Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific

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Random House, 2014 - Pacific Area - 225 pages
2 Reviews
Over the last decade, the center of world power has been quietly shifting from Europe to Asia. With oil reserves of several billion barrels, an estimated nine hundred trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and several centuries' worth of competing territorial claims, the South China Sea in particular is a simmering pot of potential conflict. The underreported military buildup in the area where the Western Pacific meets the Indian Ocean means that it will likely be a hinge point for global war and peace for the foreseeable future. In Asia's Cauldron, Robert D. Kaplan offers up a vivid snapshot of the nations surrounding the South China Sea, the conflicts brewing in the region at the dawn of the twenty-first century, and their implications for global peace and stability. One of the world's most perceptive foreign policy experts, Kaplan interprets America's interests in Asia in the context of an increasingly assertive China. He explains how the region's unique geography fosters the growth of navies but also impedes aggression. And he draws a striking parallel between China's quest for hegemony in the South China Sea and the United States' imperial adventure in the Caribbean more than a century ago. To understand the future of conflict in East Asia, Kaplan argues, one must understand the goals and motivations of its leaders and its people. Part travelogue, part geopolitical primer, Asia's Cauldron takes us on a journey through the region's boom cities and ramshackle slums: from Vietnam, where the superfueled capitalism of the erstwhile colonial capital, Saigon, inspires the geostrategic pretensions of the official seat of government in Hanoi, to Malaysia, where a unique mix of authoritarian Islam and Western-style consumerism creates quite possibly the ultimate postmodern society; and from Singapore, whose "benevolent autocracy" helped foster an economic miracle, to the Philippines, where a different brand of authoritarianism under Ferdinand Marcos led not to economic growth but to decades of corruption and crime. At a time when every day's news seems to contain some new story-large or small-that directly relates to conflicts over the South China Sea, Asia's Cauldron is an indispensable guide to a corner of the globe that will affect all of our lives for years to come.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JBreedlove - LibraryThing

Once again cutting insight and unfamiliar history about the coming hotspot in the south China Sea. Erudite and readable I always look forward to Kaplan's next offering. The only thing that kept it ... Read full review

ASIA'S CAULDRON: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A foreign policy expert looks at the major players in the Southeast Asia Pacific Rim and their nervous watching of what China will do.Atlantic foreign correspondent Kaplan (The Revenge of Geography ... Read full review

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About the author (2014)

ROBERT D. KAPLAN is the author of many acclaimed books on the military, foreign affairs, and travel, including Balkan Ghosts, The Revenge of Geography, and Imperial Grunts.

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