THE DUST OF EMPIRE puts into historical context the countries of Central Asia - Eurasia - which are among the most fabled and least known in the world today. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, many of these countries that were once colonies are now independent, and ancient rivalries have been rekindled where much is at stake, including one of the world's last untapped oilfields. Meyer describes the conflicts arising from the proliferation of self-determination and nation-states after the end of the Second World War, and assesses the brutality of empire and the expansionist fervour of the nineteenth century. The subsequent chapters cover a different region or country in Eurasia: Russia, Persia/Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Caucausus. THE DUST OF EMPIRE is an impeccably researched and absorbing foray into the history and geo-political issues central to each of these countries, and in particular how these relate to current Western foreign policy and business interests.
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(216mm x 135mm x 21mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
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UK Kirkus Review »
The history of the central Asian states is impossible to distinguish from the domineering dreams of western nations in the nineteenth and twentieth century. But crucially these histories are neglected in the United States, whose imperialism - though he claims neutrality - is the target of much of Karl Meyer's book. Meyer pointedly dissects the Bush administration's desire, after 9/11, to pre-empt what it considers threats against itself and democracy. It's an age-old attitude that has resurfaced to signal a dramatic and dangerous shift in world politics. The rule of law has been bypassed in favour of a felt need to protect a national ideology, a capitalist version of freedom. The only remaining superpower, like the Soviet Union in the twentieth century, now meddles in other nation's affairs using massive military might and a righteous disregard for time-wasting diplomacy. Meyer has a remarkable grasp of world history, and his narrative sweep - from ancient Greece to today's Iraq - is breathtaking and persuasive. His ability to draw parallels between seemingly disparate eras and colonial policies builds a thoroughly powerful argument. He launches a warning shot against those who complacently argue the case for liberal self-determination brought about by military means. It's a case which, in Meyer's eyes, is a careless ideological justification for abandoning necessarily complex attempts to create international law. This timely work systematically details the complexities of the central Asian nations against the backdrop of centuries of imperialist foreign policy. At the same time, it's a withering critique of western arrogance and ignorance. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Karl E. Meyer
A former New York Times editor, Karl Meyer is now editor at World Policy Journal and the co-author of the acclaimed TOURNAMENT OF SHADOWS.