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Future: Tense: The Coming World Order? [Paperback]

Gwynne Dyer
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 2 2004
The foundations of World War III are being laid today.

American defeat in Iraq is only a matter of time, but how long it takes matters a lot. The fate of Iraq is a sideshow, the terrorist threat is a red herring, and the radical Islamists' dream of a worldwide jihad against the West is a fantasy, but the attempt to revive Pax Americana is real. No matter what the outcome of the election in November, 2004, the enterprise is likely to continue. It is bound to fail eventually, but we need it to fail soon.

American military power is not limitless, and the other big powers will not stand for US military domination of the world. They don't buy the cover story about the 'terrorist threat,' but they don't want a fight either. They are all on hold for the moment, hoping that America will remember its commitment to the United Nations, the rule of law and multilateralism. If it does not, then the drift back into alliances, balance-of-power politics and military confrontations will begin. Ten years from now, an American-led alliance that includes India and occupies much of the Middle East could be facing a European alliance led by France, Germany and Russia AND a hostile, heavily armed China.

In Future Tense, Gwynne Dyer's brilliant follow up to last year's bestselling Ignorant Armies, he analyzes how the world made its way to the brink of disaster, and describes how we may all slide over the edge. It was fringe groups of extremists - Islamist fanatics and American neo-conservatives - who set the process in motion, but it has gone well beyond that now. It is not too late, but the clock is running.

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The suggestion that U.S. President George W. Bush and Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden are, for all intents and purposes, serving each other's interests would be heresy in many American circles. But that is exactly what Canadian military historian Gwynne Dyer argues in his impassioned latest book Future: Tense. It's not a notion you would expect from a veteran of the Canadian, U.S., and British navies and a former instructor at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto. In this cogently argued polemic, Dyer maintains that Bush cynically took advantage of the 9/11 attacks to put into motion a so-called "Pax Americana" modelled on the Pax Romana, whose unofficial motto was "Let them hate so long as they fear." The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, he maintains, had nothing to do with fighting terrorism, democracy, or oil and everything to do with repudiating the post-World War II international rules of war enshrined in the United Nations Charter, which stipulates that countries may not go to war without UN sanction or unless attacked.

In the nuclear era, Dyer says these rules are critical for world security. The Iraq invasion was a massive watershed, Dyer warns, because it signalled the end of an era in which countries could feel secure from arbitrary attack. It could also mean that the world will soon return to the pre-World War I era of endless war and security based not on international law, but short-lived alliances between nations. Within a few short years, Dyer predicts, new military alliances will arise centred in China and Europe to counterbalance U.S. power. Most alarmingly, he warns, the UN is being neutered at a time when China and Europe are emerging as new superpowers, U.S. might is in decline, global warming threatens the environment, and competition is increasing for scarce resources. All this means that the planet could be headed down a slippery slope toward World War III, argues Dyer in this important, albeit frightening, book. --Alex Roslin


"'Dyer is a prolific writer... His no-nonsense approach continues to combine humour, hard-hitting analysis, and provocative challenges to.. various party lines' Quill and Quire 'Compelling reading... for the context it provides in an historically amnesiac time' Literary Review of Canada 'Dyer's cool, distanced commentary and historical contextualizing... and bone-dry, acerbic wit... makes his tome a clear, concise, and ultimately worthy addition to mounting indictments against the reign of George the Younger' SEE Magazine 'If you plan on reading only one book this year, make this the one. In perfectly clear prose, with arguments as well-researched as they are compelling, this military expert explains why what we're doing is mad' Metro Times, Detroit" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and Concise June 25 2005
This is a thought-provoking analysis of the current world political situation in which the US has decided to go their own way and claim that the UN is slipping into "irrelevance". Even if you don't believe or agree with all the ideas in this book, it is very effective at opening one's mind to the possibilities.
Unfortunately, the conclusions are rather frightening and depressing and I don't see much hope coming from the present US government or popular opinion. But this book helps explain what is happening now with historical context that you simply won't find in the mass media.
Highly recommended.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great eye opener Dec 26 2004
Taking the time to base his arguments in historical context, laying out his logic carefully, Dyer outlines the threat of a new world order that closely resemble Orwell's "1984". He offers a simple prescription to avoid an escalation of unilateralism and the demise of the UN: the USA must leave Iraq now. I have often defended the actions of the Bush administration to my Canadian friends but this book has convinced me that I have to reconsider my position. Those wishing to have an informed opinion on US foreign policy will find this book useful.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtfully laid out... Dec 8 2004
Dr. Dyer's book is thoughtful and well argued. I found it to be a plausible predictor of the future. I have not always agreed with Dr. Dyer's arguments but, with regards to this book, I found myself falling in line with his conclusions more often than disagreeing with them. It is worth a read and anyone interested in international history or international relations would find it enjoyable and at times, alarming.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 100% Idealogy Free! March 18 2007
By Erico
Thank god for Gwynne Dyer. He has created one of the best political books I've read in a while.

In 'Future: Tense' he argues that the invasion of Iraq was not only about the oil, democracy, or terrorism but more about re-establishing the long lost Pax Americana. He suggests that since the fall of the USSR, when America lost it's place as the main leader of the free world against the forces of darkness, the neo-conservatives in Washington have been biding their time; waiting for a chance to bring back unquestioned American rule on the international scale.

Bush was their moment and with the illegal and unjustified invasion of Iraq their wildest dreams have come true. They have defied the UN, showed the other nations who's boss, and all with the American public more or less on their side. This defiance of the UN, says Dyer, is the most dangerous because it encourages other nations to follow suit. With no international community to effectively hold the new rising powers (see China) in check continental alliances will be formed (like those before the two World Wars) and the world will be once again be plunged into a Cold War, this time with numerous superpowers.

Some will scoff at these ideas but Dyer argues them with a well written book that lays out facts, not just ideas. He is not some ideologue trying to shove his own agenda down his reader's throats; he steps on both the left and the right's ideas. Of course his book will probably anger conservatives more with his call for a complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq and the claim that the threat of terrorism is minimal and Al Quadea no more than a paper tiger.

I don't agree with all his ideas but he has some excellent points. His lack of bias, and coherent ideas make this a must read book for all you wanna be pundits and politicians out there. I plan to read more of Dyer's books as soon as I can get my hands on them.
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