The World: A Brief Introduction
A book review by Dan O'Keefe
The upcoming November election offers us an opportunity to review our country's deteriorating image in the international community. To be effective advocates, we need to be better informed about international issues. Here’s how.
Our tasks are to more carefully observe international events and to reeducate ourselves about the many facets of the complex international community. The World: A Brief Introduction, a 2020 book by Richard N. Haass, is the perfect place to renew our knowledge of those areas.
This timely book refreshes our understanding of the geography, cultures and tensions of our world. The World re-introduces us to the basic vocabulary of world issues, to new and critical metrics, and to the activities of treaty participants.
The especially pertinent section titled “The Global Era” describes our current era of world travel and communications and offers a discussion of several worldwide issues. For example, regarding global health, we read that although the danger of communicable diseases like polio and AIDS has been significantly reduced, they still remain a threat.
We also learn that noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart disease and respiratory disease are now the leading causes of death in the world. NCDs are complex and are more expensive to treat than infectious diseases. And, of course, we are reminded that pandemics are projected to occur more often.
Additionally, Haass presents other pressing issues such as migration, cyberspace, and nuclear proliferation with clean logic and a concise narrative – to help us advocate for new approaches to foreign policy.
Haass is a knowledgeable career diplomat and president of the Council on Foreign Relations. The World, a concise 303-page book available at the Milwaukee Public library and bookstores, is a valuable read and will guide efforts to return our nation to its proper place in the international arena.