Why War? by Christopher Coker
Christopher Coker – a professor at the London School of Economics (and close friend of ECIPE) who tragically died this year – worked across many fields of acholarship to better understand strategy and war. In his last book, Why War?, Coker gives an erudite and piercing history of war. Other species don’t go to war but humans do. What does that tell us? Much in the spirit of Thycidides idea of war as “the human thing”, Coker helps us to better understand why, tragically, war is so common.
The Tragic Mind – Fear, Fate, and the Burden of Power by Robert D. Kaplan
The concept of tragedy is at the heart of Robert Kaplan’s new book about geopolitics. Leaders and world powers are rarely confronted by simple geopolitical choices between good or evil. All choices have consequences, and the available alternatives can often be portrayed as battles between good and good. Astute leadership requires a firm grounding in the tragic mind, and those of that bent will be better able to manage the negative fallout that inevitably follows the pursuit of a good alternative. Combining geography and literature, Kaplan observes that many key geopolitical initiatives have failed because the leaders behind them have lacked the tragic perspective and the imagination to see how bad outcomes could result their actions. The solution? Deepen your understanding of Shakespeare and Sophocles!
The Capitalist Manifesto: Why the Global Free Market Will Save the World by Johan Norberg
If Christmas is the period of good news, Johan Norberg’s new book should help you prepare for the festive spirit! In it, Norberg gives a strong response to all those calling for new economic systems, or those (hey presto, Trump, Biden, Xi, Macron, Breton et al.) who are picking new economic policy ideas from the shelves of protectionism and economic nationalism. Before you throw free market capitalism overboard, perhaps you should consider its positive impact on health and wealth, literacy and education, freedoms and gender equality, and more. Beware what you wish for!