Bond book sees hope for peace.
To establish global peace with Islam, the United States should build better relations with Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia, U.S. Sen. Kit Bond said.
“Traditionally, these have been our good friends, but unfortunately, a very dangerous terrorist organization also operates out of Southeast Asia,” Bond, R-Mo., said.
Bond urges the United States to counter that threat with what he considers “smart power” in his new book, “The Next Front: Southeast Asia and the Road to Global Peace with Islam.” He spent about an hour at the University of Missouri Bookstore yesterday signing copies of the book, which he co-authored with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lewis Simons.
Bond began working on the book more than five years ago after unsuccessfully trying to convince his colleagues in Washington, D.C., about the importance of partnering with Southeast Asia, considered a security threat since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. That region includes Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia, which is the largest Muslim country in the world.
Bond suggests countering potential violence through goodwill efforts, such as offering educational exchanges in the areas and promoting free trade and sharing modern agricultural practices.
Bond joked that the book came about after his wife, Linda, told him no one was listening to his message.
Originally, Simons — whom Bond dubbed a “far liberal” — turned down the offer to help him write the book.
“Lewis disagrees with me politically on everything,” Bond said, “but we agree on Southeast Asia.”
“The Next Front” hit bookshelves last month. About 25 people, including university students, administrators and members of the community, lined the stairwell at the bookstore to get their copies signed.
Doug Clark of Columbia was one of the first in line. “I’m interested in reading about the subject and seeing what his thoughts are,” said Clark, who described himself as a Democrat.
Niki Harris worked for Bond from 2000 to 2005 and now works as an academic adviser for the MU College of Arts and Sciences. She just picked up her copy of the book and hasn’t yet read it but trusts that Bond’s advice should be heeded.
“I think he has not only a technical understanding of what’s going on, he gets the realistic needs of implementing a plan,” she said.
While signing copies for bookstore staff, Bond joked about his recent appearance on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”
Bond promoted his book on Monday’s show and, by all accounts, held his own against the Comedy Central host known for taking jabs against conservatives. Bond came with his own barbs, quipping that he supports President Barack Obama’s plan in Afghanistan more than the president does.
Bond said yesterday he went to Stewart’s studio prepared. “I try not to go into a battle of wits unarmed.”
Reach Janese Heavin at 573-815-1705 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted Saturday, November 14, 2009, Columbia Tribune