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‘’The new world order is awash with good intentions, many of them Tony Blair’s,’’ declares David Runciman in his excellent new book The Politics Of Good Intentions.  How true indeed, for just as many of said good intentions remain measured in the amount of British blood spilt upon the battlefields of Southern Iraq, so too are they equally bequeathed upon a perplexed and increasingly paranoid populace: ‘’So we keep waiting – waiting for Osama – and as we wait we cast around absurdly for other events, other catastrophes, to supply the kind of meaning we are looking for.’’  Perhaps God will bestow us with the meaning we seek – just like he did with Tony…  

No wonder votes are being lost and drugs are being found!

As a former columnist for The Guardian and a writer (of politics) for The London Review of Books, you could say Runciman knows his stuff in more ways than one.  For unlike many political theorists who boldly go where most laymen couldn’t, even if they so desired (by way of a dense discourse of nigh incomprehension), Runciman’s style of writing is as readable as it is regale.  And this is just as well given the (historical) terrain he covers: from seventeenth-century England to Weimar Germany/Iraq to the inexorable trajectory of 9/11 to (what some might say was) the inevitable Madrid and London bombings; all lavishly entwined with the political date rape that is essentially the sickly/sticky relationship that is Bush and Blair – even if one had given the other far more consent than much of the Western World had bargained for.  This is (somewhat) substantiated by Runciman when he quotes the German sociologist Max Weber:  ‘’Anyone who gets involved with politics is making a pact with diabolical powers.’’  Nuff said.  

If it’s a candid and conscientious perspective on the New World Order (or is that Odour) you’re after, I’d highly recommend The Politics Of Good Intentions.  David Runciman tells it (exactly) as it is and (partially) why it is - in a lucid and altogether empirical manner.

David Marx
The Politics Of Good Intentions -
History, Fear and Hypocrisy in the New World Order
By David Runciman
Princeton University Press - £18.95