The Second World Summary

  • Last updated on March 25, 2021
"Infobox Book "
nameThe Second World
authorParag Khanna
genreInternational Relations
publisherRandom House
release_dateMarch 4, 2008
media_typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)

The Second World is a book written by Parag Khanna that explores the future of the world, and the emergence of China and the European Union as major global powers. Part travelogue, part treatise on the United States' place in the world, the book posits the end of American hegemony and offers suggestions on how the US can better navigate the future multi-polar world.

Chapter Summaries

PART I: The West's East

1. Brussles, the New Rome

In this chapter, Khanna explores the needs of far Eastern Europe, and the struggle between the EU and Russia for the souls (and economic development) of this region.

2. The Russian Devolution

This chapter explores the ways Russia has changed since the fall of Communism, with special attention paid to the 4 major regions within Russia.

3. Ukraine

This chapter deals with Ukraine, a state with special potential and thus extraordinary challenges.

4. The Balkans: Eastern Questions

This chapter looks at the Balkans, especially through the lens of its future place in the EU and what that may entail for the region.

5. Turkey: Marching East and West

This chapter explores Turkey's place in the world and its special status as a bridge between East and West

6. The Caucasian Corridor

The Caucasian states are discussed, in the context of the struggles between Islam and modernity, East and West, and Russia and the EU.

Conclusion: Stretching Europe

The author makes the conclusion that expanding Europe is fraught with risks, both for the EU and for its member states, but that expansion offers the best chance for both World and European stability. Left alone, Khanna argues, far-East Europe would be susceptible to Russia and to the problems in Central Asia. Khanna does not explicitly endorse Turkish membership in the EU.

PART II: Affairs of the Heartland

7. The Silk Road and the Great Game

8. The Russia that Was

9. Tibet and XingJang: The New Bamboo Curtain

10. Kazakhstan: Happiness is Multiple Pipelines

11. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan: Sovreign of Everything, Master of Nothing

12. Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan: Men Behaving Badly

13. Afghanistan and Pakistan: Taming Central Asia

Conclusion: A Change of Heart

In the conclusion to the chapter on Central Asia, Khanna looks back into the history of the Silk Road, commenting that when it was open and functioning properly, it created prosperity, wealth and stability. In terms of today's "Great Game", China is clearly winning as it is attempting to build a new Silk Road, one that will benefit Chinese interests. Khanna also believes that the EU is seen as a moderating force in the region, and will also benefit from a new Silk Road. The loser will be America, who has lost credibility following wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.


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