"How To Run The World" By Parag Khanna

Apr 16, 2012

The world’s power structure is shifting, and we had better be ready to deal with the challenges and opportunities it is creating.

In “How to Run the World,” geo-political expert and economist Parag Khanna explores complex questions about how the world can deal with a changed global landscape in a more effective way.

According to Khanna, 21st century diplomacy is beginning to resemble the Middle Ages, a period when no single power was in control but where cities, companies, mercenaries, churches and other entities exerted overlapping authority. Similarly, today’s multinational corporations, nongovernmental organizations and advocacy groups are confronted with global issues that extend beyond the ability or authority of individual governments to address.

In “How to Run the World,” Khanna makes the case that a new kind of diplomacy is needed in this fragmented world and that technology and money, rather than sovereignty, will determine who has the authority.

A senior research fellow at the New American Foundation, Khanna has a Ph.D. in economics from the London School of Economics and a sharp eye for identifying the conundrums and challenges the world faces during a period he calls the “turbulent teens.” In this era of “mega-diplomacy,” as he describes it, everything and everyone should form coalitions that can move global resources to solve local problems. That will make the world a more environmentally friendly, prosperous and safer place.

Mega-diplomacy, the author writes, is about creating unity across communities to manage the collective space.

To elaborate, Khanna explores how mega-diplomacy could effectively address a wide range of issues, from human rights, poverty, climate change and nuclear proliferation to tensions in the Middle East. For example, Khanna suggests inundating Iran with “commerce, media and diplomatic channels that would force greater transparency on all its activities.” He proposes encouraging greater intelligence cooperation among countries to root out terrorism, redrawing country lines in Africa that “make sense to the people that live there,” giving Somali fishermen incentives not to engage in piracy, and building public-private partnerships to address environmental needs.

Khanna has written a book that will intrigue anyone who has an interest in foreign policy. “How to Run the World” provides a thought-provoking perspective on global challenges and some compelling ideas on how to confront them.