriage. While in transit to her husband in Canada, she decided to seek asylum in the Netherlands, where she marveled at the polite policemen and government bureaucrats. Ali is up-front about having lied about her background in order to obtain her citizenship, which led to further controversy in early 2006, when an immigration official sought to deport her and triggered the collapse of the Dutch coalition government. Apart from feelings of guilt over van Gogh's death, her voice is forceful and unbowed-like Irshad Manji, she delivers a powerful feminist critique of Islam informed by a genuine understanding of the religion. 8-page photo insert. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Nancy R. Ives - Library Journal

Hirsi Ali (The Caged Virgin) first came to the world's attention with the gunning down of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam by a Muslim extremist. A note pinned to van Gogh threatened Hirsi Ali's life for collaborating with him on Submission, a short film criticizing Muslims for wife beating and forced marriages. In this memoir, the Somalian-born author tells of her journey to Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, undergoing genital mutilation, being schooled by strict Muslim teachers, and finally facing shame from her family and clan for turning against Islam. In her early twenties, she sought asylum in the Netherlands after escaping an arranged marriage. In Holland, the cleanliness, order, and freedom amazed her; she couldn't believe that a government could help its people and was not feared. As she adjusted to her new home, learning Dutch, attending university, acquiring citizenship, and eventually working as a translator for social services, she spoke out publicly, criticizing the Muslim treatment of women. She was elected to serve in parliament, where her controversial views brought death threats and an attempt to rescind her Dutch citizenship. During her brief tenure, she warned that radical Islam is often incompatible with modernity and democracy and that its enslavement of women presents a serious threat. A clearly written and fascinating account of exceptional courage, this book is essential for all libraries. Hirsi Ali reads her own words in clear, slightly accented English; strongly recommended.

Kirkus Reviews

Somali-born Dutch parliamentarian Hirsi Ali, now in hiding from Muslim militants angered by her outspoken views on Islam's enslavement of women (The Caged Virgin, 2005), offers a forthright, densely detailed memoir of growing up harshly amid revolution and religious restraint. "A woman alone is like a piece of sheep fat in the sun," Hirsi Ali's grandmother warned her frequently when she was a child absorbing the rigorous tenants of Islam in Mogadishu. Hirsi Ali, along with her younger sister, Haweya, and older brother, Mahad, were the children of a political dissenter of the Somalian government of Siad Barre, and frequently moved to safer places. Although their parents did not approve of circumcision, their absences allowed the strict peasant grandmother to arrange for the cutting of the three-Haweya, especially, was "never the same afterward." Their pious mother insisted on an education in the Qur'an, and their move to Saudia Arabia, without the protection of their father, proved disastrous: The mother was largely isolated, the children sent to sadistic religious schools. In Ethiopia, among the "unbelievers," they were treated more kindly, and in Nairobi, Kenya, the children attended British and Muslim schools. Here, Hirsi Ali began to read in English and have contact with Western ideas, especially about love. Recalcitrant and argumentative, she was given a fractured skull by her mother's ma'alim, or religious teacher. Amid civil war, a more conservative strain of Islam moved in, and Hirsi Ali was a convert, wearing full hidjab and practicing submission. She gained a secretarial degree and briefly indulged in a secret, short-lived marriage to her handsome cousin (the only way they couldsleep together). Reluctantly, to appease her father, she agreed to an arranged marriage, then bolted to Holland to beg for asylum-her lies about her background caught up with her later when she ran for Dutch office. Crammed with harrowing details, Hirsi Ali's account is a significant contribution to our times. Agent: Susanna Lea/Susanna Lea Associates

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