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Friends across the water The World Were In Will Hutton 320pp Little Brown Will Huttons latest book The World Were In is only about the world were in on the authors terms Funny old world Turn to the index No mention of China India Latin America Africa or Islam Will this be the only book on international affairs published in 2002 that makes no mention of the Islamic states So what is going on here for geography to be so surprisingly attenuated Huttons answer is clear There is a simple template for analysing and comprehending the years ahead The relationship between the US and Europe is the fulcrum on which the world order turns he writes Having only recently returned from Shanghai and a trip through Jiangsu province where the pace and quantity of economic and social change is stunning I have my doubts about the Hutton thesis Of course the transatlantic relationship is important and where America and Europe work together economically and politically the whole world usually benefits However my hunch is that the relationship between China over one-fifth of humanity and the US will be the most important geostrategic relationship of the coming decades What is more I suspect that this approach may in any event be an old-fashioned way of preparing for the future We are all about to have our way of looking at the world turned upside down by a superb book by the American historian and former member of the National Security Council Philip Bobbitt The Shield of Achilles which comes out in Britain next month traces the history of states from the old feudal order destroyed by guns to the dynastic order ended by the development of railways Now Bobbitt argues we live in market states mutated by information technology and will have to survive in an environment poised dangerously somewhere between long-term global violence and catastrophe It makes Huttons polemic seem comfortingly
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