Book Review: Andrew Small. 2015. The China–Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics

Published date01 December 2017
Date01 December 2017
05_AIA729905_353-362.indd Book Reviews
interstate relationships and rebuild trust with foreign publics. Another undesirable
facet of technological developments has been its use by fringe groups to distribute
propaganda and recruit supporters. Using the most recent example of Islamic
State’s online recruiting efforts this book does a good job of outlining the draw-
backs of better communication in the hands of extremists—particularly with the
proliferation of less-than-credible news organizations and information sources,
and the lack of persuasive dissenting voices.
The most unique aspect of this book, and something that gives it more salience
than traditional academic texts, is its manual-like character. Seib does not shy
away from pointing out where diplomacy is failing and offers suggestions for
improvement. In the last two chapters, he highlights several areas where diplo-
macy either is behind the times (its use of social media and training of diplomats)
or needs to change on a more structural level (the politicization of ambassadorial
appointments and mission creep). These chapters go past analysis and offer insights
on how diplomats can avoid new pitfalls and ‘stay on track’ by ‘keeping focused
on diplomatic tasks and goals’ (p. 101). Furthermore, Seib proposes practical ways
that individual diplomats and governments will have to adapt in order to keep up
with technology and its users. Such a pragmatic approach, supported by contempo-
rary examples, makes this book an engaging read with appeal beyond diplomatic
circles to the public at large.
The Future of Diplomacy is well worth a read both by practitioners of diplo-
macy and by students and scholars of politics and media studies. It offers a strong
introduction to the changing scope of contemporary diplomacy while delivering
a persuasive argument as to where and how diplomats and governments must
adapt in order to keep pace with developments in twenty-first century politics.
Erin Zimmerman
Associate Research Fellow
GIGA Institute of Asian Studies
Hamburg Germany
Andrew Small. 2015. The China–Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopo-
New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 319 pp. ISBN:

DOI: 10.1177/2347797017730160
The shifting political dynamics of Asia continue to garner extensive interest from
International Relations experts. The patterns of amity and enmity that define the
world’s largest...

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