Schism: China, America and the Fracturing of the Global Trading System by Paul Blustein

AuthorHongying Wang
Date01 March 2020
Publication Date01 March 2020
SubjectBook Reviews
IJXJ-75-01-TOC 1..2 112
International Journal 75(1)
military’s effort at leveraging the cultural expertise of anthropologists for military
operations. Human Terrain System was not without its critics, and Barrett exam-
ines this controversy deftly. I will be referring to this passage frequently, I suspect,
in the future.
Equally compelling is Barrett’s seventh and final chapter, in which he quickly
presents some ideas from several modern anthropological heavyweights—
Margaret Mead, Klaus-Friedrich Koch, and Douglas Fry—about how to “banish
war from the face of the earth” (149). This effort, more than any other, however,
highlights my principle critique of the book: that it simply tries to do too much.
The rather cursory review of the genuinely fascinating ideas of Mead, Koch,
and Fry conceals their complexity and indeed suggests that the solutions are
simple. Questions of scalability (in the case of Fry), structural adjustments (in
the case of Mead), and the abrogation of sovereignty (from Fry) are real and
need to be addressed and likely preclude any further meaningful policy discus-
sion—presenting them as otherwise is an oversimplification. Indeed, as the book
closes, it seems to descend into a series of almost random thoughts and ideas, using
headings instead of the more helpful connective tissue of prose to help fully realize
the ideas Barrett is trying to present. Put simply, I wanted more.
Acknowledging the fact that UTP Insight Press sets out to publish short pieces
that are both accessible and thought-provoking, I still found The Lamb and The
Tiger cast its net not too widely, but unevenly, ultimately leaving far more ques-
tions than answers. But perhaps that is precisely the point. If you are looking for a
methodical analysis of Canada’s foreign policy in the early 21st century, then I
would suggest looking elsewhere. If, however, you are looking for something that
will initiate conversation and prompt debate, then this collection of observations,
thoughtful musings, and at times...

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