Publication Date: Apr 04, 2017
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**Longlisted for the 2017 Orwell Book Prize**
From the winner of the 2016 Orwell Prize in Journalism and the European Press Prize for Commentator of the year, a provocative analysis of how a new era of global instability has begun, as the flow of wealth and power turns from West to East.
Easternization is the defining trend of our age – the growing wealth of Asian nations is transforming the international balance of power. This shift to the East is shaping the lives of people all over the world, the fate of nations and the great questions of war and peace.
A troubled but rising China is now challenging America’s supremacy, and the ambitions of other Asian powers – including Japan, North Korea, India and Pakistan – have the potential to shake the whole world. Meanwhile the West is struggling with economic malaise and political populism, the Arab world is in turmoil and Russia longs to reclaim its status as a great power.
As it becomes clear that the West’s historic power and influence is receding, Gideon Rachman offers a road map to the turbulent process that will define the international politics of the twenty-first century.
Excerpt from Easternization
In Chinese history, foreign visitors to the imperial court were often treated as “barbarians” who were expected to pay tribute to the emperor. There are echoes of this in the way that modern China’s leaders engage with the rest of the world, as I discovered in November 2013, as part of a small group of Western visitors received by President Xi Jinping in Beijing. There were plenty of eminent people in our party, including former prime ministers such as Gordon Brown of Britain, and Mario Monti of Italy, as well a smattering of Western billionaires. Yet the foreign grandees were treated a bit like a class of schoolchildren.
First, we were ushered into the cavernous central area of the Great Hall of the People; then we were lined up on benches in preparation for a group photo with the president. After a little while, President Xi swept into the room and shook a few hands before posing for the photo.
A few minutes later, the president’s discourse began. Seated at the center of a banquet room, with a giant mural of the Great Wall of China behind him, chandeliers above him, and a semicircle of former Western leaders arranged in front of him, President Xi began his remarks by reminding his visitors that “China is an ancient civiliza-tion with more than five thousand years of history.” It was, in some respects, a boilerplate remark. Yet China’s awareness of its thousands of years of history is fundamental to the country’s understanding of itself. It also inevitably means that China, in some ways, regards the United States as an upstart nation—a country that has been in existence for less than two hundred and fifty years, a shorter lifespan than many Chinese dynasties.
“In brisk, engaging prose, Gideon Rachman takes us around the world in 14 chapters, beginning with Asia, then moving to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and what he calls the ‘borderlands’ between East and West, including Ukraine, Turkey and Hungary. He makes the convincing, chilling case that the military gap between the United States and China is rapidly narrowing and that the ‘focal point of Chinese-American military rivalry is the control of the Western Pacific,’ which is now ‘disputed territory.’ Reviewing China’s challenge to America’s decades-long predominance in Asia’s waters, Mr. Rachman links it to a broader Chinese goal, led by Mr. Xi, of finally overcoming China’s so-called ‘century of humiliation.’ This is a fascinating story.” —Wall Street Journal
“Financial Times chief foreign affairs commentator Gideon Rachman, a recent winner of the Orwell Prize, presents a fair, astute assessment of China’s rise during the past few decades … A sage, forward-seeing study to be heeded.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Weaving a smattering of history with insights gleaned from his interviews with global power players, Rachman offers a fast-paced and diverting analysis of the challenges facing U.S. foreign policy in the Pacific.” —Publishers Weekly
“What this book is really about, and is very good at describing, is the growing impact of China on its neighbors, on the world.” —The Economist
“Excellent . . . Rachman’s theme takes him on a most interesting and stimulating tour du monde. His discussion of the impact of China’s rise on south-east Asia, contrary to the great majority of accounts, is subtle and nuanced… A most informative, readable and interesting piece of work that deserves a wide readership.” –GUARDIAN
“A vivid and persuasive analysis of the dramatic shifts in global power. . . In his timely new book, Easternization, Gideon Rachman articulates a clear and persuasive idea. . . [His] flair for rich anecdotes, clever writing, strong analysis and original insight are impressive. . . Easternization hits its mark, with a wide range of arguments and prognostications that scholars and policymakers must contemplate as we consider the coming Asian century.” —Financial Times
“Easternization… chronicles the economic potency and the diplomatic and military posturing of Asian elites… Rachman is one of the few sensible pundits in the Anglo-American establishment.” —Pankaj Mishra, Guardian, author of The Age of Anger
“We are witness in this very decade to one of the greatest geopolitical shifts in the global power balances. . . This tale has many chroniclers and numerous exponents, but by far the most insightful, sensible, and compelling is Easternization. This really is one of those works where you can say you wished our political leaders would read and ponder upon its great implications.” —Paul Kennedy, author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers
“A brilliant and engrossing account of the emerging power struggles of the twenty-first century. . . Rachman’s access to world leaders from Beijing to Washington provides a unique perspective on international politics.” —Andrew Roberts, author of The Storm of War
“Gideon Rachman zeroes in on the most important geopolitical issue of our time. . . An indispensable guide to the Great Game of the twenty-first century.” —Nicholas Burns, Harvard University and former U.S. Under Secretary of State
“An extraordinarily thoughtful and eloquent guide to a world in the midst of profound transition. Rachman navigates deftly an international landscape full of powerful and often contradictory currents.” —Ambassador William J. Burns, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former Deputy Secretary of State
“Rachman’s level-headed book can be read in one long sitting. . . For those that have already accepted the idea that the West will not—and cannot possibly—dominate as it did at the end of the last century, then Rachman’s book provides both rigor and useful paradigms to order one’s thoughts.” —Asian Review of Books
“A masterly account … the best survey of global affairs I have read for some time. . . Rachman’s book offers a first-rate primer to the world in which we live.”—Sunday Times
“Gideon Rachman’s elegantly written and hugely informed Easternization is an essential survey of the migration of economic and political power away from the USA and Europe, towards Russia, China and also possibly India in the long term. . . Cogent and wise.”—Literary Review
“Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times, cogently puts forward the case that Easternisation is the trend of the 21st century.” —Irish Examiner
“A superb account. . . An absorbing and sobering study.” —Daily Telegraph
“[An] accomplished book.”—Prospect
Praise for Zero-Sum
“The best one volume account now available of the huge post-communist spread of personal freedom and prosperity.” —The New York Times
“A superbly written, witty and sometimes picturesque – even picaresque – journey through the modern world.” —John Cryer MP in “Total Politics”
“Gideon Rachman has done us all a major service by debunking many of the myths surrounding globalisation.” —The Observer
“An important, timely book” —The Independent