Two intellectual heavyweights debating whether liberal international order is on the wane. Ferguson argues it has been for about a century, whereas Zakaria argues it's still going strong and worth fighting for. At times the question seems academic: while Ferguson argues that globalisation has increased inequality, he doesn't dispute Zakaria's point that it has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty - which made me think: if something's working, does it matter what?
But actually, it's important for deciding where we should direct our efforts and resources to further global peace and prosperity: into things like the UN and EU, or into beneficent, cooperative nation states.
It's an interesting debate, but the downside of a debate is that it doesn't come to a tidy conclusion like a typical book, but rather leaves the audience or reader to decide which argument won out. Yet with a typical book you can choose to disagree, whereas here I was left agreeing and disagreeing with both debaters on certain points, and essentially just wanting more.
But still, a decent way to spend two hours.