Book review

World Federalist Reading

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The Crime of Aggression: The Quest for Justice in an Age of Drones, Cyberattacks, Insurgents, and Autocrats 

Noah Weisbord

Princeton University Press, 2019

Released earlier this year, Noah Weisbord’s well-written new book, The Crime of Aggression: The Quest for Justice in an Age of Drones, Cyberattacks, Insurgents, and Autocrats, offers an up close account of the progress that has been made in incorporating and codifying the Crime of Aggression at the International Criminal Court. 

This book, which is accessible to non-legal experts, sets out how norms of international humanitarian law, including the Crime of Aggression, need to adapt to the evolving changes in the nature of warfare, such as the use of drones and cyber warfare.

As a result of his personal involvement in the development and codification of the Crime of Aggression, Weisbrod is able to provide real depth and a behind the scenes perspective. The book considers the history of the crime of aggression and the challenges faced by its champions..


The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir 

Samantha Power

Harper Collins, 2019

Most will remember Samantha Power as the former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, from 2013 to 2017, under Barack Obama. Power had previously been a Special Assistant to Obama and responsible for multilateral affairs and human rights on the National Security Council.

She previously wrote, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, and compiled and edited Realizing Human Rights: Moving from Inspiration to Impact; Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World; and The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World.

This book, a memoir, follows Power through her childhood in Ireland, work as a war correspondent in Bosnia, and academic career to when Barack Obama, then a senator, noticed her critiques of US foreign policy and her following work on his ultimately successful presidential campaign and as part of his administration.

Power is frank and open about her idealism and desire to contribute to the betterment of society.


SDR: from Bretton Woods to a world currency 

Elena Flor

P.I.E. Peter Lang, 2019

In this book, Elena Flor traces the evolution of the international monetary system over the last two centuries, from the system based on the gold standard, to that based on a dollar convertible to gold at a fixed exchange rate, to the emergence of the Euro, and the current multi-currency system.

SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) were intended to eventually supplant the role of national currencies in general and the dollar in particular.

An important chapter in the evolution of the system towards a multi-currency structure (currently with three main currencies – dollar, euro, renmimbi – and two minor ones – yen and pound) was the process of European monetary unification, to which Elena Flor dedicates a significant part of the book.

Flor also illustrates how the international monetary system is increasingly becoming multi-currency. Countries whose currencies could gain increasing weight in the near future, up to becoming part of the SDR basket, could be Brazil, India and Russia. But there are also new technological developments, such as virtual currencies like bitcoin, that may intersect with SDR’s in the future.

Overall, this book provide an interesting look back at how the international monetary system evolved and a speculative consideration of what could come next.

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