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Sunday Book Review: The East Moves West


This is the fifth of an eight part series on the 2011 Patterson Summer Reading List.

  1. Paul Collier, The Plundered Planet
  2. Greg Mortenson, Stones into Schools
  3. Jason Stearns, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters
  4. CJ Chivers, The Gun
  5. Geoffrey Kemp, The East Moves West

Geoffrey Kemp’s The East Moves West is not written in a particularly engaging manner, nor does it have much of a core narrative.  Kemp argues that energy economics will force East Asia and West Asia to maintain closer economic ties in the future.  He exhaustively demonstrates that East Asia and Southwest Asia already have substantial economic ties, centered mainly around resource extraction. He details some of the social and geopolitical implications of these ties, including their relevance for the relationships between US East Asian allies (Japan, South Korea) and Middle Eastern states that have difficult relations with the United States.

As a book, The East Moves West has all the charm of a collection of wikipedia entries.  There are a few interesting stories, including the tale of Saudi Arabia’s purchase of useless ballistic missiles from China, and the chapter on Israeli relations with East Asia is pretty good.  Read this book, and you’ll know more about the economics of Asia.  Beyond that, there are no earth-shattering insights or hypotheses, or revelations of particularly interesting data.  East Asia and South Asia are becoming more dependent on Middle Eastern oil, and the Middle East is becoming more dependent on East and South Asian money.


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