ReadingGlobalization’s Blog

Reflections and Further Discussion on Globalization and Foreign Policy

The Current State of the US State Department

Posted by readingglobalization on July 13, 2009

I just listened to an excellent NPR program on the current state of our US Department of State. It was produced by America Abroad Media and it was called Diplomacy Under Fire.  It features interviews with US ambassador to Iraq (until a few months ago) Ryan Crocker, and ambassador Nicholas Burns. For those of you who are interested in foreign policy, diplomacy, or the possibly of pursuing a career in the foreign service – I highly recommend checking this

http://americaabroadmedia.org/programs/view/id/132

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Rethinking the American Dream

Posted by readingglobalization on May 18, 2009

One of the many ideas/questions that occasionally comes up in the conversation in our course is the idea of “the American Dream.”  What is the American Dream? Where did this idea come from? How has this idea evolved over time and how does this evolution reflect our changing culture? How has the evolution of our consumption (and the impact of our consumption on our values) changed our understanding of the meaning and function of this “American Dream”?

This evening I have just listened to a really excellent show on NPR from American Radioworks that explored these questions in a very comprehensive and fascinating way. I really appreciate the way that this program explored the evolution of the idea of the American Dream and its impact in the context of the evolution of our society and inequality in our society. This show also has a well thought out website. Check this out and let me know what you think…      http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/americandream/

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Children of Immigration by Carola and Marcelo Suarez-Orozco

Posted by readingglobalization on April 21, 2009

This book is significantly different than the other books I have discussed on this blog so far. One of the themes that we discuss in the seminar is immigration and this book examines the experience of immigrant children and their impact on American society as well as society’s impact on them. Children of Immigration by Carola and Marcelo Suarez-Orozco http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/SUACHI.html  breaks new ground in presenting research on the diverse experience of immigrant children from multiple perspectives. This book examines the factors that seem to contribute to divergent pathways of adaptation, particularly in school, for immigrant children.  It also presents a re-thinking of the idea of acculturation. Both authors teach at New York University, where they serve as co-directors of Immigration Studies at NYU, and Marcelo Suarez-Orozco also serves as co-director of Institute for Globalization and Education. I have provided a link to their Institute in the links section of the blog. I serve as the executive director of a youth education program that serves middle and high school students, many of whom are immigrants, and I found this book to be particularly relavant to my work with my students as well as to my understanding of the impact of globalization.

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The Second World by Parag Khanna

Posted by readingglobalization on April 20, 2009

  Of all the books that I am considering for next fall’s seminar, one of the most fascinating and well researched is The Second World: Empires and Influence in The New Global Order by Parag Khanna (2008) www.paragkhanna.com

 Khanna, who is the director of the Global Governance Initiative in the American Strategy Program of the New America Foundation, presents a compelling new thesis where he sees the emergence of a new tri-polar world where the United States, China, and the EU compete for dominance and resources. This contest plays out in the “second world” which he describes as Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and East Africa. Khanna has traveled extensively in each of these regions and he is a keen observer and a gifted writer.  In this book he takes us on a remarkable tour of specific countries where he examines how globalization is changing the evolution of what used to be thought of as “the international community.” Khanna also explores the tension between geopolitics and globalization.

This is an important primer on the changing geo-political landscape and he ends the book with a provocative and timely challenge for the US, China, and the EU. Robert D. Kaplan, one of my favorite global observers/travel writers, describes The Second World as  “A savvy, streetwise primer on dozens of individual countries that adds up to a coherent theory of global politics.”

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New Book – The Inheritance by David Sanger

Posted by readingglobalization on April 16, 2009

Today I want to discuss another new book I am considering for this fall, but first I want to mention that today I was invited to an event on April 28th where Thomas Friedman will be the keynote speaker. After reading all of his books, I am really looking forward to seeing him in person… Now for the new book –  it is by the Pulitzer Prize winning Washington correspondent from the New York Times David Sanger. The book is The Inheritance: the World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power (2009)  www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl/9780307407924.html

This new book just came out in January and it examines US foreign policy over the past 8 years and the impact that it will have on the challenges and opportunities that Obama now must face. In this fascinating and well researched book Sanger presents new insights on Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea, and China. What I love most about this book is that Sanger conducted personal interviews with many key foreign policy leaders and these interviews shape his narrative in the style of Bob Woodward (one of my favorite authors.) This book would replace Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book Second Chance in the Globalization and Foreign Policy section of our course.

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New Books Under Consideration for this Fall

Posted by readingglobalization on April 13, 2009

Now that I have listed last year’s books in the post below I will now present the books that I am considering for this fall.  I am also providing websites with more information on each book, as well as a few of my own initial comments on each work. Comments on any of these books or any other feedback is most welcome.

Hot Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution, by Thomas L. Friedman (2008)

http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/bookshelf/hot-flat-and-crowded

This new book by Friedman will replace his previous book The World is Flat in our course. Friedman’s new book is ideal for this course because it explores several of the themes that our course focuses on including environmental sustainability, climate change, and the convergence of global demand for energy and foreign policy. When our course began back in 2004 we began with Friedman’s book The Lexus and the Olive Tree, and Friedman’s unique description of globalization is updated once again in this new book.

Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Crisis of American Capitalism, by Kevin Phillips, new updated paperback edition (2009)

http://www.bad-money.com

The original hard cover edition of Phillips book came out in April 2008 and I read it last summer before the financial crisis hit in September. I found it to be incredibly compelling and unfortunately his forecast turned out to be spot on, as we learned last fall. Now Phillips has released an updated paperback version with an extensive new preface that presents the best short overview of the causes of the financial meltdown last fall that I have found. I really loved Phillips previous book American Theocracy, and Bad Money may be even better because of it’s startling prescience.

Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism, by Muhammad Yunus (2008)

http://www.grameenfoundation.org/yunus_book

 The development of microcredit and microfinance has been an emerging topic in our course and this excellent new book by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus is making a compelling case for inclusion in our course.

Statecraft and How to Restore America’s Standing in the World, by Dennis Ross, paperback edition with a new Afterword (2008)

http://us.macmillan.com/statecraft

The issue of the impact of globalization on foreign policy is central to our course and few authors (if any) have the range of experience and the insight of Dennis Ross. This book is incredibly timely for our course and it is an extraordinary resource for anyone who is interested in the conduct of foreign policy and statecraft.

Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Disaster in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, by Ahmed Rashid, new updated paperback edition (2009)

http://www.ahmedrashid.com/books

Ahmed Rashid is one of my favorite authors. Many will remember his bestselling book Taliban and his new book on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States is the most complete and comprehensive book on this topic that I have found. Afghanistan/Pakistan is quite possibly the greatest foreign policy challenge that we now face and Rashid’s research and insight is invaluable.

Rising Powers Shrinking Planet: the New Geopolitics of Energy, by Michael T. Klare, new updated paperback edition (2009)

http://us.macmillan.com/risingpowersshrinkingplanet

Michael Klare is the author of Blood and Oil, a book we have used in our course for the past three years. Klare’s new book is quite frankly the best book that I have ever read on the intersection of energy, globalization, climate change, and foreign policy. This is an extraordinary work and it would be hard to overstate it’s relevance to our course.

I will be updating more books on this site later this week, so check back for more books soon…

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The Books We Read Last Fall

Posted by readingglobalization on April 13, 2009

 Before I discuss the new books that I am considering for this fall I want to list the books that we read last fall. Although all of these books were highly reviewed by most of my students, probably only 2 of them will remain on the reading list for Fall 2009. This is nothing against any of these books, all of which I think are excellent. Rather this is due to the fact that some fascinating new books are coming out that I think will push the conversation forward. If there is a book on this list that you really want to see stay in the course please comment on why you want to see it stay. Here is the list of our books from last fall in the order in which they appeared in the course:

The World is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, by Thomas L. Friedman  (2007)

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time, by Jeffrey D. Sachs  (2006)

Making Globalization Work, by Joseph Stiglitz (2007)

Myths of Free Trade, by Sherrod Brown (2006)

Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum, by Michael T. Klare  (2004)

Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower, by Zbigniew Brzezinski (2007)

The Much Too Promised Land, by Aaron David Miller  (2008)

The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations, by Jonathan Sacks (2004)

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New Blog Examines Books on Globalization

Posted by readingglobalization on April 13, 2009

Several of my former students have asked about books that we have read in the Seminar in Globalization last fall and what books we will be reading next fall. So I have created this blog to discuss books that we have read and books that I am considering for next Fall. I welcome your feedback so please let me know what you think about any or all of these books…

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