The Breaking Of Nations: Order And Chaos In The Twenty-first Century

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9780802141644: The Breaking Of Nations: Order And Chaos In The Twenty-first Century

Book by Cooper Robert

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

Extrait :

To understand the present we must first understand the past. In a sense, the past is still with us. International order used to be based either on hegemony or on balance. Hegemony came first. In the ancient world, order meant empire: Alexander’s Empire, the Roman Empire, the Mogul, Ottoman or Chinese Empires. The choice, for the ancient and medieval worlds, was between empire and chaos. In those days imperialism was not yet a dirty word. Those within the empire had order, culture and civilization. Outside the empire were barbarians, chaos and disorder.

The image of peace and order through a single hegemonic power centre has remained strong ever since. It was first present in late medieval dreams of the restoration of Christendom (by such writers as Dante), or in the many proposals for world or European government made over the years by idealists such as Immanuel Kant, Saint-Simon, Victor Hugo or Andrew Carnegie; it is still visible today in calls for a United States of Europe. The idea of the United Nations as a world government (which it was never intended to be) still survives; and the United Nations is often criticized for failing to be one.

However, it was not the empires but the small states that proved to be a dynamic force in the world. Empires are ill-designed for promoting change. Holding the empire together — and it is the essence of empires that they bring together diverse communities under a single rule — usually requires an authoritarian political style; innovation, especially in society and politics, leads to instability. Thus the standard instructions to a provincial governor in the Chinese Empire were to ensure that nothing changed. Historically speaking, empires have generally been static.

Europe’s world leadership came out of that uniquely European contribution, the small state. In Europe, a third way was found between the stasis of chaos and the stasis of empire. In the particular circumstances of medieval Europe, empire had become loose and fragmented. A tangled mass of jurisdictions competed for control: landowners, free cities, holders of feudal rights, guilds and the king. Above all the Church, representing what remained of the Christian empire, still held considerable power and authority, competing with the secular powers.

The success of the small state came from its achievement in establishing a concentration of power — especially the power to make and to enforce the law — at a single point: that is to say in the establishment of sovereignty. Unlike the Church, whose claim was to universal rule, the state’s secular authority was limited geographically. Thus Europe changed from a weak system of universal order to a pattern of stronger but geographically limited sovereign authorities without any overall framework of law. The war of all against all that Hobbes feared was prevented by the concentration of legitimate force at a series of single points; but both legitimacy and force were exclusive to single states. Hobbes’ primary concern was domestic order; he had lived through the Civil War in England. But the concentration of power at home left the international order without the shelter — admittedly now a very leaky one — that the Church had provided in the shape of a system of law and authority to which even kings were subject. Domestic order was purchased at the price of international anarchy.

The diversity of the small European states created competition. And competition, sometimes in the form of war, was a source of social, political and technological progress. The difficulty of the European state system, however, was that it was threatened on either side. On the one hand, there was the risk of war getting out of control and the system relapsing into chaos. On the other, there was a risk of a single power winning the wars and imposing a single hegemony on Europe.

The solution to this, the essential problem of a small-state system, was the balance of power. This worked neither so perfectly nor so automatically as is sometimes imagined. The idea that the states of Europe would, by some semi-automatic Newtonian process, find an equilibrium among themselves that would prevent any one of them dominating the continent nevertheless retains a powerful grip on the historical imagination. For a hundred years the principle of maintaining a balance of power in the European continent was written into the annual Mutiny Acts of the British Parliament. Nevertheless, whatever the conceptual confusions (to which the US National Security Strategy has just added with its references to a ‘balance of power for peace’ — which seems to mean the same thing as US dominance), when it came to the point that the European state system was threatened by imperial ambitions from Spain, France or Germany, coalitions were put together to thwart those ambitions. This ran with the grain of the system: a sovereign power is naturally inclined to protect its sovereignty. This system also had a certain legitimacy; statesmen were conscious of the desirability of balance. Over the decades following the Thirty Years War, a consensus grew among governments and elites that the pluralism of European states should be maintained. Many saw this as a condition of liberty in Europe.

With the balance of power went the doctrine of raison d’état. Machiavelli first put forward the proposition that states should not be subject to the same moral constraints as individuals. This philosophy — that moral rules do not apply to states — was the counterpart of the changes by which the state ceased to be the private property of its ruler. At the same time it reflected the breakdown of the Church’s universal authority. Acceptance of raison d’état grew from the Renaissance onwards until, by the end of the nineteenth century, it was the accepted wisdom and questions that had troubled Aquinas and Augustine about whether or not wars were just were no longer considered relevant.

Nevertheless, the balance of power had an inherent instability. It was the system in which a war was always waiting to happen. The end of the system came about as a result of three factors. The first was German unification in 1871. Here, for the first time, was a state that was too large and too dynamic to be contained within the traditional European system. Restraining German ambitions twice required the intervention of non-traditional European powers: the United States and the Soviet Union. And on the second occasion both remained behind, changing the nature of the system for ever.

Présentation de l'éditeur :

In this landmark book, Robert Cooper sets out his radical interpretation of our new international order. He argues that there are now three types of state: lawless “pre-modern” states; “modern” states that are fiercely protective of their sovereignty; and “post-modern” states such as those that operate on the basis of openness, law, and mutual security. The United States has yet to decide whether to embrace the “post-modern” world of interdependence, or pursue unilateralism and power politics.

Cooper shows that the greatest question facing our post-modern nations is how to deal with a world in which missiles and terrorists ignore borders and where Cold War alliances no longer guarantee security. When dealing with a hostile outside enemy, should civilized countries revert to tougher methods from an earlier era – force, preemptive attack, deception – in order to safeguard peaceful coexistence throughout the civilized world? The Breaking of Nations is a prescient examination of international relations in the twenty-first century.

Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

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Description du livre Grove Press. Paperback. État : New. Paperback. 192 pages. Dimensions: 8.3in. x 5.5in. x 0.6in.Based on an essay that has been hailed as one of the most influential policy pieces published in the last decade, Robert Cooper sets out a radical new interpretation of the shape of the world in this path-breaking book The Breaking of Nations. Cooper argues that there are three types of states in the world that deal with each other in different ways: pre-modern parts of the world, without fully functioning states, modern nation states, concerned with territorial sovereignty and national interests, and post-modern states in which foreign and domestic policy are inextricably intertwined, tools of governance are shared and security is no longer based on control over territory or the balance of power. Among first world nations, societies may operate on the basis of laws, openness and cooperative security. But when dealing with a hostile outside enemy, civilized countries need to revert to tougher methods from an earlier era force, pre-emptive attack, deception if we are to safeguard peaceful co-existence throughout the civilized worldLike Robert Kagans best-selling Of Paradise and Power, The Breaking of Nations is essential reading for a dangerous age, a cautionary tale for superpowers, and a prescient examination of international relations in the twenty-first century. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. N° de réf. du libraire 9780802141644

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