The Foreign Service Journal - November 2014 - page 37

The Devouring Dragon: How China’s
Rise Threatens Our Natural World
Craig Simons, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2014,
$16.99/paperback, $8.89/Kindle,
304 pages.
Craig Simons’
The Devouring Dragon
explains how an ascendant Beijing has
quickly surpassed the U.S. and Europe to
become the world’s leading polluter.
In a few short years, the country has become the planet’s larg-
est market for endangered wildlife, its top importer of tropical
trees, and its biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. Indeed, its
rapid economic growth has driven up the world’s metabolism.
In Brazil, farmers clear large swaths of the Amazon to plant soy-
beans, while Indian poachers hunt tigers and elephants to feed
Chinese demand. Meanwhile, clouds of mercury and ozone drift
earthward to America after trans-Pacific jet-stream journeys.
Combining in-depth reporting with wide-ranging interviews
and scientific research, Simons argues that China’s most impor-
tant 21st-century legacy will be determined not by jobs, corpo-
rate profits or political alliances, but by how quickly its growth
degrades the global environment and whether it can—and will—
stem the damage.
A Foreign Service officer since 2012, Craig Simons recently
completed a two-year tour in Chengdu and is now preparing for a
Havana assignment. Prior to joining the Service, Simons was the
Asia bureau chief for Cox Newspapers from 2005 until 2009 and
before that wrote about China and Asia for
, Reuters
and other publications. He first moved to China as a Peace Corps
Volunteer in 1996. In 2009, he was a Knight Science Journalism
Fellow at MIT. During the summer of 2011, he was a public policy
scholar at the China Environment Forum.
Jews, Confucians and Protestants:
Cultural Capital and the End of
Lawrence E. Harrison, Rowman &
Littlefield, 2013, $35/hardcover,
$19.24/Kindle, 224 pages.
Multiculturalism—the belief that no culture
is better or worse than any other; it is
merely different—has come to dominate
Western intellectual thought and to serve as a guide to domestic
and foreign policy, and development aid. But what if multicultur-
alism is flawed? What if some cultures are more prone to progress
than others and more successful at creating the cultural capital
that encourages democratic governance, social justice and the
elimination of poverty for all?
Jews, Confucians, and Protestants: Cultural Capital and
the End of Multiculturalism
, Lawrence E. Harrison takes the
politically incorrect stand that all cultures are not created equal.
Analyzing the performance of 117 countries, grouped by pre-
dominant religion, Harrison argues for the superiority of those
cultures that emphasize Jewish, Confucian and Protestant values.
A concluding chapter outlines ways in which cultural change may
substantially transform societies within a generation.
Lawrence E. Harrison directed USAIDmissions in the
Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti and Nica-
ragua between 1965 and 1981. Now a senior research fellow
and adjunct lecturer at the Fletcher School at Tufts University,
Harrison is the author of
Underdevelopment Is a State of Mind:
The Latin American Case; The Pan-American Dream: Do Latin
America’s Cultural Values Discourage True Partnership with the
United States and Canada?
; and several other books; and co-
editor, with Samuel Huntington, of
Culture Matters: How Values
Shape Human Progress.
Righting the Balance:
How You Can Help Protect America
Daniel Serwer, Potomac Books, 2013,
$26.95/hardcover, $14.82/Kindle,
240 pages.
Drawing on two decades of Foreign Service
experience, Daniel Serwer has come to see
a critical imbalance between U.S. civilian
institutions and the military as they work to
protect national security and build peace and democracy abroad.
Righting the Balance: How You Can Help Protect America
, he
offers a radical solution.
First, he says, it is time to abolish the Department of State, the
U.S. Agency for International Development and the Foreign Ser-
vice. In their place, a new foreign office would carry out their core
functions, with help from an array of nongovernmental organiza-
tions. These would operate, with at least some federal funding, to
support political and economic reforms in autocratic countries,
to help them transition peacefully into sustainable societies.
You can view Serwer’s discussion of his proposals at an AFSA
Book Notes event on Jan. 30 at
Daniel Serwer’s 21-year Foreign Service career culminated
with assignments as deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires
in Rome from 1990 to 1993, and special envoy and coordinator
for the Bosnian Federation from 1994 to 1996. He is now a profes-
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